Yoga is not a competition

Amber Webster
Written by Amber Webster

It’s not about who has the coolest yoga pants.
It’s not about how many multi-syllabic Sanskrit terms you know.
It’s not about how many hours you put in.
But it is about taking the time to turn up for a class, even if it’s just once a week.

The true purpose of Yoga


Today’s popular culture can sometimes distract us from the true purpose of the yoga concept. It’s not about headstands and being super-flexible, but more about stopping to rest the mind and feed the soul some positivity in our rather hectic and challenging world. Our daily lives are competitive enough, there’s no need to bring that with us to the yoga studio. Practice is like a retreat for the mind; a chance to switch-off, forget life for an hour or so and to find some peace. We use our slogan a lot at the Modern Yoga Co, but it really rings true: “Rest – Relax – Reset”. These three concepts are interlinked and ultimately are co-dependent on each other. Without one, we can’t reach the other.

What Yoga is

Yoga is about accepting and knowing your body and its limitations. It’s not about pushing through pain to get to a difficult position to impress friends or to get the perfect social media photo. Every day is different. Sometimes we’ll be able to balance on one leg perfectly, and the next, not a chance! Our lives and brains change each day and so does our balance. There’s no shame in a wobble!

As a teacher, I know my limitations for instance. My knees are delicate after years of youth tennis and I can’t stretch them out in a Straddle or a Standing Big Toe pose as much as I’d like but I know that I’m helping them by doing light exercise. I’ll show the principle to my class but if I can’t do it on a particular day because I fell the smallest hint of pain, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. I’m proud to listen to my body.

Yoga is not a fashion show. It’s a place to rest and to relax. And we can’t relax if there is an undercurrent of competition. Yoga is about pushing negative energy out of our body, emptying the mind to allow positivity to flow back in and re-setting ourselves so that we can take on the inevitable challenges of life outside of the Yoga studio. But for those moments we are together in class, we are together in solace.

It’s important to us at the Modern Yoga Co. that our classes are tailored to all levels and accessible to all. While we like to bring in new ideas, concepts and poses, our classes are more about resting the mind, stretching the body and soothing the soul. There’s no competition. You’re a winner in our eyes just for turning up and taking some time out for ‘you’.