If you’re lost in class, everyone knows the easiest way to catch up is to look at the person next to you and figure out what they’re doing, right? Well…the answer is: 1) not really, AND 2) it depends on YOU.
The real question is how did you get lost in the first place? Were you focusing on your grocery list? A problem at work? Or were you just not physically or mentally ready to get to the next pose as quickly as everyone else?
In any case, you know you need to get in sync with everyone around you…right? Again, not really AND it depends on YOU.
For me it happens when I either don’t hear the teacher’s cue, or I need a bit more time figuring out the placement of my feet, the feel of my balance, or the quieting of my thoughts as I find my drishdi. And sometimes, I just fall over anyway and think, “I have to practice this one more.” And there are other times when I need to just step back and watch others and appreciate what their bodies can achieve and know it might take me a while to get there.
Visibly Keeping Up
It seems that practice is visual for so many practicing yogis. Too much effort is spent looking outside of themselves – at others (students, teachers, Yoga Journal or Instagram photos) and they just want so badly to do the pose – the look of it – without fully understanding the alignment or integrity of the pose.
It seems that even in yoga practice, we use what we see in others to measure our own success or progress. The fact is, we are each individuals that bloom in our own time.
I read a quote that is perfect for yogis to remember: “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” What does this mean in yoga terms?
Like a flower, be yourself on the mat and grow at your own pace – allow yourself the time to bloom rather than comparing yourself to others around you.
Why? Because We’re All Built Differently
The fact is, we are all different and will bloom in to certain poses when our bodies and minds are ready. Not a minute before.
There are those poses that you might be able to watch others do effortlessly. For me, that’s Padmasana, or full Lotus pose, that requires very open hips, and probably one I will not get my body to do in this lifetime – I don’t think I was built for that one.
Tight hips or hamstrings, a frozen shoulder, short arms, long legs – we all have our own structures and design. A flower doesn’t compete to out-bloom the other flowers or other plants, it’s on its own natural schedule with its own structure, strength and timing. And so are people.
Life And Yoga Lessons From Flowers
- A crocus is not an azalea. We are all born with different features. Don’t expect the same from yourself as you would of someone who has a totally different body. Like the crocus and the azalea, one grows out of the ground at the end of winter in cold weather, while the azalea blooms from a shrub at the beginning of spring when it’s warm. Don’t expect either to bloom at the same time.
- Day lilies need full sun and impatiens like shade. Some like it hot, and some like it cool and calm. All types of yoga fit different types of bodies. No one style of yoga is superior or inferior.
- All flowers will bloom when it’s the right time and the right conditions. A successful yoga pose that honors the integrity of the alignment, strength, and breath only happens when the student is ready – mind and body. No flower can force itself to grow, and neither can any person force themselves to do a pose their body can’t handle.
So why compare yourself to someone else? On or off the mat? Stop being frustrated when headstand or urdvah danurasana are too difficult, and you see others effortlessly floating into the poses.
It’s not about the pose, it’s about how you grow to get there. And I promise you – you will bloom when it’s time.