People consider ‘competition’ to be an important aspect of the journey of achieving success. With competition, we start comparing ourselves with our competitors. We start imitating their ways and become curious about their achievements. Whether it is with our family members, friends, co-workers, there will always be comparisons. There will always be somebody next to us or ahead of us that we are compelled to look at or compare ourselves to.
This holds true even for yoga practice- especially those practicing in yoga studios or as a group. Most of us can imagine ourselves with the following situation, ‘Despite our busy schedules, we fulfill our commitment and get in time and make it on our yoga mat. We feel enthusiastic and dedicated for our practice, there is a deep wave of satisfaction that flows through our heart. And then the instructor begins the class with her instructions and you start noticing and feeling the following about others around you. The process of comparison begins in your head:
1. How does she move so gracefully?
2. Why can’t I do that pose like him, with so much ease?
3. I like her yoga leggings. I should ask her where did she purchase it?
4. This class is too hard. I think I should take a break from it for a few days.”
All the above instances are the different ways in which we compare ourselves to others. A comparison is healthy if we use it as a tool of aspiration that takes us to the next progressive level of our practice.
Yoga is a self- practice; and in the same way, geared towards self-acceptance and self- discovery. In doing so, the 3-step process below should guide you.
Step 1: Acceptance.
To honor and accept where you are in your stage of practice; to accept the level of flexibility you have; to accept the way your body is shaped and toned; to accept your physical attributes; and, to appreciate and honor that you have stepped up to commit to the practice of yoga for yourself- for transformation and growth.
Step 2: Direction.
To restrict yourself from getting distracted with the outside world, outside thoughts, and outside comparisons’ and, to set a direction for yourself by asking and knowing what your body wants, what state your mind is in, and what your ultimate objective is.
Step 3: Discovery.
To tune yourself to go deep inside and discover the inner self by focusing on your own thoughts, dreams, images, and feelings.
Use the below tips to acknowledge that yoga is your Practice:
1. Be punctual with your practice and show up determined for self-discovery and self-appreciation.
2. Avoid distractions and focus deeply by keeping your eyes closed during practice.
3. Use internal strength on your movements by breathing during yoga pose transitions.
4. Keep your spirits high and have an open mind to try and witness new poses.
5. To avoid injuries, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance from your instructor when approached with a new pose.
6. Avoid rushing to the final pose by using your breath to assist you and by breaking down your pose into multiple steps.
7. There are days you feel energized and also days when you feel groggy, but honor both situations and accept where you are on that day.
8. Release positive energy by appreciating the people around you.
9. Be you and have fun with your practice.