There are two things new people usually comment on when then come to my yoga studio:
- No mirrors!
- No music! (Except on special occasions.)
These things are often deal breakers, to be honest. But if people would stick around for a few classes and learned the messages being shared, the lack of mirror and music would make sense.
The music thing I won’t get into now. It has to do with being focused inward and on your breath instead of letting the music distract you. But the mirrors are a big deal to me. Here are three of the reasons we don’t have mirrors:
- The mirror forces you to focus on how your body feels instead of relying on what the mirror shows you. It allows some proprioception and actually feeling where your body is in space.
- The mirror keeps the attention on your own practice. That way there are no comparisons to all the people you can see in the mirror.
- The mirror prevents you from judging your body. It’s allows yoga to be body positive.
BODY POSITIVE YOGA
That body positive one is huge. We all look at ourselves in the mirror enough as it is! And God knows we aren’t going to love the way we look from odd angles when we are twisting and contorting our bodies into different poses. Or we are going to start thinking about areas to “fix.” Or how the person over there has nicer legs or abs or whatever than us. The list goes on.
That is not what I need when I am at yoga. It’s not what I need ever! Yoga to me is about being present with myself. Accepting myself exactly as I am and exactly as I am not. Focusing on growth and self-care instead of nitpicking my “imperfections.”
In addition, we never talk about burning calories or getting a bikini body. The true purpose of yoga has nothing to do with getting skinny or sculpting a six pack. Sure that may be a result of your practice, but bringing up calories or bathing suits during warrior two brings me out of my power. It makes me focus on everything I’m not instead of everything I am..
What we do talk about is building strength and flexibility, preventing injury and maintaining longevity. We talk about loosening our bodies up so they can carry us through life a little easier. We talk about holding poses as preparation for staying strong through whatever tough stuff life throws at us. We talk about building strong MINDS.
I don’t judge or hate all studios that have mirrors or play music. I actually love music in class on occasion, especially when it’s carefully chosen to compliment the flow of class. ! But I definitely appreciate that my chosen form of yoga doesn’t incorporate them regularly. It helps me stay in my practice, focusing on my breath and how my body feels. It helps with the unity that yoga is all about.
- What does a body positive workout mean to you?
- Do you prefer music in a yoga class? Mirrors?
**speaking of: I would LOVE to do a special yoga teaching certification in body-positive yoga or yoga for eating disorders / body image if anyone has one to recommend!**