Dark Side Yoga: Jealousy
Light Side Yoga is dedicated to bringing more light and joy to the world, but it doesn’t mean we get to ignore the Dark Side. This other side of life’s experiences can be a powerful teacher. We need to open up to these lessons or risk repeating the same mistake until that lesson slaps us in the face!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
A feeling that I’m not thrilled to have in my life is JEALOUSY. On the mat, I find myself getting discouraged when a pose is just out of reach. Thankfully, I take my glasses off when I take a class so I can’t quite see how other students are faring. But I totally understand that it can get ugly if you glance up at the teacher or another student floating effortlessly in Crow or sighing contentedly with their head on the mat in Butterfly. We also have social media to rub it in. My Facebook and Instagram feeds are chock full of impossible-looking handstands and forward folds that make me cry for my poor, tight hamstrings. I follow other yogis to be inspired and to learn more about yoga, but my jealousy can derail me if I’m not careful.
Whenever yoga jealousy pops up, it’s important to realize that yoga is a life long journey. We’ll never reach the end of our yoga practice because our bodies continue to change and bring new challenges. I might be two years away from a handstand at this point in my practice. That’s awesome because without yoga I’d be even further away! Rather than focusing on where my yoga practice is stuck due to tight hips or a lack of strength, I take pride in the steps that take me towards my goals. Each time I step on the mat, I consider it a victory.
Anytime I feel jealous, in yoga class or anywhere else, I try to come back to that positive outlook. Cultivating an attitude of abundance, rather than one of lack, is the easiest way to keep from turning green with jealousy. It’s an added bonus that focusing on what I’m glad I have seems to bring more of it my way. When I have trouble changing to positive thinking, I think about three things I’m most grateful for in that moment. Racking my brain for the first tiny thing to feel good about usually changes the pattern of my thinking enough to move out of jealousy.
Next time you feel jealousy rising to the surface, focus on the abundance in your life, rather than things you might lack. Increase your sense of gratitude. Start by listing three things to feel grateful for and watch how this list spirals on endlessly. See how this makes your life feel richer without costing you a penny!