Competing over Yoga?

Francesca Silva

competitive-yoga.JPGRemember when I told you a while ago about a friend of mine who’d become totally hooked on yoga and wanted to take some classes with me?

Well, we finally took our first class this week and – wow! Talk about competitive! I’d never seen that side of my friend before and couldn’t decide whether I was amused or irritated!

It started out fine, with our instructor taking us through our warm-up and leading us into yoga stretches and poses. Although I struggled with some poses, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the alignment of my body had improved considerably from my first series of classes. I noticed that the instructor corrected quite a few of my friend’s poses, but that was not unusual since my friend was a “newbie” to yoga. It didn’t even occur to me that my friend would be upset about it.

Was I ever wrong!

I think it was the tree pose that pushed her over the edge. For some unfathomable reason, when I try the tree pose on my own at home, I fall over most of the time. But when I’m in class, I can often execute the perfect tree pose – who knows why? Well, my friend just couldn’t do it. Try as she might – and she tried valiantly several times – she just couldn’t do the tree pose. I don’t think it helped that she kept getting more and more frustrated every time she didn’t succeed. And when she saw me doing it with what she thought was apparent ease (little did she know), she went into an almighty funk! I couldn’t believe how mad she was at me!

Well,” she huffed. “You’ve been doing yoga for much longer than I have so you’re way ahead of me.” I shrugged off her comment with a smile and continued with my yoga practice, thinking she was just getting her frustrations out. But when she continued to grumble and mutter about me under her breath, I started to get irritated.

That ruined the class for both of us.

Not being one to let things slide, I asked her what the problem was as we were leaving the class. She said she thought she’d been “set up” because I had chosen a class that was easy for me but hard for her. I pointed out that we had selected the class and instructor together – and reminded her that it was a beginner’s class. I also said I didn’t appreciate her nonsense and thought perhaps it would be better for our friendship if we didn’t continue to take classes together.

After a few minutes of mutual silence, my friend – to her credit – apologized to me and admitted that she shouldn’t have taken out her frustrations on me. “Let’s try one more time, okay?” was her request. “Okay – deal. But if you start complaining about me again, I’ll put a muzzle on you” was my not-so-diplomatic response!

We had a chuckle over that but it’s going to be interesting to see how the next few sessions go. I’m really very fond of my friend, so hopefully we’ll still be talking to each other by the time the classes end![tags]competition, frustration, irritated, friendship, first yoga class, tree pose[/tags]

4 Responses to “Competing over Yoga?”

  1. Allistair says:

    Whew! I suspect you handled that far more gracefully than I would have. It sounds like your friend has missed one of the fundamental aspects of yoga practice… Good on ya for agreeing to try a second class. I hope it doesn’t end up being one of those “fool me twice” sorts of situations though. Good luck!

  2. Francesca says:

    Hi Allistair,

    Well, my friend and I are still taking classes together and so far it’s been okay ~ not great but okay. She still gets frustrated at me sometimes but I turn my “evil eye” on her and we end up grinning at each other! Still, the tension that I sometimes feel emanating from her makes it quite hard to focus on the calming effects of yoga.

    Next time, I’m on my own…


  3. Yoganow Malaysia says:

    Yoga and Competition are just two words you can’t use together in the same sentence. – Ooops!
    I tell my students not even to compete with themselves, much less with other students.

  4. francesca says:

    Thanks for your comment. What a great idea to remind your students not to compete with themselves or other students. That’s given me the idea to have a quiet word in the ear of my instructor prior to the class, asking her to remind us of the same. Hopefully, my friend will pick up on that.


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