What I love about yoga is how non-competitive it is. The only person I’m really competing against is myself. That’s because it’s not a sport, it’s a practice, something you do habitually and eventually improve on.
In an overly competitive world, people may have the tendency to impose a competitive spirit onto yoga and think that being the most flexible in class is something to value. Let me tell ya — it’s not.
But even when it’s just You versus You, it’s easy to fall into being too hard on yourself mentally and physically. Suddenly your expectations are higher and you push yourself harder — maybe even too hard, leaving you vulnerable to anxiety and injury.
To stay level-headed just remember:
Get to know yourself. Competing against yourself is a valuable opportunity to learn more about your abilities and limitations, not so much that you can show off what you can do and shut down what you can’t, but so that you can grow in attitude and spirit as you adjust to these limitations.
Be kind to yourself. Ease off any poses that feel particularly strenuous, even if they usually don’t. Just because you can touch the floor in forward fold one day, but can’t today, it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Take child’s pose or use a few props for help. There is no gain to pain in yoga. Just a whole lotta ouch.
Enjoy yourself! It’s not all hard work. You were drawn to Mixx Yoga for a reason and I’d like to think it’s because we’re fun (in addition to giving you a good butt-kicking). Cultivate humor about what challenges you. Make friends in class and at our community events. Just lighten up a little, eh?