I taught yoga for five years. One thing I used to tell students was not to focus on the person taking class beside you, but instead to focus inward on yourself. You were your only competition.
Last night, for the first time in over a year, I took class at the studio that I taught in for so long. It wasn’t until I was back in that room that I remembered the ways in which my teaching had evolved with time. At one point, I’d stopped preaching the gospel of “you are your own competition,” and instead encouraged students to treat their bodies with compassion and kindness, to meet themselves exactly where they were at in that very moment— as opposed to practicing to be better for next time.
I walked out of class, sat down in the locker room, and wrote this post: REVELATION: I am not in competition with myself.
I knew that before, but somehow I’d forgotten.
Once, while examining why I was such a perfectionist, I had a startling thought: Because if I was perfect, I would be free— from other people and myself.
There have been a lot of quotes floating around about not worrying what anyone else is doing, because you are your only competition. I even shared one. But I take it back. I think it’ll be a lot more freeing to stop competing with myself. Old me, future me, all of it.
The room where I taught yoga for five years is surrounded by mirrors. It is the backdrop of dozens of “progress” pictures. I have these pictures— with various notes on the diets I was in, my mental state, my weight,— in a special folder on my computer. Some of things I wrote about myself are appalling.
I stopped taking “progress” photos a long time ago. It stopped being helpful for me to constantly focus on the ways in which I’d be better/look better in the future. I have no goal with my body or my performance right now, in #yoga, in #powerlifting, #running— nothing. My goal is to live and be happy, and learn how I can make the world a little bit better for other people.. if I can. If that is possible. These are my true intentions.
I am not in competition with myself. I am not in competition with you.
[Excuse the potato that is this photo. It was taken in a dark room and then brightened]