I don’t go to the gym anymore but when I did there was definitely a feeling of competition coming from fellow members. What happens when we let ourselves become consumed by competition with others, thereby sinking more on the side of comparing ourselves with people around us? Competition and comparison can eventually become synonymous. Strangely, yoga which doesn’t give you a medal of any kind, or have anything resembling a team which can play against another, can end up being an internal competition for ourselves.
Even in a yoga class, which strives to strengthen the person on the inside as well as the outside, you may find yourself watching other students or analysing your instructor. As a student turned teacher, I have caught myself doing both time and time again. Knowing that I have fallen into this pattern while practicing yoga is the signal to making a change. When I catch myself seeking recognition or wishing I could be a little bit bendier, I guide myself back to my mat.
So, why is it important to be non-competitive during our yoga practice? For one thing, we accomplish less when we spend too much time wishing we were something else. The thinking and wishing take away from the process itself. We need to stay in the moment.
Whether we find ourselves wishing we had something more or something less, we can always accomplish more by taking our focus back to our breath and the sensations we are feeling in each moment. We should be inspired by other people’s practice, rather than dejected. Remember that it is natural to compare ourselves to others, but we should try to let those feelings roll off of our backs more often so we can enjoy the moments of our yoga journey more fully.