In many yoga asana classes, it is very common for students to look at the person beside them to see how far the other is twisting and bending. They think, “Oh that person twisted 10 inches. I only twisted 2 inches.”
Classes like this are always full of tension and may even result in injuries because of the competitive atmosphere. One of the objectives of yoga asanas is to relieve you of tension and heal your body of minor ailments, not worsen your stress and cause you injury.
This is the reason why I always reiterate to all my students that doing yoga asanas is not a competition. You simply need to go as far as your body can go, according to its own condition. This means you need to feel and listen to your body. In this way, you will be careful and sensitive and you will not push yourself beyond your limits. After all, you are not doing yoga asanas to impress other people. Rather, you are simply doing it for your own health. This is the proper consciousness to be in.
Don’t worry if you can’t twist as far as the other person or if you can’t stand on your head like the person beside you. It is irrelevant. A broom stands on its head!
So don’t fall into this trap of competing against somebody else or looking at the other person. Just do your yoga asanas in a way that is conducive to the health of the body, not damaging it.
If you practice your yoga asanas in this noncompetitive consciousness, you’ll find yourself more relaxed and peaceful after your asana session and you’ll save yourself from a whole barrage of injuries!