Recently read an interview with Courtney Cox about her coming to terms with her age. (I can hear what you're thinking, but what can I say? In college I had all the Friend's and Seinfeld episodes recorded on VHS, and we watched those episodes until the tapes nearly feel apart... back in the day before DVR!). She's 46, does Botox and is a movie-star but still... we're all human, right?
She said, "I'm at peace with myself and where I am. In the past, I was always looking to see how everybody else was doing. I wasn't competitive-- I was comparative. I just wanted to be where everybody else was. Now I've gotten to an age when I'm comparing anymore." I don't see learning that lesson, as a matter of age... more of a mind-set. (Although, the older we get, we tend to either become more hardened or softened by life, don't we?) In class, I'll encourage students to let go of judgment, competition, etc. But really, it's not so much a competition in most cases (wanting to be better than the person on the mat next to you)... it's just that you don't want to look "so foolish"... "so inflexible compared to the person on my right"... we all just want to fit in, don't we? Just trying to keeping up can be draining. And, in class, it can be harmful to our mind and body.
city centre yoga instructors- so wonderful that we're all uniquely different
No one. No one will leave their mats after practice and say, "wow, that Sally, she's so stiff!" No one will remember what you did on the mat... only YOU. When I practice, I have to choose to recall the sensations of my body rather than what the poses looked like or didn't look like. How did it feel to reach a little further, breathe deeper, release my tight hips, and surrender in savasana? I want that. I want the whole experience. And, when I'm busy being comparative, I miss the grace and joy that can come out practicing without examining my abilities against someone else.