Staring at Your Naked Reflection Every Day Can Change Your Life. ~ Andrea Jacobs

Via on Jul 2, 2013

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A mirror can reflect more than just the external.

It has come to my attention that, visually, I know my body insanely well. I know the contours of my stomach, thighs, calves, cheeks (both sets!), and my groin lines practically down to the pixel.

I know that if I stick my butt out a tiny bit my thighs wont touch at all. I know if I hold my arms straight out in front of me I can tell one of my shoulders is higher than the other. I know that if I am concentrating really hard, I look rather unfriendly and scary in the face.

I spend an average of 23 hours a week in front of mirrors, one third of that spent exactly face-to-face staring at myself. All the while wearing such little clothing that I see every detail of my body but still keep it PG rated.

You’re probably thinking who is this crazy narcissistic girl and is she getting paid to be this vain?! It’s not what you think, I promise.

I’m a Bikram Yoga instructor.

Believe me, I know what non-supporters of this controversial yoga have to say but hear me out. I assure you that I am not a conceited person. I come from years and years of terrible body image and low self esteem and still struggle with these things every now and again.

These mirrors have changed my life; what I do in front of these mirrors has changed my body. I not only see what they reflect, I see inside myself. I stare into my eyes as I struggle and sweat and I stare at the body I was given as it bends, stretches, and twists. I’ve watched my body transform while the eyes I see it through are changing as well. My mind and body have met there in that mirror and agreed to embrace this life.

These mirrors are a big element of the class for a couple reasons.

A student yesterday realized upon arriving for class that she forgot her yoga clothes. She was very uncomfortable in the little shorts we had for sale so we loaned her some simple form fitting capris and tank top. During class it was clear she was having a different experience. Sure enough, afterwards she said, “I can’t believe how much that just changed my practice.”

She learned what the mirrors could truly offer her if she exposed more to be reflected in them. She saw her true body, which not only helped her make necessary adjustments in her postures, it gave her 90 minutes to spend together with herself, until she loved what she saw.

She didn’t even know she could feel this way.

When happy hormones are pumping during a yoga class, it’s a great time to bare it all so that you may welcome what you see. Do not fear the tiny yoga clothes!

There will be times when you won’t like what the mirror reveals but you will come back the next day and look again. Give yourself a little funny face from time to time and lighten up.

This self-exploration causes you to be so in tune with your body that you can accept the ups and downs as they come, without attachment.

As you stare into your own eyes, see your body, and see into your soul, you will want to take care of that sacred being that you see.

The will to do that will change your life.

 

Andrea JacobsAndy Jacobs is a full time yoga instructor, currently fulfilling her dream of traveling the world, while teaching along the way. So far she has visited over 60 studios worldwide and taught on four continents. Meeting so many healthy and progressive people along the way, she has great resources in developing a balanced and sustainable lifestyle. Learn how she did it on her blog, Andy Pandy Living.

 

 

Like elephant Yoga on Facebook.

 

Assistant Ed: Kristina Peterson/Ed: Bryonie Wise

 

{photo: Andy Jacobs}

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6 Responses to “Staring at Your Naked Reflection Every Day Can Change Your Life. ~ Andrea Jacobs”

  1. Annie S. says:

    Love this post! I suffered from poor body image for most of my life, and at first those mirrors in the Bikram Studio made me uncomfortable. It didn't take long for me to start appreciating my body and it's movement and strength. The most powerful thing for me was when I realized that everyone around me was in a different shape and size, we all stood there with little clothes, and we all had different poses that we excelled at. Those mirrors changed my life for the better in so many ways!

  2. Kim says:

    Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Colleen says:

    Excellent! As a yoga teacher who is generally not a fan of mirrored yoga studios (as a result of the harshness of being raised up in the dance world), I knew that there had to be something good in them – beyond just making alignment corrections, and incessantly noticing what's "wrong" with the body reflected in it. It's a great practice to stay engaged with what is uncomfortable until you no longer feel the agitation – I never thought of the mirrors as another place to do this. But, alas! The opportunity to do yoga is everywhere. Thanks for humbly sharing your perspective. :)

  4. Dena says:

    I am a Bikram instructor as well, and have written about the same aspect of this yoga in my journal. Bikram Yoga taught me to love myself. 90 minutes of looking at yoursef can change your life! No where to run, no where to hide. Thank you for this post!! Much appreciated!

    • Andy says:

      Thanks for the message, it feels reassuring to know that others can feel the same way.
      We had one instructor who would always say somewhere around stick or triangle- nowhere left to go but inside yourself..!

  5. lisa says:

    thanks for this article!

    i was nearly 38 before i stepped into my first Bikram class, and no, i did NOT like the reflection of myself in those mirrors, not physically or on any level. within about 2 yrs of daily classes at age 40, there i was, still nearly naked in the hot yoga room, only in the role of teacher. NOT how I envisioned life being in my 40s…

    i can so relate to the author of the article, though ultimately, the practice of yoga, hot or not, mirrors or none, is enough to bring an awareness into our hearts which transcends the physical…for me it meant better self-esteem, self-acceptance, and yes, being in better physical shape (now as I near my 48th bday) than ever….it's not about a number on a scale or a size on a pants label..it's about feeling good from the inside and that being reflected on the outside…

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