I am a competitive person. It is true. I admit it.
I believe it all began with toddler Misha. One day while watching her older brother do something that she probably could not master yet due to a sheer lack of motor skills and then subsequently felt left out. I like to believe that Misha set her mind that day that she would NEVER be left out again and would not only learn to do that thing NOW but would learn to do it better so that their roles could be reversed *(insert quiet evil plotting laughter here).
Thus began the long list of perpetual childhood injuries. Ask my mother, Misha spent a lot of time in the ER….. Thankfully through all the bloody scrapes and sprains there were no broken bones and eventually Misha learned that beating her older brother in a straight up test of physical skill was unlikely to be something she could do. It was that whole motor skill thing again.
As Misha faded, I got crafty and found ways of indirectly challenging him and anyone else. For example, if older brother entered a Kids of Steel triathlon, well then I entered the next one with him and placed higher in her category than he did. It was all about finding the races where there were guaranteed to only be a few other girls in my age category. Races that were colder and further away from civilization were the ticket. Older brother was pretty skinny those days and I, well had some extra padding, so I would fare better in an ice-breaker lake swim than he would. The other nine year old girls would be dropping like flies from hypothermia and I would continue stubbornly trucking along to my silver medal just for being the last to actually cross the finish line. Older brother never liked it when I would decide we were doing those races.
However, I like to believe that I have gotten smarter, and less vindictive, in my chosen competitions since that time. When I was focused on beating my brother at his game, I should have been focused on the challenges where I actually enjoyed the process as well as the end goal. After all, I never really enjoyed racing, I just liked the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction from doing something I wasn’t sure I could. Finishing the challenge was the good part (okay fine, winning was also good, but focusing on that leads to madness).
Eventually I focused on rugby and then weight throw as my primary physical challenges. At least those were sports where my larger than average size and strength were useful, and I could win even without having to count on the helping hand of hypothermia. Best of all, I enjoyed the process. I loved everything about rugby, especially the people. I made a lot of friends in rugby through a mutual respect for each others dedication to their personal challenges (whether those challenges were on the pitch or in the pub afterwards). The same can be said for weight throw where I found one person in particular who inspires me daily to find new goals and conquer them, my husband.
In recent months though I have noticed I seem to be lacking focus on my goals for the first time, and the problem appears to be mostly one of having too many on the go at one time and the continuous inspiration to start on new ones. I am so easily distracted that it is becoming a bit of a issue to get any one thing done well. So I have decided to set myself another, newer, shinier goal that hopefully will help me set some more perspective on everything else at the same time. In true Misha fashion it is a physical challenge, but this time I am only competing again myself and my ability to focus and schedule my time accordingly.
I have signed up for the Moksha Yoga 30 day challenge.
That’s right, 30 consecutive days of hot yoga, starting today. Now things haven’t started off that well with the teacher for the 6:30 am class not showing up this morning, but I am not going to let that deter me from starting out on the right foot. By 7 am I had already signed up again for the 5 pm class.
Now I have been doing hot yoga intermittently for the last seven years or so with typically a class or two a week for a while and then long breaks between the next set of classes. I love the mental calm that comes from focusing on one thing (me) for an hour. I love the way my body feels after class, like it has been put through a wringer and survived, albeit now 10 lbs of sweat lighter. However, this is going to be a challenge for me to stick with it to the end given my recent streak of half finished running programs and beautifully planned weight lifting plans that are never started. Those were things that I was going to have to do mostly on my own, and truthfully the lack of accountability did me in. I don’t enjoy either activity most of the time so I wasn’t that invested in either and with no one around to see me give up, I did. Yoga though I am starting to find has a social side even if the class is spent in silence for everyone other than the teacher. There is someone at the desk to say hi to as they check off your attendance on the computer and on the giant poster on the wall for the duration of the challenge. I know that I’m not competing with anyone else at this, but I am competing with my inner lazy and that is a battle that will need Misha levels of stubborn to overcome.
The public tracking poster will also help.
If Misha’s stubbornness and joy at doing something hard aren’t enough to get me through this, I’m pretty sure that my grown up ego will be. The goal is serenity and quiet accomplishment and the path to get there will probably be ego filled.
This is competitive yoga.