How to Quell the Competition in Yoga

Anybody else get really competitive in yoga? Let’s put aside, for a moment, the principles of yoga that revolve around being inwardly focused. Let’s get real. I want to know if I’m better than the person next to me doing a head stand.

I can barely focus because I’m always looking at the person next to, in front of, behind me. Are my arms as straight as their’s? Can I stretch farther than they can? Do I look like that, in a back bend?

These are just a few questions that run through my consciousness, when I’m supposed to be clearing my mind, finding rhythm in my breath. Can anyone else  identify with me here? This has been an ongoing struggle for me, since I’ve gotten back into yoga after a seven year hiatus.

Not only do I measure up the people around me, but I have a hard time keeping my gaze on my focal point (in balance poses) when the person in front of me is hopping around like this is hop scotch. All I want to yell is, “Grab a wall people!” Not only am I doing everything I can not to fall down, I’m trying to not get angry at the person in front of me for being so inconsiderate for ruining my practice.

And then I remember, this is what yoga is all about: accepting people, accepting ourselves, focusing on ourselves and tuning the world out through our breath. Every time someone bothers me, I just bring it back to myself. What can I learn from this? When someone walks in late and slams the door. How can I be patient and understanding? When someone kicks me in the head with her foot repeatedly while getting into and out of down dog (no joke). Can I be proud of her for coming to yoga because she could benefit from some body awareness?

Although yoga may only be a form of physical exercise for some, I exert a lot more mental and emotional energy in my practice. I am a high speed processor. My analytical mind is one of my greatest strengths, but it is such an inhibitor in yoga! I have a very difficult time quieting my mind, so I’ve listed a few tips.

  1. Pick a spot at the front of the room: I found that I have a much harder time being distracted by someone who is behind me, so I always pick the closest spot to the instructor.
  2. Close your eyes: Even in the very front of the room, many poses still leave me vulnerable to distractions, such as warrior II, side angle pose, side plank. I’ve learned to close my eyes for as much as possible.
  3. Breathe: With my eyes closed, I am able to focus on linking my breath with my movements. When I am connected to my body in such a way, my mind can empty and rest.

These are my tips for quelling the inner competitor while at yoga. Comment below and let me know what you struggle with in yoga class and how you handle it.

Published by Jacqueline Pinchuk

♡ Enjoying life, one story at a time ♡ Wife to a gentle giant. Mama of four. Storyteller by trade ♡ Follow my blog to be a part of the adventure!

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