The practice of Yoga has many ways of healing the body, increasing flexibility, strength, and breathing capacity. It’s widely recommended as part of a physical therapy, to condition the physical body, calm the mind and give peace to your spirit. However, what happens when you are practicing Yoga in a room with a group of competitive, average everyday westerner? Sometimes that defeats the purpose of practicing Yoga. If you are looking at other students and what they are doing, you’re not concentrating on your own body and spirit. Type A personalities can make a Yoga session less enjoyable by fretting over the good pose the person next to you is doing, or telling yourself you can probably do that pose a little better if you force your body a little more.
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This is not the intent of practicing Yoga and can actually hurt you instead of help. It’s not about trying to outdo the other guy, or making your Asana pose better than the girl in the front row. You are not competing when you are practicing Yoga. You aren’t even competing with yourself. Yoga sessions will be different every time you practice. It isn’t a big deal if you aren’t as flexible today as you were yesterday, or that pose you practiced for hours just won’t fall into place. Your body is different every day, sometimes you gain a few steps, and often you feel like you’ve fallen back a step or two. It’s all right, don’t let it become a tragedy or keep you from working your Yoga program. The focus is how your body feels right now, not yesterday or how it will feel tomorrow but how it’s feeling at this very moment. You can listen to your body, it will tell you how far it wants to go and how much it wants to do today. If you are trying to outdo someone else, or show off your magnificent Yoga postures, you are defeating the very purpose of Yoga. Yoga is getting away from the competitive nature of today’s world. It’s supposed to allow you to feel your inner strength and appreciate where your body is right now. Don’t be in a pose just willing it to be over so you can check your emails or get on with your busy day.
If you have a competitive spirit, it’s closely related to impatience. Perhaps your Yoga instructor wants to stay in a pose for an extra few minutes. They want you to explore the pose, examine your breathing, and trying to perfect the pose, you are working on. Yoga is meant to be an active exercise both of your body and mind. Maybe the pose is uncomfortable, stop for a minute, and analyze why it’s causing you to be impatient to get it over with. Maybe just a subtle change in your position can help you focus better and relax into the posture. Check your breathing; are you actively working on taking deep breaths and exhaling deeply to rid your body of toxins?
If you are actively working on a posture, time goes by a lot faster and you will enjoy your session much more.