Competitive Yoga Confession

Don’t be competitive in yoga, that’s the untold rule, it’s just not allowed, it’s not yogic.

Hmmmmm, okay, so you’re asking me to PRETEND I’m not competitive?

Okay, I can do that, no problem….and in the process show up as a complete FAKE!

I’m a competitive person, it’s part of me, it’s part of who I am. I’ll look over at you, see what you’re doing, and try to do it as good or better. In fact, that’s a big reason why I became a yoga teacher, I’m very observant of others bodies and techniques; so using my competitiveness may be one of my greatest assets as a teacher…and it certainly was during my pro riding career. Though learning how to use my competitive nature honestly, skillfully, and with awakeness has allowed me to turn the results of that competitiveness into healthy growth rather than the reactionary and physically destructive patterns it once brought - the latter however was necessary which is the catch-22 of this whole competition thing.

Competitiveness gets such a bad reputation, especially in yoga circles. Beliefs like ‘you can’t love another while being in competition with them’ or ‘competitiveness is something you need to overcome’ are disingenuous and a big reason I sense an uncomfortable fakeness at many yoga classes and studios. Whether it’s fashion, looks, ability, philosophy, or status, there is a lot being communicated without words that contradicts what the words in class often preached!

I don’t care who you want to be or who you think you should be like, I care about you being honest and accurate with who you are right now. If you’re competitive, then great, embrace that, work with that, and don’t feel guilty about it.

Now, with that said, again there are healthy and unhealthy ways to express your competitiveness. The one I’ve talked about that is common in yoga is repression, and like anything that deals with ‘interiors' and subjectiveness, it’s complicated, and is never a black & white issue.

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