Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Winning Isn't Everything

Anyone subscribe to DailyOM? I get daily emails. I try to read them all but I must admit that there are times they just get the delete button. Today was not one of those days. Today's DailyOM was about competing with yourself which hit home with me.

Since day 1 of my yoga practice, it was always in the back of my head to get better. Because of my size, I always believed that I have to work harder at perfecting poses and kicking it's ass to show the skinny folks that I can do this. It's stupid, stupid, stupid. Skinny folk don't care about me but it's hard to shake it. I have injured myself a couple of times as a result. My good friend and owner of the studio I go to thinks I'm crazy. She hates when I talk fat because she always tells me that I'm not fat and I always tell her that it's not gonna work, I still think it and feel it. Some people would think I'm fine, others would consider me overweight, it depends on who you ask.

There are many reasons we strive to outdo ourselves. When we are ambitious in our quest for growth, we are driven to set and meet our own expectations. We do not look to external experiences of winning and losing to define our sense of self-worth. Rather, we are our own judges and coaches, monitoring our progress and gauging how successful we have become. Though we seek the thrill of accomplishment tirelessly, we do so out of a legitimate need to improve the world or to pave the way for those who will follow in our footsteps. Be careful, though, that your competitiveness is not the result of an unconscious need to show others that you are capable of meeting and then exceeding their standards.

BAM!!! Hence my serious competitive nature in yoga. I'm not necessarily competing with the person next to me so don't worry, I'm not watching you during class to see how well you're doing a pose, that's just creepy. I'm competing with my "inner judge". Now this isn't always a bad thing, I don't want to just settle and practice half-ass either. I seek the feeling I feel when I finally held Bakasana for a couple of breaths, the first time I did a handstand, the first time clasp my hands in a bind, it is such a wonderful feeling. I do focus on me when I practice which is good, I just need to not be so hard on myself when I have an off day.

10 comments:

Health Bites said...

I can definitely relate to this post because I am always the "larger" girl in most of my classes too. It's funny how it can mess with your head. But yeah, I think you can't really help but focus on yourself in a class and be extra tough with yourself too.

I look forward to that feeling of elation as well when I "get" a pose finally. It is a pretty amazing feeling but then so is the journey. No matter what class I've had, that feeling right after is awesome and I still feel good for going to the class. Even if I fell flat on my face and have a little whinge :-)

The inner critic is definitely a hard one to tame some days. I wish I could tell it to shut up. Meditation seems to help.

yogaglamgirl said...

I like the emails from DailyOm. I must admit, I usually delete the oms and just read the horoscopes. I've learned to accept myself a lot more knowing that I'm an Aries and extremely competitive by nature. So I really hear you on these points. I think the first step is getting to know our true selves...and watching...notice what comes up (competitiveness, fear, self-criticism, whatever) and be willing to observe rather than be consumed. My sitting (Zazen) practice helps a lot here too.

Yogamum said...

Just that you are aware of this aspect of yourself shows that the yoga is working!

As a bigger person (I'm pretty average, but not for a yogini), I can totally relate.

Regina Clare Jane said...

I do this a lot, too, Marilyn. For me, it's as you say, competing with that inner judge of mine. It's a double-edge sword, really. I think you need a bit of that spirit within to not get lazy, but it will be nice when I can turn that judge into a friend and I can accept myself for who I am- perfect- no matter what!

bonnie said...

Two things

Firstly OMG yoga and cupcakes, two of my favorite things in the world

Secondly would you consider yourself a naturally flexable person or a naturally stiff person.

Cupcakes & Yoga said...

Thanks Bonnie! And to answer your question, I think overall I consider myself to be naturally flexible but stiff in some areas like my hamstrings and parts of my shoulders.

danielle said...

Hello. I enjoy your blog. I think I linked up through yoga glam girl...
after reading you post about competing made me realize I do the same thing. I will keep it in mind tommorow morning when I practice.

Nadine Fawell said...

Honey, we all have these moments. In fact, I think yoga practice sometimes brings them more to the surface - maybe so we can deal with them? I am a yoga teacher, and sometimes I feel like I just don't fit the yoga journal mold. My students don't seem to care, though. Just me...

Karen Beth said...

I love DailyOM and often re-post them for my non-subscriber friends on my MySpace page. They are so inspirational!

I remember this one that you referenced. I loved it as well. :)

Taraesque said...

Ahh, I know exactly what type of "competition" you're referring to. I often think to myself, "I could have held that pose longer" or "my alignment needs improvement." But I honestly think being in competition with yourself is helpful in these circumstances, because it does push you to improve upon your practice. Just as long as you don't obsess over an idea of "perfection" that may be unattainable for the level you're at, I think it's pretty normal to feel that way.