You’ve taken the brave first step into yoga and are ready to try something new, but the pressure to fit in starts to build when you see all the ‘experienced’ yogis in class. The ones who make it look so easy whilst you sweat in a panic. What if you wobble or fall over? You’re not flexible enough to be there and you’re definitely not as stretchy as the person next to you - I mean how are they balancing like that?!
It’s natural for your eyes and mind to wander during class but sizing up your shortfalls and inadequacies against others means your mind is everywhere except your own practice.
If you’re spending every class battling your ego and beating yourself up, it’s time to come back to YOUR reasons for stepping onto the mat.
Yoga is a practice of gazing inwards and freeing yourself from distraction. Yet, comparison does a great job of pulling the gaze back out and is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what yoga teaches us. In fact, ahimsa is a concept in yoga philosophy that teaches non-violence of actions, thoughts and words. When comparison strikes, if your thoughts are negative and self sabotaging, are you really practicing ahimsa? Can you find a way to shift your mindset to be more compassionate towards yourself and others?
Comparison can strike when you least expect it so here’s some important things to remember when you feel a case of comparisonitis coming on:
No two Yogis are alike
There’s no such thing as a universally ‘easy’ pose. That one pose you find amazing may be another person’s nightmare! Everyone brings different body types, injuries and motives onto the mat meaning everyone is unique - including you!
Your practice is YOUR PRACTICE
Think about the reasons that bring you to your yoga practice. Is it fitness, relaxation, stress reduction? Keep returning back to your own intentions and you’ll soon realise that what everyone else is doing doesn’t matter!
No one will ever ‘complete’ yoga
That’s right, you will never learn all you need to know and graduate from yoga! It’s a practice that will take you in many directions so no two people’s yoga journey will be the same.
Comparison can strike both on and off that mat, so remember to BE KIND TO YOUR MIND. Why not try this Kindness Meditation to get you started?
Do you already have your own strategies in place for combating comparison? Comment below to share your own tips and tricks!