"A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms" Zen Shi
It has happened to all of us, we are in a class and our mind wanders to the others in the room. The internal chatter in our mind starts. Why can’t I hold plank as long as him? I’ll never be able to do that because I’m not as thin as her. Why do I need so many props to get into that pose when they don't?
When we start comparing ourselves we begin putting ourselves down or we start putting others down to try to make ourselves feel better. When we become preoccupied with our internal dialogue we lose focus on why we are there and fail to get any of the benefits we attended the class for. Next time you are in a class and start to notice the urge to compare creeping in try the following:
Return to your breath. Close your eyes for a moment; take a deep inhale followed by a long exhale. Take a few more breaths focussing on the inhale and exhale. Whenever you find the internal chatter taking over come back to the breath.
Notice the sensations you are feeling in each part of your body. How does this pose make you feel? Where can you feel the stretch? Does one side feel different to the other? Our bodies are amazing things. Not only is each person different but each day what our bodies are capable of will be different too. Let go of any expectations of what a pose should look like or what you should be able to do and instead explore what you can do and how it feels today. All poses can be modified and the teacher is there to help you find an option that works for you. Don’t be afraid if you are unsure or need some assistance.
Remember yoga isn’t a competition. You don’t need to push yourself to try and keep up with those around you. While it is ok to feel the effects of a pose you shouldn’t feel pain and you should still be able to breath comfortably. Listen to your body. It is a wonderful thing and will lead you right.
A wandering mind is normal. The key is not to rid ourselves of thought, it is to be aware that our attention will waiver and we will have thoughts. All we have to do is notice.