I was working out at my favorite bootcamp-style class last week at Miracle Performance (click here if you’re into this kind of thing).  I ended up on the treadmill next to a friend I hadn’t seen in a while.  When it came time to sprint, she tore it up.  Like, I’ve almost never seen anyone run that fast.  Now I love a good workout as much as the next bootcamper, but I rarely run as fast as I literally can when it’s time to “sprint.”  I’m not exactly loping, nor am I necessarily killing myself.  Being next to my pal Speedy Gonzalez on the treadmill next to me, I pushed harder than usual.  I went all out.  Not to keep up with my friend, which would have been a futile effort, but to really challenge myself.  And it felt really great and rewarding.

In yoga, I’m a fan of the idea of keeping your eyes on your own mat.  Of not comparing yourself to those around you.  Of finding contentment with wherever your body is on any particular day.

But seeing physically advanced practitioners can be a source of inspiration, too.  A gentle reminder to push yourself and to step outside of your comfort zone.

So long as you look on with a mindful sense of curiosity and a playful attitude, finding inspiration in the prowess of others can indeed be a growthful part of the practice.