Dog Eat Dog Yoga World

No one wants to talk about it.  No one wants to admit it.   It’s deemed “unyogic” to even think such an attitude exists.

Psst…. listen up!  It exists.   I mean I just participated in a yoga contest.  Yes I did.  To win a teaching position at the Wanderlust Yoga and Music Festival.   I didn’t win, but thank you for supporting me.

Let’s face it.  Yoga is competitive.  Oh wait.. let me rephrase that.  We’ve made yoga competitive.   Asana competitions, championships, and possibly the yoga olympics.   I see students competing with themselves.  They  compete with each other on their mats.  Teachers compete for the best teaching spots.  Studios competing for students.  Yoga schools competing to claim their style of yoga is better.   If this doesn’t have competition written all over it, I don’t know what to call it.  Business?

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Yea, if you’re in the business of yoga, you’re in business and when you’re in business, it can be a dog eat dog {yoga} world.  When money, success, fame and fortune are involved, you’re gonna look out for your own best interest first.  All that yoga, zen like, one love idea some how is forgotten for a moment.  It’s the nature of the beast.  Let’s not deny it.  Instead, let’s see.  See where your intentions lie.  Does it make you feel good inside?  Does it harm others?  What would you do differently to create more harmony?

When I entered the Wanderlust teaching contest, I cringed.  I didn’t want to get caught up feeling like it was a high school popularity contest all over again.  I got clear in my intentions.  Did I want to enter soley to win?   It was clear that the thought of entering gave me goosebumps because there was a fear there that I needed to face and an opportunity to practice letting go of some stubborn habits.  Did I want to win?  Of course.  In fact it really got to me on the last day of the contest.  I witnessed my type-A, you could even call it obsessive-compulsive behavior kick in… checking facebook every hour to see how many votes I’ve gotten and checking who hasn’t voted yet.  Should I call them again?  Should I email them again?  Why aren’t they voting?   I was stressing out because at this point, all I wanted to do was WIN!  I was too close to not win.  I came this far and gosh darn-it, I’m gonna win.  At the moment I saw myself, I felt like I was gasping for air.  What was I doing?!  It’s funny how the moment you see yourself, you can make a change.   I remembered my intentions and my blood pressure came back to normal.  I then decided to vote for the other entries.  They were all very inspiring teachers.  I feel grateful to be given the opportunity to “compete.”

I think competition is a natural thing and maybe even healthy to a certain point.  Without competition some of us would never be nudged to grow, new inventions, creations, ways of being would never change and evolve.  However, I believe that as we continue our yoga practice, we begin to see clearly where competition might start to cause harm to ourselves and especially to others.  

So I say, let’s flip  the downward eating dogs over, open our hearts, bend over backwards in the name of serving each other and let go of our fear that some one else is gonna be better than us, get ahead of us, or steal our students away because in the end, we all will end up on the same path, in the same place, at the same time.  Namaste. 

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2 thoughts on “Dog Eat Dog Yoga World

  1. Jim says:

    This is a very cool and painfully honest entry. Bravo for writing it. I just wanted to chime in and say that you never promoted a feeling of competition in your classes. I almost feel selfish saying this, but I never gave a rip what other people were doing on their mats. All I wanted to do was breathe and find my center. You helped us to do that. Thank you, Nikki!

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