Eyes on Your Own Paper

I had the pleasure of attending a class at Yoga Pod in Boulder with Malachi Melville, one of the models for my next book. Not only is her yoga gorgeous, she is beautiful, too. And while we’re supposed to leave competition out of the yoga studio—I’ve heard this pithily described as “keeping your eyes on your own paper”—I could plainly see, from my position a row behind Malachi, everyone sneaking a glimpse of her spectacular pigeon backbend. How were they to know she’s been on the cover of Yoga Journal?

Last fall, I led a retreat to ZAP Fitness, a training center for elite runners in the mountains of North Carolina. (Join me there next year!) Some of the athletes gamely joined us for an afternoon yoga practice. Unbeknownst to them, one of the retreat participants had quite a pedigree: she’s the daughter of the most famous male dancer around. I saw their stricken expressions as she moved gracefully from pose to pose, taking her body far deeper than their runner’s bodies would go. But just that morning, we yogis had been running in the park. The same boys passed us effortlessly, in their element, moving like a pack of deer through the woods.
We all have our strengths—and our limitations. They’ll be dictated by your history, your anatomy, your genetics, your sport. At the studio, don’t worry about what your classmates are doing; focus instead on how your yoga practice feels. You never know when you might be next to a ringer.