I went to a pumpkin carving party where two of my friends had teemed up with one pumpkin and a very complicated pattern that they were super excited about. When I asked them how it was going, one said “If this is a competition, we’re winning!” It wasn’t a competition but we let them win anyway.
There was a woman in Bikram who was also determined to win the nonexistent competition in class today. She got into each pose before anyone else, fell out of each one just seconds into it and finished each pose before anyone else. She also drank more water, breathed more heavily and had to take more breaks than anyone. I wanted to tell her she won just so she would calm down.
But I get it. I’m competitive and I too want to win even if it’s not a competition. I hear the instructor say “It’s not about Perfect. It’s about personal.” And I say “bah! Of course it’s about ‘perfect!’ And of course I’m going to get it!” It’s very hard for me to get the yoga part of Bikram yoga. I think Bikram and I would get along fine because I assume he’s a finger pointer and a whip cracker, which just makes me want to do better.
But the yoga part, the Breathe and Be and Let Go part? Yeah, I have fundamental trouble with that. So I’m working on “Tom Sawyering” myself. I say that I already won when I walked in the door. Just getting to the studio is a win.
And when if I still want a curvier half moon, a steadier tree and a more perfect sit-up than anyone in the class I remind myself that even if get those things, I still haven’t won because I’m kind of missing the point of being at yoga.
Sometimes that helps. And sometimes I still want to win so I go play Words with Friends.