I owe a big shout-out to Megan for including this funky quip (the title of this post) in her most recent entry. I also owe the rapper, Rocko a debt of gratitude for bringing this meditation of coexistence to the public. “You just do you, and imma do me” sums up a philosophy I strive to embrace on and off of the yoga mat…but especially during yoga class.
Even after handfuls and handfuls of a variety of yoga classes with a variety of instructors, competition on the mat still plagues me. I have certainly evolved since my very first class, by constantly expressing gratitude for my own body and wishing health and happiness for my fellow classmates instead of casting severe judgment on myself if I felt unprepared to take a certain pose or if I seemed to weigh more than others in the room. However, living in 21st century America, a society of extremes, obsessions, and paranoia, hinders my ability to focus solely on myself during yoga class.
Yes, my ego, a slave to the superficial, appearance-obsessed American media industry that manufactures images of beauty, thinness, power, and sex appeal, successfully entices me to compare my appearance and/or ability to everyone practicing with me in a yoga class. I find myself peeking at my fellow classmates and how the the depth of their Warriors and steadiness of their Dancers compare to mine.
By constantly looking at the physical ability and appearance of the yogis surrounding me, I sacrifice my own ability and potential to hold a pose or deepen my own practice (i.e. advance, feel confident, burn more calories, tame my ego). If I enviously stare at the yogi next to me with a very deep and graceful Warrior II, along with tight abs and slender thighs instead of looking straight ahead and breathing into my own Warrior II, my muscles quickly tire. I focus only on how much fatter and weaker I feel in comparison to her, which intensifies the burning in my muscles, causing me to release my Warrior II when I could have held the pose for much longer. These harmful comparisons deter me from discovering more of my strengths and potential as a yogi.
In these moments, “You just do you, and imma do me,” the new polestar of my yoga practice, becomes not only helpful, but essential if I really want to advance in certain poses and reap more benefits from yoga. My proclivity to compare takes a beating when I insert the philosophy of this phrase into my yoga practice. If I find myself asexually marveling over a woman’s toned body and/or fancy, Karma Sutra-like advancement of a pose, I mentally recite/rap, “You just do you, and imma do me.” If I compare myself to others during a balancing pose, I also tell myself, “I am balanced” or “I am grounded” over and over. Reciting these supportive mantras to myself silences my ego’s toxic thoughts simply because I “talk” over them. Jealous, bitter thoughts about my physical ability and appearance in comparison to how those around me look cannot affect me because I conquer them with new, empowering, and loud beliefs.
Megan’s use of this beautiful sentiment reignited my motivation to focus on my own yoga journey in class. Whenever I catch myself comparing my thighs or Tree pose to someone else’s, I just have to breathe, embrace my inner rapper, and keep it real with coexistance and self-acceptance: You just do you and imma do me.