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Vikalpas: Mirrors, Yoga, and Seeing Beyond the Surface

Mirrors can powerfully reflect our self-image, either bolstering our confidence and self-love when we view ourselves positively, or undermining our self-esteem and reinforcing negative beliefs when we focus on perceived flaws or limitations. Lots of rooms remove the trigger entirely by getting rid of the mirror. 

But what if we could use the mirror for adjustment and analysis instead of critique and criticism? 

It would allow the mirror to reflect your posture, the symmetry of your pose, the alignment, or maybe that small twitch in your left shoulder.  You could make adjustments using the tool. 

But here’s the twist: what you see isn’t just your body structure or alignment. That mirror also reflects the inner world of your beliefs. Often when folks go sour, it’s the inner beliefs projecting onto the glass, subtly shifting and molding what you see.

In yoga, we call these belief-coloured projections ‘Vikalpas.’ A Vikalpa is kind of like a pair of tinted glasses, coloring our worldview and perception of ourselves. It’s that mental construct, that belief you hold onto so tightly, that it starts to separate you from your Higher Self.

So, back to our mirror analogy, if you believe you’re not flexible enough, your reflection might show you a stiff body. If you believe you’re not strong, you might see a weak reflection even when you’re standing tall in your Warrior Pose. In essence, the mirror is showing you a version of yourself, tinted by your beliefs.

Remember, my friends, our beliefs can be our biggest strength and at the same time, our greatest limitation. We have the power to question whether we are seeing things clearly— and to get down to the business of sober-minded seeing if we aren’t. But it starts by assessing.

Through the practice of yoga, we can start to peel back these layers, these Vikalpas, and see ourselves for who we truly are – infinite beings capable of extraordinary things. So next time you stand before that mirror, remember to check for any Vikalpas that might be coloring your view. 

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