My pal Kenny told me this morning, "I used to pick one guy who was better than me and focus on him." He was talking about mountain bike racing. Kenny was ranked nationally back in the day. He's a natural competitor. He loves a challenge.
Back when I was racing mountain bikes an running triathlons competitively, I used to do a similar thing. Only I would pick the person in front of me in a race. I like to train on my own. I don't wear earbuds. I don't like training with other people. I'm not a fan of competing with other people. I like, rather, to strive to best my last. Sometimes I win. Sometimes not. But I digress ....
Kenny raced on the pro circuit an he played at a higher level than I ever did. The idea of looking outside yourself for inspiration is a good one.
For kenny, the notion of training against a goal of besting another rider was what worked. I used to watch tapes of Mark Allen running races. That worked for me. Made me better.
Yoga is not a competition. Yoga is, one might think, not the place to train against another practitioner. But yoga is - I think - a perfect space to look outside for inspiration. Ways to improve. Ways to push yourself.
I've heard a goodly portion of the yoga crowd bemoaning yoga depicted on Instagram. It's too perfect. It's too advanced. They're too pretty. It's too ... It's too ....
I love my Instagram feed. I like the hand stands and the flying poses. I like seeing honed bodies in perfect poses. The pictures bring me joy. The pictures bring me challenges. The pictures offer hope and encouragement.
Try finding an outside inspiration to move your yoga practice along. Perfection is not the goal, but advancement - for me - is. There's a good chance you might just find me on Instagram today looking at lovely people in crazy poses.