The practice of yoga is a constant journey and evolution. This blog is about experiencing and learning through the journey. There are countless opportunities for discovery, challenge, enjoyment and comic relief. It’s a journey that will never end, always a Yogini in Progress. Enjoy the journey!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What, No Medals?!?!?!

I am a very competitive person. Throughout my life, I’ve participated in a variety of sports; gymnastics, swimming, diving, soccer, dance team, softball, track, golf, karate and others. I like to do well and I love to win. This desire is not confined to the sporting world. At work, at play, whatever the pursuit, I like to excel. And, I know I’m not alone.

How does this relate to yoga? Like many people I originally approached yoga as a purely physical pursuit. It was a great way to exercise, stay fit and provide balance to an otherwise intense physical routine. I would regularly go to class and treat my practice as a competition with everyone in the room. My focus was on my performance compared to theirs. If a practitioner “did better” than I did on the mat, it was a reminder that I needed to try harder, push further and compete more. Regardless of where I should be practicing, I would many times take it too far based on my fellow competitors, I mean practitioners.

It took me many years to realize that the physical expression of asana was only one part of yoga and really no place for competition. A couple of years ago I had an “aha!” moment. The softening of motherhood, the reminders to “check your ego at the door”, and a better understand of the beauty of yoga being more than just a physical practice created this epiphany.

I turned my focus inward. What did my mind and spirit need, want, and yearn for? Not just my body. What was available to me based on my emotions, energy and physical ability? How was I servicing my whole self? When I stopped competing and started experiencing, my practice grew by leaps and bounds. Personal understanding, openness to meditation and harmony of mind, body and spirit replaced the need or desire to win. I was really able to appreciate the other yogis and their practice.

When I see another’s asana practice that is “better” than mine, I am still intrigued. But, now I can approach it, not as a competitive challenge, but with appreciation for their practice, their expression, their journey and their yoga.

How have you taken competition out of your practice? What is one of your “aha!” moments?


  1. This "aha" moment of letting go of the sense of competition came to me after watching Paul Grilley's DVD on anatomy - especially his discussion on proportion and how it impacts whether an asana is right for a person. I realized that not every pose is appropriate for every person, and every person's expression of the asana will be different... which makes yoga so fascinating! Aside from that, I think the yoga practice (physical and spiritual) is such a respite from the competitiveness of the "work" world.

  2. I absolutely loved Paul Grilley's DVD also. It really made a lot of sense and changed how I approached teaching and my own practice. It was so enlightening, but should have been so obvious. It had a great way of breaking the info down and presenting it.