Why don’t Yoga Studios have Mirrors?

I was asked this question Thanksgiving morning as I waited for the holiday yoga class to start at Flow.  Given I’ve been asked this question several times, I decided it’s definitely blog worthy.  Here goes. 

Reason #1:  Mirrors hinder the “feeling” process.  Asana, which is what primarily most yoga studios teach, is very much is a feeling practice.  Yogasana offers awareness to physical sensations, breath flow and mental and emotional states.  Mirrors lessen this level of awareness and introduce thinking, analyzing and judgments.  Simply, mirrors distract from the fullness and bliss yogasana can offer — integration of moving with intention and breath.   

Reason #2:  Mirrors block the journey to self-acceptance.  Yoga offers a way to connect with who we are.  We’re not looking to change ourselves in yoga.  We’re looking to find ourSelves, our true nature.  Yoga is a journey to express who we are; the journey requires that we’re 100% in the “feeling” and discovery process.  Mirrors again invite judgment and scrutiny, hence blocking the path to accepting ones Self.

Reason #3:  Mirrors can lead to injury.  The “feeling” process keeps us protected in asana practice.  Feeling encourages ease.  Feeling a pose enables you to know when to move with ease beyond your normal range (your edge) and when to back off.  With mirrors, the tendency is to force the body into what one “thinks” the pose should look like based on seeing it in a book or someone else doing it. 

These are my reasons based on personal observation.  I’d love to hear from others on this topic.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Interesting! My yoga studio (where I go to classes – not MY studio 🙂 does have mirrors, so I never thought about this. And it’s such an accepting environment, that I don’t think they’ve had an negative effect (on me, at least). I can understand all the points you make here. I’ve actually used the mirrors, though, because I have so little body awareness. Yoga is helping me slowly actually feel my body – very amazing stuff. But sometimes I need to look in the mirror to tell if my body is doing what I think it is doing.

    Interesting things to think about!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lisa on October 15, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I have wondered about this recently, as well. I am a “whole life” fitness instructor (mind, body, soul) and will soon be setting up a studio to teach both callanetics and yoga. Callanetics are a form of European small sequence, repetitious stretchs and are traditionally done with a barre and mirror (like a dance studio). I’m thinking of using dark colored, light weight floor to ceiling curtains to cover the mirrors/barres during yoga and meditation instruction. It will be a bit more costly but, I think, will better meet the needs of all my students. The studio will also host a dietician and life coach so the concept of multi-functional integration will be rampant… and hopefully harmonic! If anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I love feedback.

    Reply

  3. Nice blog – thanks for sharing your insight 🙂 Its always nice to hear things articulated so well!

    Reply

  4. I want to to thank you for this very good read!
    ! I definitely loved every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to look
    at new stuff you post…

    Reply

  5. I agree and disagree on this….having been movement/ yoga/ dance etc, teacher for 30 years. Mirrors, no mirrors…it is a very individual thing.
    There are instances where the mirrors are great educational tools for clients. Not everyone is a kinesthetic learner and can understand feeling cues. Many people, men in particular, are visual learners, and need to “see” what they are doing and then be given the corrections or details to translate into feeling. It can take them to the sweet spot in any pose very quickly. On the other hand there are people who are completely distracted by the mirrors and need to close their eyes to “feel”. I doubt there is one answer to this dilemma as there are so many
    ways that students process information. Mahalo

    Reply

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