To Compete or Not to Compete? That is the Yogi’s Question…

About a month ago I decided to enter into the Regional Yoga Asana Championships.  This is something I’ve been avoiding and resisting for the past couple of years.  Two years ago I was heading to teacher training and didn’t want to push my left leg too hard before I headed out to L.A for 9 intense weeks of yoga.  A reasonable excuse, right?  And then last year the competition was moved from Chicagoland to way out in Indiana and I just decided I would wait until it headed back closer to home.

But then it was revealed that this year it was once again going to take place in Indiana.

This made me evaluate why I should and why I would want to compete.  The “should” of it all is easy.  It scares the living daylights out of me.  Now this might come as somewhat of a surprise to hear from an individual that has spent their entire life in front of people on stage and on the podium.  But at a yoga competition you are completely vulnerable.  I cannot save myself by panning to the audience or cracking a quick joke.  The judges are not going to care about anything but the form and grace of the postures.  It will just be me, in a leotard, doing yoga postures, on a stage.

And because of this I know I have to do it.  You have to go after things that scare you a bit.  No one wants to look back on their life and see the list of things they should have done or the risks they could have taken instead of the things they actually went through and lived to tell about it.

For those of you unfamiliar with yoga competitions I’ll give you a quick run down.  The requirements for the Asana Championships, is to perform 7 postures within 3 minutes.  These postures include, Standing Head to Knee Pose, Standing Bow Pulling Pose, Bow Pose, Rabbit Pose, and Stretching Pose with the competitor choosing 2 additional postures from the Advanced Series.

Now this leads us to discussing the “why I would ” of it all.  And honestly I didn’t really understand this bit of it until I had made the decision to compete and started training.  I was like most of the world in thinking that competition and yoga just don’t mix or make any sense.  But over the past month I have become completely honest with myself about the bad habits I have developed in my practice over the years and I have stepped up the intensity level of my strength training and my backward bending, taking countless walks up and down the wall.  Just as a runner deciding to do their first marathon then has to train to increase their mileage, as well as, their stamina, I am training to have increased focus and consistent balance.  I have found you train for competition to get rid of the excuses, push your limits, and revive your practice.

I’m not looking to win, or to even come close, that’s not what yoga competitions are about.  For me it’s going to be a demonstration of where my practice is on that given day and a nod to where I want to take my practice in the future.  But I am looking to win in my heart, knowing that I did my best when I compete at the end of January.

Now I’m not saying that yoga competitions are for everyone, but I do hope that if there is something that you’ve always wanted to do or experience within your lifetime, even if it scares you, that you go after it.  What you may be resisting could open the door to people and places you never even dreamed of and become the adventure you’ve been longing for.  In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Have your ever done something that scares you?  Is there something you’re resisting because you don’t want to be vulnerable?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy reading:

Taking Your Practice Off the Mat

Let Your Truth Be Bold

The Plague of the “Happy Whens”

5 thoughts on “To Compete or Not to Compete? That is the Yogi’s Question…

  1. Tori, no matter what your body gives you on the day of the competition, your going to do awsome beacause “your unstoppable”!

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