“It doesn’t matter what others are doing,” is something I hear frequently since I started practicing yoga and it is one of the things that was hard for me to do in my early days of practice.
Despite what the teacher, as well as my thoughts, instructed me to do, I ended up watching what others were doing.
About half of the time I spent on a class, I was focused on what my mat neighbor could do and I couldn’t, or on what I could do and she or he couldn’t , and let’s face it, a small part of me was smiling when I could do something that they couldn’t. In other words, my ego was driving almost half of my practice.
After six years of dedicated yoga practice, I didn’t realize that I had finally master to be focused on what I was doing, and not in what others were doing. Until something happened in class the other day.
There I was, flowing and breathing until the instructor walked us into a simple, and sometimes challenging, tree pose. I found myself watching others. But not with a “judgmental ego-driving eye” but rather with a “here-we-are” eye. Within seconds, a feeling of full freedom took over me, a truly sense of “it doesn’t matter what others are doing” came to be clearer than ever before. It also hit me that, off the mat, we should apply the same concept of just living our lives without paying attention of what others are doing.
Yes. All those thoughts and feelings came to me in probably only five breaths in tree pose
It was a beautiful state of mind, even though I was kind of thinking and feeling all these at once, my balance was unshakable because I was not caring about others. I was just being in the pose and being a part of what was happening in the room.
One of the reasons why I love yoga is because it teaches me life lessons. In this case, it reinforced me in something that I try to practice every single day in my life: To not compare myself to others.
Society teaches us since our early years that we should look or act in a certain way in order to “fit,” to be accepted, and that we should accomplish certain professional and personal goals in life if we want to know the meaning of success and happiness.
This is commonly measured by certain standards like the amount of money in our bank so we can feel happy, that we should be the best of what we do, etc.
To tell the truth, in my view, nothing about these statements is wrong if we really enjoy the process. If we enjoy what we do or how we act; if we flow through life the same way we flow in our mats, without paying attention of what the neighbor is doing; if we do our best without being worried of being the best. We will achieve success and happiness by just showing up in our day to day life, by being completely present in our day to day activities.
What success means to you may be different to what success means to me. What failure means to you may be different to what failure means to me. What happiness means to you may be different to what happiness means to me. Either way there is nothing else for me to do than to accept it, without judgment, and allow us to flow free.
Edited by: Hayley Samuelson
Monica found discovered yoga 6 years ago as a way to find fitness, but quickly she realized that yoga was way more than that. Through Yoga she found a connection with herself, a tool to re-discover her true essence and a way of living. Because of her passion to Yoga and its benefits, she decided to become a Yoga Teacher and in 2009 she deepened her understanding by completing her 200 hour teacher training and registered with the Yoga Alliance. Monica teaches a Vinyansa Flow class focused on synchronizing breath and movement with detail attention in alignment. Monica encourages her students to come to their mat just as they are, to leave their ego at the door, to connect with their breath, and that is OK to let go and surrender.
Monica is also a Reiki Karuna master and incorporates this healing energy in her classes.