Yoga of the Heart: Self-Reflection - Aura Wellness Center

Yoga of the Heart: Self-Reflection

art of self-reflectionBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

The ancient practice of self-reflection is traditionally used during a Yoga asana session to help uncover the divinity that lies at the center of the heart. There are many different ways to practice self-reflection, and spiritual traditions throughout the world practice self-reflection in a variety of different ways. Ultimately the goal of most self-reflection exercises is to let go of negative beliefs and thoughts that are not serving one’s own highest good or the good of the world.


Visceral Awareness

In terms of Yoga practice, the internal process of self-reflection that leads to a visceral awareness of the essential divinity that lies within our own beings is similar to the process of peeling back layers of an onion. Many of our thoughts and beliefs are based on fundamental assumptions about ourselves and the world at large. These thoughts and beliefs are typically generated by our own life experiences and the effect that people have had on us through the years.

About Samskaras

When we turn our attention inward and practice reflecting on our own beliefs and thoughts during a Yoga asana session, it is much easier to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are limiting and dim our own light. When the light of the heart is covered up by the darkness of ignorance of our own essential nature, our possibilities in the world also become limited. The Sanskrit term for the bundle of beliefs, thoughts, actions, and experiences that underlie our perception of ourselves and the world at large are called “samskaras.”



By utilizing a system of self-reflective questions during a Yoga asana practice, limiting samskaras can be uprooted and replaced with more positive beliefs. By incorporating the internal exercises of self-reflection into a Yoga practice, the effects of the physical practice of the Yoga asanas will become even more profound and transformational. One method of incorporating the awareness of self-reflection into a Yoga practice is to pose a series of questions to yourself when painful emotions, images or thoughts arise during the practice of certain Yoga asanas.

For example, it is not uncommon for “undigested” or unintegrated experiences to arise during the practice of heart opening or hip-opening Yoga postures. When this happens, allow the thought or image to arise in your field of consciousness, and then try to apply the following method of self-reflection to help dispel erroneous and inaccurate beliefs about yourself and/or the world around you.


 A Four Part Self-Reflection Exercise

Steps 1 & 2:

This four-step process is based on Byron Katie’s work. She is a woman who hit rock bottom, and pulled herself out of a deep psychological abyss through this self-reflection process. When an upsetting, negative or disturbing thought arises during your Yoga practice, the first question to ask yourself is: “Is this thought true?” Many of our negative thoughts may not actually even be true! For instance, the thought that you may not be making any progress in your Yoga practice may not be accurate at all. The second step is to judge if you can know absolutely for sure that it is, in fact, true.

Step 3:

As you begin the process of the internal evaluation of your thoughts and beliefs, the next step in the process is to ask yourself how you react when you believe this thought. I love this step! How often do we subscribe to dimming thoughts or beliefs without even objectively evaluating their veracity, let alone the effect those dimming beliefs or thoughts have on us? So, if you follow the example of believing that you are not making any headway in your Yoga practice, how does that thought make you feel? Do you feel frustrated and demoralized, or inspired and enthusiastic?

Step 4:

If you do feel demoralized and frustrated by the thought that you are not improving in your Yoga practice, pause for a moment and consider how would you feel without that thought. What if you practiced the literary flexibility of suspending disbelief and entertained a more uplifting thought, such as: “I show up diligently everyday to practice Yoga and my body is becoming stronger and healthier as a result.”


Creating Life-Affirming Thoughts

Do you feel more energized, positive and enthusiastic with that thought? Which thought is more likely to lead to an increased sense of optimism and well-being? When you become aware of the thoughts that are pulling you down through this self-reflective process, you will have the choice to substitute negative thoughts and beliefs with life-affirming thoughts that will uplift and inspire you and also the people around you.


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Self-Reflection During Yoga Practice

By Faye Martins and Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Unlocking the power of self-reflection is like opening a treasure chest within yourself. What better way to embark on this transformative journey than through the practice of yoga? Yoga not only nurtures your body and mind but also provides an ideal platform for introspection and self-analysis. Let’s delve into the profound benefits of self-reflection during your yoga practice, exploring various techniques such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, and even yin yoga.

The Benefits of Self-Reflection

Self-reflection provides an opportunity for self-awareness, personal growth, and transformation. By taking the time to pause, observe, and reflect on our thoughts, emotions, and actions during yoga practice or in daily life, we can develop a greater understanding of who we are.

One of the key benefits of self-reflection is gaining clarity. When we take a moment to step back from the busyness of life and turn inward, we create space for clear thinking and decision-making. This clarity can help us identify patterns or habits that may be holding us back or causing unnecessary stress.

Self-reflection also cultivates mindfulness – the practice of being fully present in the moment without judgment. Through self-reflection during yoga practice, we learn to observe our breath, physical sensations, and mental chatter with curiosity rather than criticism. This heightened awareness spills over into other areas of our lives as well.

In addition to fostering mindfulness and clarity, self-reflection encourages personal growth by allowing us to identify areas where we can improve or make positive changes. It helps us recognize limiting beliefs or negative thought patterns that may be hindering our progress towards goals or happiness.

Lastly but certainly not leastly , self-reflection promotes emotional well-being by providing an outlet for processing feelings and emotions. Rather than suppressing or ignoring them, reflective practices like journaling allow us to acknowledge these experiences fully without judgment – ultimately leading toward healing.

Overall , incorporating self-reflection into your yoga practice offers numerous benefits including increased clarity , enhanced mindfulness , personal growth opportunities , improved emotional well-being . So why not take a few moments each day on your mat (or off it) for some valuable introspection? You may just uncover hidden treasures within yourself waiting to be discovered!


Self-Reflection in Your Yoga Practice

Self-reflection is an integral part of any yoga practice. It allows us to turn our attention inward and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves. During our time on the mat, we have the opportunity to observe our thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations without judgment or attachment.

Incorporating self-reflection into your yoga practice can help you cultivate mindfulness and presence. As you flow through various asanas (poses), take a moment to check in with yourself. Notice how your body feels in each pose – are there areas of tension or resistance? Are you able to find ease and relaxation?

Beyond the physical aspect, self-reflection during yoga also involves exploring your mental and emotional state. Pay attention to any thoughts that arise during your practice – are they positive or negative? Are they serving you well or holding you back? By observing these patterns, you can start to identify areas for growth and transformation.

Remember that self-reflection is not about analyzing or criticizing yourself; rather, it’s about developing greater awareness and compassion towards yourself. Use this time on your mat as an opportunity for self-discovery and acceptance.

So next time you step onto your mat, take a few moments before beginning your practice to set an intention for self-reflection. Allow yourself the space to explore both physically and mentally throughout your practice. Embrace whatever arises with curiosity and kindness.

By incorporating self-reflection into our yoga practice, we invite personal growth, deepen our connection with ourselves, and promote overall well-being both on and off the mat.

What to Reflect on During Yoga Practice

During your yoga practice, it is important to take time for self-reflection. This allows you to connect with yourself on a deeper level and gain insights into your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. But what exactly should you reflect on during your yoga practice? Here are some suggestions to help guide your introspection.

Reflect on how your body is feeling in each pose. Pay attention to any areas of tension or discomfort and explore ways to release them gently. Notice the sensations that arise as you move through different poses and observe how they change throughout the practice.

Reflect on your breath. The breath is an integral part of yoga, serving as a bridge between the mind and body. Observe the quality of your breath – is it shallow or deep, smooth or choppy? By focusing on the breath, you can anchor yourself in the present moment and cultivate mindfulness.

Reflect on any thoughts or emotions that come up during your practice. Are there recurring patterns or themes that emerge? Take note of these without judgment or attachment. This awareness can provide valuable insights into underlying beliefs or habits that may be holding you back off the mat.

Reflect on your intention for practicing yoga. Why do you show up on the mat day after day? Is it for physical fitness, stress relief, spiritual growth? Reflecting on this intention can help align your actions with your values and bring greater meaning to every pose.

Remember that self-reflection during yoga is a personal journey – there are no right or wrong answers. It’s about cultivating self-awareness and nurturing a sense of compassion towards yourself as well as others around you.


Basic Self-Reflection During Asana Practice

During your yoga asana practice, self-reflection plays a vital role in deepening your connection with yourself and enhancing the overall benefits of the practice. As you move through various poses, take a moment to turn inward and observe your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.

Start by simply noticing how your body feels in each pose. Are there areas of tension or discomfort? Can you identify any patterns or habits in your movements? By bringing awareness to these sensations, you can make adjustments that promote better alignment and prevent injury.

As you breathe deeply and mindfully during your practice, pay attention to the quality of your breath. Is it shallow or deep? Smooth or jagged? Your breath can provide valuable insights into your state of mind – whether it’s calm and steady or scattered and restless.

Another aspect of self-reflection is observing the thoughts that arise during practice. Without judgment, notice what comes up for you – both positive and negative. Are there recurring themes or concerns that surface on the mat? This awareness allows you to gain clarity about any underlying issues that may be affecting other areas of your life.

Additionally, use self-reflection as an opportunity to cultivate gratitude for yourself and everything around you. Acknowledge the effort it takes to show up on the mat consistently and appreciate all that your body is capable of doing.

By incorporating self-reflection into each asana practice, you create space for personal growth, increased self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of yourself both physically and mentally. So next time you step onto your yoga mat, remember to pause occasionally throughout the class to reflect within – it may just enhance not only how you feel but also how you navigate through life off-the-mat!

Is Yin Yoga Good for Looking Within?

Yin yoga, with its slow and gentle approach, can be a powerful tool for self-reflection. Unlike other yoga styles that focus on dynamic movement and strength-building, Yin yoga is all about stillness and surrender. It encourages practitioners to hold poses for longer periods, allowing them to delve deep into their bodies and minds.

The passive nature of Yin yoga provides an opportunity to observe our thoughts without judgment. As we settle into each pose, we may notice emotions or sensations arise – both physically and mentally. This introspective practice invites us to sit with these experiences rather than pushing them away.

In the quiet space created during Yin yoga, we have the chance to explore our inner landscape. By tuning inwards and paying attention to our breath, sensations, and thoughts, we can gain insight into ourselves. We become more aware of patterns or habits that may be holding us back or causing us stress.

Yin yoga also helps cultivate patience and acceptance – qualities essential for self-reflection. Holding poses for longer periods challenges our impulse for constant movement or distraction. Instead of seeking external stimulation, we learn to embrace stillness and create space within ourselves.

With regular practice of Yin yoga comes increased self-awareness – an understanding of who we truly are beyond societal roles or expectations. Through looking within during this meditative practice, we develop a deeper connection with ourselves – mind, body,and spirit.


Which Yoga Styles are Best for Self-Reflection?

Yoga is not just about physical exercise; it is a holistic practice that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit. When it comes to self-reflection during yoga practice, certain styles of yoga can be particularly beneficial. Let’s explore some of these styles and how they can support your journey of self-discovery.

One style of yoga that lends itself well to self-reflection is Hatha Yoga. This traditional form focuses on balancing opposing forces within the body through gentle movements and breath control. The slower pace allows you to tune into your thoughts, emotions, and sensations more deeply.

Another style worth considering is Kundalini Yoga. Known as the “yoga of awareness,” Kundalini combines dynamic movements with specific breathing techniques and meditation practices. By activating the energy centers in the body, Kundalini Yoga encourages introspection and spiritual growth.

For those who prefer a more gentle approach, Yin Yoga offers an opportunity for deep contemplation. With longer holds in passive poses, Yin targets connective tissues while allowing space for emotional release and inner exploration.

If you’re looking for a combination of movement and reflection, Vinyasa Flow may be ideal for you. This fluid style synchronizes breath with continuous flowing sequences, creating a moving meditation that helps quiet the mind while energizing the body.

Incorporating mindfulness meditation into any yoga practice can also enhance self-reflection. By cultivating present moment awareness without judgment or attachment to thoughts or sensations, mindfulness helps develop greater insight into oneself.

Remember that finding the best yoga style for self-reflection ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs at any given time. Experimenting with different styles can offer valuable insights about yourself – what resonates most deeply within you? So go ahead – explore various styles until you find one that truly nourishes your soul!

Will Mindfulness Meditation Encourage Self-Analysis?

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves bringing our attention to the present moment and observing our thoughts, emotions, and sensations without judgment. While it may seem like mindfulness meditation is purely about being in the present, it can actually encourage self-analysis as well.

During mindfulness meditation, we become more aware of our thoughts and patterns of thinking. We start to notice how these thoughts arise and pass away, without getting caught up in them or judging ourselves for having certain thoughts. This heightened awareness allows us to gain insights into our own minds and behaviors.


Thought Patterns

As we continue to practice mindfulness meditation, we may start noticing recurring themes or patterns in our thoughts and emotions. We might discover underlying beliefs or fears that have been influencing our actions. By simply observing these patterns without clinging onto them or pushing them away, we can begin to understand ourselves on a deeper level.

Mindfulness meditation also cultivates qualities such as compassion and non-judgment towards ourselves. Through this practice, we learn to hold space for all aspects of ourselves – both positive and negative – with kindness and acceptance. This self-compassion encourages us to explore further within ourselves with curiosity instead of criticism.

Mindfulness meditation has the potential to facilitate self-analysis by increasing awareness of our thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. Through this practice, we develop a deep understanding of ourselves while fostering compassion towards all aspects of who we are. Embracing mindfulness meditation as part of your yoga journey can help you embark on an insightful path towards self-reflection.

Best Meditation for Self-Reflection

When considering self-reflection, meditation can be a powerful tool. It allows us to quiet the mind, create space for introspection, and cultivate self-awareness. But which meditation techniques are best for this purpose?

One practice that stands out is mindfulness meditation. By focusing on the present moment without judgment or attachment, we can observe our thoughts and emotions from a place of detachment. This allows us to gain insight into our patterns of thinking and behavior.

Another effective technique is loving-kindness meditation. This practice involves sending love and compassion not only to ourselves but also to others. It helps us connect with our own inner kindness and fosters empathy towards others.

Visualization meditation is another method that can aid in self-reflection. By visualizing positive outcomes or qualities we wish to cultivate within ourselves, we tap into our subconscious mind’s power of manifestation.

Breath awareness meditation is simple yet profound in its ability to bring attention inward. Focusing on the breath can help calm the mind and provide clarity during moments of reflection.

Finding the best meditation technique for self-reflection may require some experimentation. Each individual resonates with different practices based on their unique needs and preferences.


Yoga Nidra and Self-Analysis

Yoga Nidra is a powerful tool for self-analysis and deep reflection. This practice takes you to a state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep, allowing you to explore your inner landscape in a profound way.

During Yoga Nidra, you lie down in a comfortable position and follow the guidance of an instructor or recording. As you relax deeply, your mind becomes more receptive to self-analysis and introspection. You may uncover hidden emotions or patterns of behavior that have been holding you back.

Through this practice, you can gain insights into your thoughts, beliefs, and desires. It allows you to observe yourself without judgment or attachment. By bringing awareness to these aspects of yourself during Yoga Nidra, you create space for transformation and growth.

As you journey through the different stages of Yoga Nidra – relaxation techniques, visualization exercises, body scanning – the layers of your subconscious are gently peeled away. You may discover new perspectives on long-held beliefs or find clarity around unresolved issues.

Yoga Nidra offers a safe container for exploring your deepest truths and understanding yourself on a deeper level. It helps unravel the complexities within so that healing can take place. Through regular practice, this form of self-analysis can lead to greater self-acceptance and personal evolution.

Incorporating Yoga Nidra into your routine allows for dedicated time each day to delve into self-reflection without distraction. Whether it’s releasing stress from daily life or finding answers to deeper questions about oneself – this practice has proven beneficial for many individuals seeking greater understanding.

So next time you roll out your mat for some yoga practice – consider adding Yoga Nidra into the mix! Allow yourself the opportunity for deep introspection while experiencing ultimate relaxation!

Journaling for Self-Reflection

One powerful tool that can enhance your self-reflection during yoga practice is journaling. By putting pen to paper, you create a space to explore and express your thoughts, emotions, and experiences on a deeper level.

When it comes to journaling for self-reflection, there are no rules or limitations. You can start by simply jotting down your observations before and after each yoga session. How do you feel physically? Mentally? Emotionally?

As you delve further into your journaling practice, you may find yourself exploring the underlying reasons behind certain patterns or reactions that arise during yoga. Are there any recurring themes in your thoughts or emotions? What triggers them?

Writing can also help uncover any limiting beliefs or negative self-talk that may be holding you back from fully experiencing the benefits of yoga. By bringing these unconscious patterns into conscious awareness through journaling, you have the opportunity to shift and transform them.

Remember, this is not about judgment or criticism but rather an invitation to cultivate greater self-awareness and acceptance. Your journal becomes a safe haven where you can freely express yourself without fear of judgment.

Whether it’s scribbling down stream-of-consciousness musings or writing structured reflections on specific aspects of your practice, the act of writing itself can be cathartic and illuminating.

So grab a notebook and pen, find a quiet corner after your yoga practice, and allow yourself the gift of self-reflection through journaling. It may just deepen your understanding of yourself both on and off the mat.



Self-reflection is an essential part of our personal growth and development, and incorporating it into our yoga practice can deepen our understanding of ourselves on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Whether you’re practicing asanas, meditation, or yoga nidra, there are various techniques and styles that can support your journey towards self-reflection.

During your yoga practice, take the time to pause and observe how your body feels in each pose. Notice any sensations or emotions that arise without judgment. This basic self-reflection can help us become more aware of ourselves physically and mentally.

Yin yoga is particularly effective for looking within as it encourages long-held poses that allow us to explore discomfort and release tension. By holding these poses for an extended period of time, we have the opportunity to confront any emotions or thoughts that may surface.

Different yoga styles offer different avenues for self-reflection. Restorative yoga promotes relaxation and introspection through gentle poses supported by props. Kundalini Yoga combines movement with breathwork to awaken dormant energy within us while also fostering self-awareness.

Mindfulness meditation plays a significant role in encouraging self-analysis during our practice. By cultivating present moment awareness through focused attention on the breath or body sensations, we create space for observing our thoughts objectively without getting caught up in them.

If you’re specifically looking to incorporate meditation into your routine for self-reflection purposes, loving-kindness meditation (Metta) is especially beneficial. Metta involves cultivating feelings of love and compassion towards oneself and others while reflecting on positive qualities we possess.

Yoga Nidra offers another avenue for deep exploration within ourselves. The guided relaxation technique allows us to enter a state between wakefulness and sleep where we can access subconscious patterns or beliefs that may be hindering our personal growth.

Journaling is yet another powerful tool for self-reflection during your yoga practice. Before or after your session, take some time to write down any insights, emotions, or observations that arise. Through journaling you gain clarity and direction throughout your life.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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