Challenge Versus Competition in Power Flow

Why we must use the difficulty in practice to challenge ourselves, but not compete. The message is, practice where you are.
Firstly, What is Power Flow Yoga?

Many of you will be familiar with the benefits of Power Yoga, you’re hooked because of how good it makes you feel. But for those of you who are new around here or have never taken a Power Yoga class before, here’s a quick overview.

Power Yoga is modern and it is athletic. The first teachers to establish Power Yoga in the 1980s saw it as a practice where people came for fitness but stayed for the deeper and more mental benefits they received.

Power Yoga stemmed from the tough practice of Ashtanga that was considered not as accessible for all bodies. Power Yoga was about having a practice that could meet people where they were. It was created as a serious workout, not just stretching, and it was aimed at athletes. It became popular because it invited people to the practice who had never considered themselves as Yogis.

Power Yoga Benefits
  • Build strength and stamina
  • Improve flexibility
  • Tone core muscles
  • Boost metabolism
  • Build focus
  • Melt stress and tension
  • Improve self-awareness in mind and body
power yoga
Challenge v Competition

Some things to remember, whether you are a newbie or a long-time practitioner is using the difficulty in the practice to challenge you, not inspire you to compete. It is easy to come into a class and feel competitive watching all the other students and where they are at in the poses. It is also easy to compete with yourself, to push yourself harder than where your body is really ready to go (for example, over stretching your hamstrings because you want to touch your toes will only make your hamstrings tighter). The problems arise when we push ourselves too far and we get injured or so worn out that we become prone to illness or fatigue.  These can be powerful lessons as long as we recognise them and address them and make note of how we are doing what we are doing. Otherwise, we are not doing Yoga.

Practice Where You Are

So, practice where you are. Where you are today will be different to where you were yesterday and where you will be tomorrow. How you practice now, might be different to how you practice in years to come. The practice is accommodating, you can use it to heal yourself and benefit you for what you need in the moment. That could mean a strong fiery practice, it could mean a slower more passive practice. Both have their difficulties, and both are meant to interrupt your normal patterns so that you can grow.

Through all the popularity and hype of Yoga in recent years, it can be nice to come back to what the original teachers were thinking when they set out to share the practice of Power Yoga with their students:

Power Yoga is directed at creating the highest level of energy, vitality, and freedom. The only way to do this is to work with yourself, not against yourself. By working hard sensitively, we create an environment that’s healing and that honours each individual, an environment that respects our boundaries and works within him or her. In this way, we create an atmosphere conducive to natural expansion and growth. We’re not interested in pushing past our edge to get to a place where we’ve been brainwashed into thinking we need to be in order to have happiness!

~Bryan Kest

Yoga is ultimately a journey into truth: truth about who you are, what you are capable of, how your actions affect your life.  Truth is the only medicine that ever “cures” us; it is the only means by which we can live at our full, incredible potential.  

~ Baron Baptiste