Competitiveness implies a strong desire to be more successful than others. To disregard competition would be unhealthy. I believe there would be no progress in the world, as we know it, without competition.
One huge difference to a lot of other physical practices is that yoga is not about competition.
Comparing with others and competing is NOT Yoga. Yoga is being with you: stay with yourself, observing your present state of mind and body and discover the asana going as deep as your body (and mind) permits. There’s no need to compete, not with your classmates – and not with yourself. You are just as perfect as you already are – in your uniqueness. And that’s something we should tell us every day.
We live in a competitive world, we are taught we need to compete to survive and to thrive, from school grades to getting that perfect job. Without some competitiveness, we probably wouldn’t progress. But too much competitiveness is not good for anyone.
If you find yourself noticing your competitive nature in yoga don’t be too hard on yourself. Yoga is a safe place to notice these things about ourselves and it is perfectly natural that you should feel some level of ambition within yourself. Notice it but don’t feed it.
Way too many people feel intimidated when thinking about trying a yoga class. ”I am not that flexible” or ”I am terrible at that” is what I often hear. going through social media and see all those crazy, pretzel bendy yogis out there, I can see why people get intimidated.
Working towards getting stronger, getting a bit more flexible, more mobile, are healthy goals. But when a certain pose becomes a #goal, that is anything but yoga. Most of our lives are already filled with “goals,” and these can be huge causes of anxiety. Why bring that stress to the yoga mat by creating arbitrary goals for ourselves, inspired by someone else’s practice?
Stay true to yourself. Make your practice about yourself. Remember you are unique and so is your practice. And being able to do a handstand or a deep backbend doesn’t make you a yogi, and certainly not an advanced one.
On the mat, I choose to compete with no one, not even with myself. On my day to day life, I choose to work on myself and be the best version of myself, each day, every day. I wouldn’t call it a competition with myself, but rather a progressive transformation from day to day.