Competition, Judgement, and Expectations

13 12 2011

At the beginning of each yoga class I ask my fellow yogis to let go of competition, judgement, and expectations.

The competition may be with the person on the mat beside them or the competition could be between their mind and body. The mind’s image of what they think they should be able to do may be different than their body’s ability.  Why do we feel we must force ourselves into a pose, when maybe we need to listen to our bodies and ease into the pose? (I work in a women’s fitness center. Need I say more?)

All of the yogis attending my current classes are women. (The men have not worked up the courage to attend. But, I am working to entice them.) So, I am assuming the yoginis struggle with judgement. We are bombarded with air-brushed photos of celebrities and models in bikinis at every checkout line. Hopefully, we are not judging someone else, but it is likely we are judging ourselves when looking in the mirror. Judgement happens on the yoga mat, also.

My Dancer Pose today.

Why is it one day I can feel like a ballerina in Dancer Pose and the next time I am wobbling and struggling to stay upright? Frustrating. But, maybe I need to consider what I ate the day before. Maybe there is stress at work or with my family. Maybe I need to stop the negative judgemental thinking.


I like changing the flow of poses in the yoga classes. Some parts are predictable, such as one pose following to another or Sun Salutations. But, the progression to a more challenging pose may not be noticed. No expectations, just flowing from one moment to the other. One yogi is challenged by Crow Pose. She is determined to conquer it. I attempt to help her realize the need to practice other poses that will strengthen her body and prepare her for Crow. One day she will conquer Crow. But, not when she expects to conquer Crow.

Yoga is a journey. And that journey can be so enlightening, if, when we step on the mat, we learn to leave competition, judgement, and expectations behind. Then the real magic happens when we leave the mat and take what we have learned about ourselves into our daily lives.





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