Ep 37: “We Are Not Trees.” The pitfalls of comparing, the folly of self-improvement.

Happy to be back with Debora Kolwey in this episode talking about a very interesting topic that plagues all of us to some degree…comparing. Whether we are comparing yoga to Pilates, classical to contemporary, or ourselves to others, the comparing mind can assume a state of right or wrong, that one way, one thing, one person is inherently better than another. We talk about this in terms of teaching and also as a habit of mind in general. Our discussion leads us to ask questions like why are we compelled to compare, why does being on the right side of the equation buy us? I think you’re going to enjoy this thought provoking conversation.

Here we go.


Our hero for this episode is Sara Raymond and her podcast The Mindful Movement. Sara and I have done some work together through Skillful Teaching and she’s always impressed me with a strong vision and purpose for her teaching, her studio, and the way she supports her teachers. In November of last year, Sara launched The Mindful Movement Podcast and it really is a wonderful addition to your resource library.

The MMP is for anyone who wants to explore the quiet side of teaching, moving, and being; who wants to develop a meditation practice or cultivate a strong self-care practice. I think you’ll really enjoy Sara and the MMP offerings, which include short video podcasts.

Learn more about The MMP here: http://themindfulmovement.com


Pro Tip

And last but not least, the Pro Tip for ep. 37…to find one way in your next session or class to NOT compare. What this will likely look like is to first notice where you DO compare. In teaching, it’s really not that hard to find a place where we have a preference for something to be done a certain way; to see a movement as right or wrong.

Take this one thing and see what it would be like to just let it be. What could it teach you? What might you be able to see differently without your attachment to having it be a certain way?

For example: Maybe you have a strong opinion about the bird-on-a-perch (prehensile) foot position being set just under the ball of the foot rather in the center of the arch. Maybe you are typically pretty adamant about the foot being in this particular position and you have all your reasons why this is better than being on the arch of the foot, but just drop all your “knowing” and opinions about it just this one time. Allow the foot to be on the arch and notice what happens in the ankle, knee, leg, pelvis. How does your student respond overall? How does this position change the ease or effort?

Caution: DON’T search for all the ways you can prove yourself RIGHT! Instead be aware of all the ways in which you can be proved wrong. That’s was scientists do. They put for a hypothesis and then work to prove themselves/it wrong.

This can be a little uncomfortable, but try to enjoy the freedom it creates. Listen and be open. Life is boring when you’re right all the time 🙂

Connect With Us

Reach us Individually

  • Chantill – chantill@skillfulteaching.com
    • Phone – (707) 738-7951
  • Debora – dkolwey@gmail.com

Thinking Pilates Podcast - Connect with Us

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