“Comparison is the thief of joy”
I teach Bikram yoga and I like saying that phrase in class from time to time.
The mayor of the yoga studio told me the other day that she remembered that quote from my class and had offered that piece of advice to a mentee in need of positive guidance.
RIPPLE EFFECT! Cha ching!
Things like that make me really love what I do. To know that I can help in any way to change the mindset of the community I live in.
Every wants to live REACTIVE instead of PROACTIVE.
“More gun laws!” “MORE security at schools.” “Less independence for our children.” “Medication.”
These are not all bad things. But they are all things that happen after there is already a problem.
So how do we care before there is a problem to fix?
Well, my way is by teaching yoga. That’s my contribution to the world.
90 minutes in a hot room. 90 minute open eyed meditation. Stretch your body from head to toe. Irrigate your skin system. Work every system and muscle in your body.
It’s a reset.
“Yoga provides us with a set of tools for creating space between the input our life experiences and the output of our reactions.” -Jennifer Cohen Harper,
Self care isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity.
Well, let me explain it to you the way I would explain it to my students when I worked at the school:
Your body is a CAR.
Bodies need water to run.
BREATHING = Stepping on the gas pedal or break.
Breathe faster, go faster. Breathe slow, slow the car down.
SLEEP= recharge your battery.
Plug in your cell phone to recharge over night. Get in your bed and shut down your system to recharge your battery for the next day.
How do you expect to learn all day at school if you start the morning in the red zone with 20% battery white boxes popping up all day?
EXERCISE= Oil changes, Car Maintenance.
YOU GOTTA MOVE ALL YOUR STUFF AROUND.
If your body is the only vehicle you get in your journey around the sun, why would you not take care of it?
Take care of yourself.
Operate better. Go farther. Live longer.
Get it? Got it? Good.
Now where were we..
Oh yes, comparison being a dirty thief.
Everyone’s body is so insanely different. Why people look towards others to try and figure out who they should be does not make sense to me.
I’m definitely in solid agreement of ayurveda. Ayurveda says there is 3 main body types. Then you can be half of two types. In total, there are 10 body types explained.
That makes sense to me.
I’m a Kapha body type to a T.
Take a quick Ayurveda body type quiz here if you are interested in what i’m talking about.
Anyways, I sit on a podium and look at all different types of people every day at the yoga studio.
The extreme differences of people’s bodies makes me laugh.
You grow up and it’s like, short, fat, tall ect.
You start learning about the human body and talking to enough people in your life to realize there are endless differences between all of us.
Retains water. Past surgeries. Emotional eater. Fast metabolism. Low blood pressure. High blood pressure. Food intolerance. Excessively sweaty. Chronic inflammation. Dense muscles. Scoliosis. Rheumatoid arthritis. Hypermobility. Insomnia. Teeth grinding. Lack of vitamin D. Epilepsy. Allergic reactions. Viral infections.
and on and on and on….
Some of those terms could play a role in your daily life. Some of those things you may not know what they are and will never have them effect your life.
You just don’t know.
That’s the answer.
You can’t look across the yoga studio and decide whether you are happy or not by looking at me.
I’m not the answer. Neither is the woman next to me.
You can’t look outside to find fulfillment.
It’s an inside job.
Stop trying to mimic others and learn how to be the best version of you. Sounds cliche, but it’s just the truth.
If you look over at me in the yoga studio, you may see that I don’t do many Instagram worthy yoga poses. MOST days I don’t grab my heels in camel.
But wait, I’m the teacher… Shouldn’t I be the very best at every posture?
Well, before you put on your robe Judge Judy..
You should know that I have two metal rods and four bolts in my spine. I also gave birth to two 10 lb babies 13 months apart.
This body? It’s a body war vet.
Just don’t make any assumptions about what you see in front of you is all i’m saying. There is always another layer you know nothing of.
I don’t worry about comparing myself to you because I know something…
You should want me to be your yoga teacher. Not some lady who can put her foot on the top of her head.
Because I showed up to the mat when it was hard.
I showed up to the mat when it hurt.
I showed up early in the morning.
I showed up again late at night.
I showed up when I made no progress.
I showed up when I was pregnant.
I showed up when I didn’t feel like it.
I showed up for me.
Now I show up for you.
Healing from a surgery is a longer process than your health insurance includes in the process.
For me, I assume it’s lifelong.
If I had scoliosis so bad that they had to cut open my entire back when I was 15 years old. Why wouldn’t I do physical therapy forever?
So yes, I showed up to heal my physical body. Pump that blood. Soothe those muscles. Improve respiratory functionality ect.
But I admire the mental benefits so much more.
I can remember the feeling of hating that giant scar on my back when it came time to go to the prom in high school.
Always trying to cover it up.
Well, now that my outlook on life and mindset has shifted since I started regularly practicing yoga in my adulthood, I think differently of my scar.
Now a days, nothing brings me more joy, than to tell a small child that the scar on my back is from getting my fin removed at birth.
I know that my spine was so curved that a concern of the orthopedic doctor was in my adult hood my back would have problems when holding extra weight i.e. pregnancy.
Now, I think, wow. I’m glad I did. Because I wouldn’t be able to have experienced carrying and birthing my boys. In no world could I imagine not getting to be their Mom.
Plus, they were giant as fuck. So seriously… thanks for holding me up rods!
These days, I wear it like a tattoo. Something that depicts my accomplishment of healing. Like a cool battle scar.
The reason I tell you all this is not to make you feel bad for me. You shouldn’t. My life is awesome.
I’m telling you this because, don’t look at me on my yoga mat.
Look ahead into the mirror at yourself.
I don’t have your key to happiness in my pocket.
You had it all along. Right there. Hanging around your neck. But you couldn’t bothered to stop and look up in the mirror at yourself and see it.
You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Your journey is so vastly different than any other human being surrounding you.
Do things because they feel right or because they excite you. Don’t do things because your culture tells you what age is the right time to do what and if you don’t follow that timeline, you won’t be happy.
Don’t get married because all your friends are getting married and “it’s time.” That’s terrible.
Don’t assume the person with the highest degree is the smartest person in the room.
Don’t think you should only practice yoga if you can put your forehead on your knee. If you can’t, you need it more.
Don’t stop participating in hobbies you love because you had children.
Don’t waste your life thinking earning a lot of money will give you lasting satisfaction and happiness in life.
Don’t think you should get your dream job when you graduate college. That’s an unrealistic expectation. Your goals are not going to be met at 23, they are only beginning. You will have to continue to work hard.
Culture norms are for the birds. The sooner you figure that out. The sooner you can start working on stuff that actually makes you happy.
Cheer for people who find love. Cheer for people who achieve goals. Cheer for people! But you don’t have to turn it around and assume that you should be doing the exact same thing as them.
You are your own story. Embrace that.
So close your eyes and say “Comparison is the thief of joy” to yourself.
Take a deep breathe.
Inhale through your nose, count to 7.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
HOLD it, count to 8.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Exhale out your mouth, count to 4.
1 2 3 4
Do that as many time as you need to, to regulate your breathing.
Give yourself a high five. Stop whining about first world problems and go have a kick ass day.
See you on the mat.