Your Ass Looks Fat in Warrior II
On why 502 Power Yoga doesn’t have mirrors
By Cat Larimore
“Your Ass Looks Fat in Warrior II.” It’s all I could think as we held the challenging pose and my Drishti settled right on my rear end. All through the practice at another Louisville studio, I couldn’t resist checking myself out in the mirror as we moved from pose to pose. But not necessarily because I was checking my alignment—although that’s what I told myself—it was because I was concerned for looking good. And I was constantly being disappointed.
I’ve been uneasy with how I look for decades. At 11 or 12, I noticed the uniform skirts fit the other girls in my class differently, and after intense examination in the mirror and self-criticism, I determined what was “wrong” with me: Short torso. Wide hips. Huge ass.
These self-judgements have traveled with me through several decades, through many fashion trends, through pregnancy and childbirth (contrary to popular belief, wide hips do NOT help with childbirth), and now into a career where I live in spandex. Fortunately, my yoga practice has been a space to practice self-acceptance and appreciate my physical strengths. I know that I’m capable of so much more than your average mom-of-a-2-year old, but once that mirror is in front of me, I’m immersed in critical self-talk.
This is why we don’t have mirrors at 502 Power Yoga. Some argue that a mirror is a tool to help you find alignment in a pose, but at 502PY we provide more valuable tools to help you find alignment:
- Skilled instructors who don’t practice while they teach so they can see you and speak to what they see and assist as needed.
- Assistants who move about the room to help with alignment and foundation in your postures.
- Space for self-insight so you can create a pose for yourself and truly immerse yourself in their moving meditation without concern for what they look like.
Practicing without mirrors allows me the opportunity to feel as beautiful on the outside as I feel on the inside. For someone with image issues, this 60 minutes of going inside and feeling powerful goes a long way for my confidence. This empowerment causes me to make bold moves in my life, for example, that one time I opened a yoga studio.
The most beautiful I have ever felt in yoga was in a blindfolded practice–it was so liberating to drop all concern for looking good that I actually practiced with my shirt off for the only time in my life. I felt sexy, glowing, and powerful for weeks. Had a mirror been present for that practice, I would probably still be wallowing in a bout of self-pity, drowning my sorrows with pizza and cheez-its.
Every day I am bombarded with images of what the female body “should” look like and then catch my reflection in my mirror at my home and see the discrepancy. Then I roll out my mat, turn inward, and am reminded that I’m strong. I’m powerful. And in that, there is beauty.
What have you experienced in your physical practice or in your self-inquiry by practicing without a mirror? Do you feel like you’re missing your reflection?
#ProTip: If you really need a reflection of yourself, the spots up by the front window often act as mirrors when it’s dark outside.
Thank you for sharing, Cat! I can relate to everything you have shared, and I love that there are no mirrors at 502. I’ve shared in teacher training how hard it was for me to be all weekend in front of everyone with no makeup.
Well, I noticed last weekend that even when going to the restroom and washing my hands, I didn’t even glance at my reflection in the mirror! It didn’t even cross my mind, because I am freed from my”mask”!
When I first practiced at 502, the fact that the instructor was instructing, rather than practicing in the front of the room, was something I immediately enjoyed. And I love having assistants, as well. Even someone just placing their hands on you gives a sense of encouragement and comfort.
Angela, it’s so great that you dropped your concern for looking good! It’s so great to get out of your mind and into your body, no matter what your body looks like, for a little while.
I have such a long way to go with the “concern for looking good.” But I agree, on my mat at 502 I feel strong and beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.
It’s a journey, for sure!
I have always immersed myself in fashion magazines, makeup blogs and reality TV shows because I enjoy the glitz and glam of it all. Before joining 502 Power Yoga, I felt the need to look like the women in the beautiful ads and shows. I spent an hour on makeup before work (I did sell cosmetics at the time, but it felt excessive and exhausting) and I constantly beat myself up over the size and shape of my body. I weighed myself all of the time and always believed, with body weight, “less was more.” After my first couple of months at 502 PY, I lost a few pounds and I couldn’t have been happier. Or so I thought. I was still focusing on my outer appearance but starting noticing that I wanted to keep returning to class because of how I FELT on days that I went. I now have turned my practice inward, focusing on my mental and physical strength, my breath and the beauty in the gift of life my body gives to me every day. After the initial “loss,” I have actually gained a bit of weight back. I would have freaked out before, but it made me smile. I know that extra weight has to be the muscles I have built through practice because I feel SO much stronger in poses that I used to struggle through. I have TRULY never felt more confident and beautiful in my entire life. I am now in a new career where I don’t “have” to wear makeup and it’s wonderful! I can let my true self shine through because I no longer feel the need to hide behind the mask of makeup. As Cat knows, I haven’t wanted to let go of wearing my mascara and brow gel on days that I’m out and about (which melts off my face on my Essential Flow lunch breaks!) but those are for me. I do what makes me feel good and no more. No longer do I “put on a face” for others. No longer do I look at magazines, shows or around the studio and compare myself to others. I hope many others can find the sense of freedom and relief I have found through discovering my own strength, power and happiness. Thank you so much to everyone at 502 Power Yoga! Especially Cat and Sarah for starting this baby up! My life is forever changed since walking through those doors last February. 🙂
Here, here, Lindsay!!! So glad to hear you’re dropping your need for a mask and letting your authentic self shine through!