Comparison is the thief of joy, Theodore Roosevelt
Ever found yourself comparing yourself to someone else? Feeling crushed by criticism?
Then think about the feeling you get when you achieve a goal or receive praise from someone you admire. It makes us feel worthy and like we’re playing a bigger game. We literally stand taller.
At a yoga workshop in Sydney the other week, Kathryn Budig, someone I think of as an international superstar yogi, talked about how when she approached publishers with her proposal for a second book she was told she ‘wasn’t famous enough’.
In the break after this I was chatting to a girl whose yoga practice I had been admiring from afar all morning but when we chatted, she told me how she often feels inferior when she compares herself to other teachers at her studio. It struck me how much time most of us spend doing this.
Now don’t get me wrong, comparison can be healthy if we use it to inspire ourselves to try our best. But more often than not, all it does is suffocate our self esteem and distract us. My friend talks about how this affects us as when we get into ‘small voice’ or ‘big voice’. When we get caught up in comparison it literally chokes us into getting smaller and quieter.
So it’s good to have some strategies we can use when we find ourselves in comparison mode.
Yoga is great because it can help us change our energy, posture, focus and mood very quickly. There’s so much I could write for this! But I’ll keep it as simple as I can.
These 3 techniques will help you when you are stuck comparing yourself to other and feeling small. Start with the first exercise and add on if you have more time.
‘Golden flame’ breath – a few minutes. Sit upright and start to notice your breathing. You can keep your eye gaze softly on one point (try not to stare) or close your eyes. After a few breaths start to:
Inhale - breathe down to your belly and imagine you’re breathing all the way down to your pelvic floor.
Exhale – as you breathe out, slightly engage the pelvic muscles and naval to squeeze the breath out and up.
Visualise – as you inhale imagine a golden flame or ball of energy in your lower belly expands.
As you exhale imagine you’re lifting the flame or ball an inch or two higher and fanning the flame upwards, releasing anything you don’t need.
Doing a few rounds of sun salutations is a good way to get yourself moving without having to think too much. Keep your focus on your breath and feel into your body. Keep you eye gaze soft. If you really want to add more, add some in a few rounds of boat pose.
Standing poses (or handstand!)
Standing poses are awesome for reminding us of our strength, determination and focus. They also bring our posture into that of a more positive state.
Warrior 2 pose – 5 breaths each side
If you want to really shift it up, add some handstand! It doesn’t have to be full handstand – you could do downward facing dog or handstand at the wall… this is about being upside down and upping our energy so either of these will do the trick.
Let me know if you you have any questions about this or requests! I'll be adding a video for a quick yoga prep you can use before a job interview, presentation or performance of any kind.
Until then, take care