Mirror, mirror, on the wall… have you ever wondered why we use mirrors in our studios? There are lot’s of reasons why we made this decision, and while everyone has their own preferences on the topic, it is important to know how to use the studio mirrors in the right way.
One of the main reasons we use mirrors is so that our yoga instructors have a consistent view of the whole class from different angles. This ensures that the class is kept under expert supervision and that any posture errors can be corrected. It is also useful for students, because they can actually see their poses. For example, when the teacher says something like “lower the right hip,” students can visually check to make sure they are doing so. It is also encouraging to see progress and notice that your leg is lifting higher than before, or your flexibility has improved. These are all the right ways of using the studio mirrors.
For many of us, the studio mirrors can be an issue during practice (if we let them be an issue). When you’re not feeling confident in yourself or your mood is low, negative thoughts can often creep in around the mirrors. Constantly berating ourselves, judging our ability, having bad thoughts about our body image or comparing ourselves to others in the reflection are all incorrect ways of using the studio mirrors, but we are all guilty of doing it at some point or another. Here are a few tips to overcome these negative thoughts:
It’s OK to check yourself out (in a positive way)
By all means, use the mirrors to watch your progress and correct your postures. Instead of thinking something like “I can’t get my foot as high as that other person can,” think “I’ve made progress and this feels right for me at this time.”
Find your gaze
Instead of constantly looking at areas of your body you aren’t happy with, concentrate on looking into your eyes in the reflection whenever possible. This will help you to centre yourself, find your drishti and gain a deeper reflection (and yes we did just make a little mirror joke!).
Send your reflection some love
Guess what? Your reflection is YOU, and you need to send yourself some love during practice. Create some mantras to repeat with each practice, and eventually they will become your truth. Here are some you might like:
“I am strong”
“I am committed”
“I am present”
“I am unique and diverse”
“I am doing this for myself”
“I am healthy”
“I am loved”
“I am happy”
So, use your mirrors, SEE yourself and your progress. It’s all about having a positive mind and reflecting those vibes onto yourself during practice. It is with this intention that mirrors truly become a useful part of your practice.