The Real Essence of Yoga

I  have a confession to make, I am competitive – quietly but quite fiercly competitive. the real essense of yoga|YOME-FREE VIDEOS

Just ask my youngest nephew who has on two occasions thrown in the towel whilst enduring a game of ‘junior’ monopoly with me – presumably out of sheer frustration that his usually fun and slightly kooky aunty has turned into ‘atila the hun’.

The person I am most competitive with though is actually myself and add to the mix a distinct touch of judgment that I am never quite good enough and you get a nasty combination.

I have worked on it over the years of course and am certainly better than I was. When I first took up yoga I was the one who stood at the back of the class not to hide but so that I could check everybody else out and then judge myself against them. In my eyes I was never as good as anyone else.

Thankfully learning more about the spiritual side of yoga helped calm and tame my competitive and judgmental streak and now my time on the mat is for me and me alone. No comparisons, no goals to meet, no postures to aspire to. Just me, my mat and whatever my body is capable of in that moment.

Today whilst out running I had the realisation that I need to take the same approach with me when I take to the trails and roads. Running along this morning through beautiful countryside with the sun shining down and listening to my favourite music I suddenly found myself in critic mode. That little voice in my head was having a whale of a time:


‘You’re not doing enough mileage’


‘You’re not running fast enough’


‘You’re not running often enough’


The last one in particular made me laugh as I have been out every day this week! Maybe it was that one that made me realise what I was doing. The sane part of me finally caught up and said – ‘hold on a minute’…….

I need to apply what I have learned in my yoga practice to my running. I am doing enough mileage, I am running at just the right speed for me and I am putting in the hours.

Yoga teaches us that everything is as it needs to be right here and right now and its a philosophy that we can apply to all areas of our lives.

Life will give us whatever it is we need to learn and grow and it is simply our job to accept, surrender and move forward.

So, tomorrow on my run I will practice the real essence of yoga that can be attained in everything that we do – the quieting of the mind.



Helen Hooper