We all do it! Look at the yogi next to us and wish that we could do that crazy forearm stand, or had the flexibility to easily slip into hanumanasana. This is the exact time you need to check yourself, and question, why you come to the mat? Is it really to be “the best” at yoga (whatever that means!!!)? Or is it to find one or more of the following- a mind body connection, building confidence in body and soul, letting go of stress, healing from life’s punches, connection to breathe, workout, play around…you get it.
What I am sure of is that you don’t come to the mat to beat yourself up, compare yourselves to others, or to focus on your ego! We all know the asana practice is just the tip of the iceberg of what yoga can bring us….
So, the next time you find yourself comparing your body, practice, flexibility, etc. to others, try the following:
Close your eyes and connect to your breath- block out your senses (pratyahara) and just hear that sound of your breathe- this will bring you back to the focus of your practice.
Focus on your body – bring mindfulness to each movement, be aware of how your body feels in space- what poses feel amazing? What poses feel challenging? Are you still breathing?
Let go of expectations- be present in the moment, accept what is happening with you in the here and now- not how you used to be, not how you will be in the future- just be with your body.
Focus on what you can do- I bet your body has gotten you through some tough times, I bet you have moments where you have been so grateful for your health – focus on those.
Remember we are all human- that person or people that you are comparing yourself to are also human with real struggles and challenges- everyone has a story.
Have fun! – instead of worrying about what the practice looks like, focus on enjoying it- put a smile on your face and just keep moving.
Remind yourself that the postures are not the essence of the practice- as previously suggested there is so much more to yoga than the asana practice- so focus on what bring you to YOUR mat!