There is so much yoga in the world these days, in so many forms.
Teacher training courses, studios, companies, gyms, yoga clothing manufacturers, yogis themselves as businesses. ‘Letting go of the ego’ is almost the mantra of yoga, but within modern day yoga we have ironically created a ‘yoga culture’ of competition, without even realizing it.
It seems very ironic that this age-old tradition which prides itself on letting go of an ego, and having a non-competitive drive to it has become just the opposite.
It is capitalism versus traditional yoga philosophy.
The business of yoga
It is important to acknowledge that as yoga teachers running a business we have to support ourselves in order to survive and do what we love.
Realistically we are going to have to be a tad un-yogic a some point in order to do this. Even the most genuine and authentic yogis have to work the business side of yoga to their advantage sometimes, which can send us right back to smack-bang in the middle of an ego-fest.
However, not everyone is in yoga for the money, business, marketing or what-not.
Some just practice yoga, but studios and classes can only exist if they have a constant customer/client interest. And due to this there will always be competition, even if it is an unspoken competition. Competition comes in many forms, whether it be a teacher with an empty class versus the teacher next door with a jam-packed studio.
Or a local studio being put out of business by the big yoga corporation, or even a student who can’t master a pose versus the pretzel on the mat next to them.
Competition is everywhere…but how can we get rid of this?
Steps toward ‘non-competitive’ yoga
Well, firstly, many people still claim that yoga is so ‘non-competitive’ that there is no judgement, no jealousy and no animosity between any yogis.
This is rubbish.
If you think this you are basically in denial. It is what it should be of course, but currently it certainly is not. Ignoring that there is an ego in yoga only makes it worse, it can encourage a self-created ego if we cannot see past ourselves to the issues we have created. Acknowledging the truth is the first step.
We all struggle with inadequacy, not only in yoga but in everyday life. It’s a familiar feeling.
Feeling inferior to others isn’t great, but it’s common so let’s just lay that out right now. A blindingly obvious answer would be to just not indulge yourself with this. Acknowledge the feeling, then understand everyone’s journey is different. Some take a long time to develop (and can be extremely frustrating), but are they not more rewarding when you get there?
Stick to being you.
Why would you want to be anyone else? Don’t hold a grudge or harbor jealous feelings because someone else can do something better than you or has something more than you, their thing is their thing, and yours is yours.
Yes, this is easy to say.
I know I can ramble on about this and you’re probably thinking ‘easier said than done!’
It IS difficult to abandon envious feelings, but the way to do this is to simply wish people well. Your success or failure has nothing to do with theirs. We can all be successful and get what we want, there is plenty of yoga in the world, and enough to go around.
Encourage others as well as yourself to succeed and survive – lift others up and hope for the best for them, then we may finally be able to (even slightly) eliminate the competition in yoga.
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