The Competitive Yogi

I’m a pretty competitive person. Ask anyone who’s ever played Taboo, SceneIt?, or Catchphrase with me. 

I want to beat the person who is running faster or harder than me on the treadmill, the person planking longer than me, or the person sweating more profusely than me (weird, I know).

One struggle I continue to have is being competitive in yoga classes. Yoga and mindfulness in their purest essence is about radical acceptance of your mental and physical state in that moment. 

I have days where I practice and am able to look truly inward and let the rest of the world fall away. And then, there are days where this dialogue runs through my head:

“Dammit, her headstand is so good.”

“He’s got an amazing cobra pose, I can barely lift my head up tonight, ugh!”

“Why am I so out of breath this time, I’ve done this class a hundred times?!”

“Why am I sweating so much more than everyone else?”

I then realized that all of the dialogue is actually couched in judgments of myself. That in those moments I am very far away from acceptance of the other people around me and, least of all, acceptance of myself.

In yoga, one of the core principles is that even if you are a “master yogi” you are always practicing to improve and working to accept varying mental and physical states–as if your whole life you’re surfing an endless wave on it’s peaks and troughs.

I am only in competition with other people if I make it so. 

I am only in competition with myself if I make it so. 

What if the real competition is about not competing at all and is actually about letting go of any comparisons, judgments, or preconceived notions of what is supposed to be?

The opposite of scarcity isn’t abundance–it’s enough.  Brené Brown says: “…we…hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving….”

What if we stopped competing at work? In romantic relationships? At friendships? With strangers? With other women or men? At the gym? On the highway? 

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