The Yoga Comparison Trap: Should You Look Around The Room?

Updated: May 17, 2019


You’ve heard it before, “comparison is the thief of joy”. In and outside of the yoga studio, this statement has remained true. You feel yourself comparing yourself to those you follow on social media or the super flexible yogi next to you. Why? Why do we do this? Comparison is a battle we will never win, so how do we break free of it?


During yoga class, it’s so easy to scan around the room. “How is that person getting into the pose?” “Wow! How DOES she do that?!” “Ugh, she can do a split?!” We’ve all been there. As yoga teachers and yoga students — what does scanning the room teach us, if anything?

Today, I’m dissecting comparison in and out of our yoga classes — should you be looking around the room? Or should you keep your eyes on your own mat?

Why do we look over our shoulders?

Well — it’s easy. It’s easy to look at the person on the mat next to us and compare poses. It’s easy to compare yourself to the yoga teacher that has more students than you. It’s natural to compare yourself to someone else but being surrounded by social media makes it even worse!

We’re constantly on our phones. Scrolling through the newsfeeds and timelines — our thumbs get a workout and our self-esteem takes a toll. Do a social media clean-out. Marie Kondo your Instagram account! If the account doesn’t inspire or offer you value — unfollow! You’ll be amazed how much better you feel about yourself when you scroll through accounts and photos that lift your spirits.

Clean out your social media to break free of comparing yourself to others! Out of sight, out of mind.

Pros and cons of looking over your shoulder

Comparison isn’t all bad! It’s important to be self-aware and no where you stand at times. Plus, you can get ideas and be inspired when comparing yourself to someone else. Nothing wrong with challenging yourself to be better than the day before! Here are the pros and cons of looking over your shoulder in yoga class.

Pros:

Competitive Research

As a business owner (yes, as a yoga teacher you are a business owner), you are running your own business and creating your own brand. Part of any business plan that anyone has ever written is the important step of conducting competitive research. It may feel icky but it’s not to recreate or be envious of what someone else is doing. It’s to recognize the differences of what you bring to the table!

Identify What Makes You Different!

Once you conduct your competitive research you get to identify what makes you different! Because you are the unique you that the students are coming back for! Need help narrowing your focus? Use my free guide to figure out what lights you up as a yoga teacher!

You’re Not Even Competitors

By looking over your shoulder and being curious you’ll actually realize you’re not even in competition! You may be serving the same population but you’re serving them something different. An example: I’m not the only marketing coach for yoga teachers! When I really look at what everyone else is doing I realize we all have our different skill sets and our different personalities. We’re all unique and that’s what makes it special!

Cons:

Self-Doubt

The negative side of comparing yourself to others and peeking over your shoulder is doubting yourself and what you have to offer. Don’t do that! Go back to what I said before, you’re unique for a reason. You have something different that people will love!

Shiny Object Syndrome

Another con of going down the comparison trap is succumbing to shiny object syndrome. You can have a steady focus on what you’re doing. You have a class that you love teaching and you feel fulfilled! Then you look around and see a different class and think “Oh, I want to teach that, too!”. Then you start to get shaky on what your focus is...your students get confused, it’s a rabbit hole you shouldn’t go down!

How to shut your eyes and focus on yourself

First, acknowledge that competitive research is fine. Just like looking around the room. You can even celebrate those like you would in class when someone lands a headstand for the first time. Second, set a dang timer when you do it. This is critical and will help you the most. Third, start to recognize your unique value and stop focusing on what theirs is. Celebrate those awesome poses that you can’t do because the fact is that you can do things they can’t do.

Then get your eyes back on your own mat! And celebrate you!

Comparison is the thief of joy, so let’s take our joy back. By looking at competition as the opportunity to collaborate is much healthier. And the first step in that is to know what lane you are in. If you don’t know what your yoga niche is, let’s focus on that.

Download the free guide to walk through the exercise to figure it out.

You can read or watch more about niching down by reading last weeks info-packed blog.

Talk soon,