My yoga squad consists of some of the most important people in my life. In adulthood, there aren’t many friends we get to see twice a week. We know the intricacies of each other’s lives, share successes, and vent when we need to. We tease each other yet push ourselves to take risks and become better versions of ourselves. We confess secrets and fears and show our vulnerabilities to each other. These women know me better than most other people in my life.
Two years ago, our instructor moved the studio to a new location, one without a mirror. The first few sessions were difficult. I relied on the mirror to make sure I was aligned, that I was properly holding poses, and to bask in my badassness when I mastered a pose that previously eluded me. I needed those mirrors and not having them was a new challenge.
Weeks and months went by. I learned to judge my form by how I felt, with guidance from Nora as needed. Surprisingly, I found mastering poses easier without the mirror. Previously, I would get so close to a pose, check myself out in the mirror, break my drishti, and tumble. Without mirrors, I was finally able to nail handstand. I can hold crow for a few seconds and pull my leg higher in dancer. I focus on my practice rather than worrying about how I think I look.
Last night, I tried a stability class at another studio. At the front of the room was a full-length mirror. I couldn’t stop watching. While there were a few times that I was genuinely pleased with seeing my muscle tone and admiring what I was able to do, most of my glances resulted in me grimacing or adjusting my flowy top to hide a tummy roll.
Early in my practice, I relied on the mirror to tell me on I was on the right track. As my confidence grew, I relied on knowledge and intuition. Practicing yoga without a mirror has taught me to trust my instinct and knowledge to get myself where I need to be.