Photos via Pinterest.
This may come as a surprise, considering I used to be hardcore into Bikram yoga, and spent every 90 minute class in the heat staring at myself in the mirror.
I'm almost four years into my yoga journey now, though, and my perspective has certainly changed. I've come to realize that yoga is as spiritual as it is physical. Yoga is an ancient practice focused on manifesting non-violence and inner awareness. Sure, it is rooted heavily in asana, but it reaches deeper than that. The physical poses are meant to prepare the mind for meditation, reflection, even self-transformation.
Yoga is a holistic practice of learning to accept yourself and love yourself. By doing so, you begin to love others in a more balanced way.
Yoga helps us gain compassion. This process doesn't happen by wasting time in class staring at others and comparing yourself to other bodies in the room, or by focusing all your energy on whether you look skinny (enough) in your yoga pants.
Instead of checking yourself out, I believe your time could be better spent relaxing into the pose, focusing on the teacher's words, or asking yourself the question, "What's happening now?" Observe how you feel, what muscles you've engaged, where your breath is moving.
Focus your energy inward, instead of on those around you or on your reflection in a mirror.
Trust that your teacher is keeping an eye on your alignment. Trust that you'll feel it in your body if you aren't doing the pose correctly. Trust that part of the process is perhaps doing the pose wrong for a little bit before you learn the right way.
Forget what you think you know about your own body. These poses will change you. They'll even firm your ass if you come consistently to class.
Allow that to happen, instead of analyzing every step along the way. Allow yourself to be present, instead of distracted. You don't need the reflection in the mirror; you need the strength and integrity you have within.
PS What do you guys think? Mirrors or no mirrors in a yoga studio?