You can't compete where you don't compare

Compare and compete: Not in your yoga practice

Can you imagine how radiation treatment of a cancerous tumor affects your energy level? What about the recent death of someone close to you? Can you imagine the limitations and discomfort that constipation or a herniated disc cause? What about neck or hamstring problems, recent surgery, smoking cessation, poor eyesight or hearing impairment, drug addiction, hangover, arthritis, lupus, sprained finger, wrist, ankle, or toe? What about PMS, menstruation, menopause, or the first trimester of pregnancy? What about hemorrhoids, gout, or insomnia? The above conditions are just a tiny sample of the problems and conditions that people around us could and likely have that we cannot see when looking at them. So the fact is that we are all the result of a completely unique story that has influenced us in unique ways.

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In other words, all of our experiences are different, as are our needs. Understanding this underlines how absurd it is to compare and compete with one another. I really can't think of many other ways of disrespecting ourselves other than comparing and competing with others. Wherever we find a high level of competition, we also find a great deal of corruption, stress, illness and injury. We live in a time with a lot of competition. We made up words to amuse ourselves with our competition, like “treadmill” and “keep up with the millers”. The only ironic thing is that the Müllers want to keep up with the Schmidts and the Schmidts with the Meyers and the Meyers with the Schneider and the reason for this is that the Müllers suffer from the same illness, that they are not good enough like them are. So they always try to be better, which in our society means having more, but which never seems to work because these things can never help us to love ourselves and to accept ourselves just as we are, which is the only one Seems to be gone, to be permanently content and happy.

How muscles restrict freedom of movement

I have two different stories that I would like to share with you in order to emphasize the personal character of a yoga practice. The first story is about a highly respected bodybuilder who was in one of my classes years ago. The guy was about to have biceps bigger than his head. When the class was in the looking down dog, this guy's arms started shaking badly. He seemed amazed that he was getting tired so quickly and that the girl next to him could hold the pose easily and comfortably. He then had to get out of the pose as his arms almost collapsed. As he sat on his knees and rested, he looked around the room and saw that anyone could hold the pose with no problem. What this bodybuilder didn't realize was that although he was very strong and probably stronger than the rest of the class, his short, hard, and overdeveloped muscles were restricting his range of motion and he needed more energy to stretch his joints, which led to this that he tired more quickly.

What comparisons in yoga practice lead to:

The other story is about an overactive young woman who came to my classes regularly. She always took great pride in being the most agile in the class. You can get this title of the most agile if you compare yourself to others. So she lacked a deeper understanding of yoga. One day we did a seated bent over during the lesson. As this girl looked around the room, she noticed that the girl next to her could pose more deeply than she could. Although she could touch her legs with her head in this exercise, the other girl's forehead rested on their large ones Toes. That looked a lot deeper. At this point the flexible girl started desperately to get her head to her feet, which she couldn't and you could see the frustration on her face. What her competing and distracted mind didn't realize was that she was probably more agile than the girl next to her, who seemed to be deeper in the pose. It's just that the girl next to her had short legs and a long torso, which made it easier for her to touch her feet. She, in turn, had long legs and a short torso; she would never be able to do it (without serious injuries), even if she was the more agile of the two.

The moral of these stories is to show that the shape of the body has a huge impact on how we look in poses and no two people (including twins) are the same shape, not to mention diet, emotions, genetic Parentage, injuries, etc. If you understand that, you can understand how absurd it is to compare and compete. It is very irrational when it comes to avoiding injury and creating well-being.

Without competition and comparison:

Comparing and competing doesn't just have to be about others. We can also compare and compete with an image or ideal in our head. Perhaps we are comparing ourselves to past successes or goals that lie in the future. Perhaps we live by a program that has been implanted in us by family, friends, society, coaches, teachers, and the media. We are always told how we should look, how we should behave and what we should achieve. All of this is a preservation of the great disease of imbalance, a great void that we are expanding and trying to fill with our successes - at the expense of our health, relationships and the environment. If we achieve our ideals and goals, we are certainly satisfied, but it doesn't take long before we want something else and the cycle starts all over again. If we do not achieve our goal or the goal of our program, new stress, anger, depression, despair etc. develop.

Don't compete with yourself:

In my experience we are all unique and the circumstances of our being lead us in the direction of finding our special characteristics that enable us to make a positive contribution to humanity in our own special way. These circumstances also lead to the experiences necessary to grow and develop. Comparing and competing with others or an internal program, which is basically the same thing, can be a huge distraction from the natural process that our being wants to achieve and the experiences we need to grow rather than be something That we were told we need to achieve

There are few things in which we compete more than our fitness and physical strength. These harmful properties then of course also appear in yoga practice, regardless of whether we are competing with the others in the room or with ourselves. So be very careful. Be careful not to fall into these old patterns. If we find ourselves falling into the patterns, smile.

Holger, Bryan and Romana at UNIT Wiesbaden

The smile is so important because we caught ourselves. It is the most important step. Then stop nourishing the habit by bringing your attention back to the breath and healing to your intention by treating yourself gently and with love and care, which is why we do this beautiful physical practice. Be careful not to promote the competing traits that may be expressed in anger, frustration, or disappointment, and that may arise from comparison with the new ideal of less competition. Now you know that comparing and competing are harmful, so our reliance on comparing and competing can manifest itself in the goal of not comparing and competing. Be careful not to fall into this trap. If you really want to compare and compete less, then you have to stop competing with yourself in order to achieve this goal of not comparing and competing.

I have always believed that the only way to judge your development in yoga is by how little you judge the process, or perhaps not judge anything.

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“Our teacher Bryan Kest inspires us with his views on yoga philosophy. We are therefore pleased that he has placed his trust in us and that we can translate his texts and publish them on our blog. "
Romana & Holger Zapf