Posted on: June 5, 2012

People talk about how competitive drive, or  bit of adrenaline can push them to do astounding things: lift a car off of a child, shave minutes upon minutes off of  a race time with little training, or score an ‘A’ on an essay or test that they prepped with failing effort. I cannot relate to any such experiences. The effort I put into a task almost always matches the outcome. I don’t have an insane competitive drive and have convinced myself that I have an below-average amount of adrenaline in my body; however, I have a drive within myself to always be better than I was the previous day. This past weekend, I learned that sometimes, just as competition with others can be detrimental to one’s grasp on personal truths, so can competition with oneself.

Fitness certifications have become sort of routine “continuing education” ordeal for me. I don’t necessarily plan to attend grad-school, so I see specialized fitness training as way to make myself more marketable, experienced, and well-rounded in the area of health. I have practiced and loved yoga for the past three of four years, so it only made sense that I checked a yoga training off on my list next.

Friday, I ventured back to Purdue (and how sweet it was tor return for a bit) and headed to a YogaFit level 1 training on Saturday morning at 8 am. Throughout the weekend, the master trainer, Macy, with her continuous smile and sweet-as-honey tone, lead the group of twenty or so trainees through 3 YogaFit classes, several hours of pose-perfecting, and discussions on everything yoga. One concept vital to yoga, that really resinated with me was letting go of competition. I get a bazillion emails on fitness each day and I have often read yoga related articles that suggest yogis not compare themselves to anyone else in their yoga class (i.e. who cares if Suzy can last one more deep inhalation in eagle pose than you or Joe has his leg an inch higher in standing splits than you?). As I stated earlier, I am not very competitive and don’t particularly care to match skills to or surpass the skills of anyone else; however, my need to beat myself sometimes clouds my own acceptance of the truth.

As I search for ways to better my personality, energy, smarts, etc. I do a lot of reading, internet surfing, and in-person brain-picking . These are all great activities to do and I do not discourage anyone from trying to expand their own knowledge of anything. But sometimes I overwhelm myself. I accept everything written as the truth as an actual truth and believe that I must accept it as mine. open-mindedness adds to my vulnerability. For example, I may read an article on how interval training is the best type of training for fitness improvement, and then one on how 20-minutes of meditation a day improves brain function, and then one on how taking your running to the next level means running longer races than you previously have. Pretty soon I am doing a 40 minute Insanity DVD, doing meditative yoga, and running 10 miles all in one day to the point of exhaustion and improductivity (guilty as charged). I also read a lot about nutrition and accept nearly everything as the truth consequentially driving myself nuts about what I think is an acceptable food to be consuming. This sometimes drives me to point of catapulting to the other extreme of not knowing what to eat, so I just eat everything. I am, we are, a work in progress. Expanding knowledge is a part of that, but allowing yourself to find your own truths and adhere to them is an important component of living for what you believe and not for competition.


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