Jealousy. Competition. Ego.

You’re an athlete competing for a spot on the provincial/university/local team. You don’t see your name on the lineup and feel the pang of disappointment. Maybe you see another name of someone you thought you were more skilled then and you feel the venom of jealousy.

You’ve been working so hard in your office; showing your determination to exceed expectations and consistently showcasing your impeccable skills at your job. Suddenly you get word that your colleague, someone who maybe doesn’t work as hard as you or hasn’t been with your office as long as you, gets the promotion you have been determined to get. You feel the hit to your ego and the distaste of frustration.

You’re a new yoga teacher, fresh out of teacher training and so excited to take on the world, spreading goodness and your joy of yoga. You go to your first teach out or apply to teach at your favourite local studio and suddenly realize how many other teachers there are applying for the same classes. You are thrown into a pool of yoga competition to have the best voice, the most inspiring practice and the most unique teachings. After just being taught all about compassion, reducing ego and supporting all beings, how do you react to a world full of jealousy, competition and ego?

The first two examples happened to me many times. The success of my athletics and my career were always at the forefront of my mind. But my ego and competitive spirit fuelled my drive to be the best and due to many failures I did make the BC Provincial Volleyball Team and win Canadian Western Nationals, I did make the Acadia University Varsity Volleyball team and become a starter and rookie of the year in my first year, and I did get hired for the marketing career I desired the day after I graduated university with my BBA degree. But was I truly happy on the inside? Not at all. Because I always wanted MORE. As soon as I achieved one goal, I moved onto the next best objective, not even celebrating what I had already achieved. I continued to compete, sometimes competing so hard with my friends that I forgot to support them. I would get jealous of praise they received because I wasn’t receiving it. It was incredibly unhealthy and it left me feeling empty.

That was why when I found yoga it was so nourishing for me. It was the first environment that I had been in that didn’t encourage ego or competition; infact, it discouraged it. Yoga was truly a breath of fresh air.

So after I received my first 200hour yoga teacher training certificate and was a fresh little yogi fish in the big yoga world sea, I was surprised to see the competitive environment of yoga teachers lobbying for classes. Fortunately this time I was prepared with my tool kit of teachings and awareness and was able to recognize the environment and my nature before I succumbed to it. I applied and got classes, celebrating this achievement and feeling humbled for the opportunity. I watched as new teacher friends also got classes, some at the same studios I applied for, and this time instead of brooding with jealousy, I celebrated their success with them!! I was shocked that this even came naturally to me, that it wasn’t an effort to release my competitive nature. It was actually easier on my mind and my health to find love as my first reaction.

So while I still catch myself in life getting caught up in ego, as all humans will, I am grateful for the teachings and humility I have received through yoga and the love it has filled my emptiness with. I have moved leaps and bounds closer to daily Santosha (contentment) and I could not be happier. 🙂

My wish for humanity is that everyone may find this release of ego and competition. At the moment our world is full of jealousy, anger and hatred due to the egos of one another fuelling competition and disconnection. If we learn to support and uplift each other instead of fighting each other, we will find our world full of love and happiness. This movement starts with each of us. It starts with me, it starts with you. Please be kind and inspire a more loving and supportive world.

Namaste my friends.

Smile More.

nicthehappyyogi

I stand strong beside my friends; no matter your gender, sexual orientation, race, culture, or background, I will be your friend. We are all one. But there is one thing that challenges my ability to create friendship, and that is when someone is not living a life in kindness, when they are not leading a life built with love.

So when I read about feminist movements  resisting being “likeable” and resisting “smiling more”, I just don’t support these measures of resistance. I understand that there is a long history of women being conditioned to be quiet, to be polite and to not have an opinion on things “only men” should talk about, and that shit is WRONG. Women have a voice and I want that voice to be heard loud and clear! I want our voices to be respected around the world. This is where the “anti-likeable” movement is coming from, which definitely makes complete sense. To be “likeable” to fit into a box defined by men/society is not right and I do NOT support this box. And to be told to, “smile more” instead of telling someone what you really feel due to fear of being judged or being punished by men/society is not right and I do NOT support this either.

But… Continue reading

Is Yoga For Everyone?

nicthehappyyogi

I’m not flexible.

I’m too busy.

I’m can’t focus long enough to be still for 75 minutes.

I don’t want to become too flexible.

I have injuries.

I can’t meditate.

Yoga is too hard.

Yoga is boring.

These are the common comments I get when I tell them I teach yoga/ask if they would like to yoga with me. Since they can’t touch their toes, balance on their head, retain focus, meditate or are too injured, they think that yoga isn’t for them. Or they tried a couple yoga classes and either felt intimated by advanced poses or not stimulated enough to be interested. No matter your reason, you just feel like yoga isn’t for you. Well, yoga CAN BE for everyone, but the yoga you did previously or what you consider yoga may not be the best type of yoga practice for you right now. Yoga has many different forms (8 actually) and while one may not serve you at this moment, another could. Our bodies, minds and lives are constantly evolving, and so should our yoga practice. Continue reading

What is the point in planning?

heart

What is the point in planning?

Now, I’m not talking about planning what you’re going to eat for lunch or that hair appointment you booked for Thursday, I’m talking about long-term life plans. The 5, 10 year plans that schools and jobs sometimes advise us to write down. Because let’s be serious, are you really doing the things you expected yourself to be doing when you planned 5 years ago? Do you really know what you will want in 10 years? I think we get so caught up in the expectations of our society, to be able to prove to others around you that you have your life together and know exactly where you are going, that we forget that we actually have no idea where we are going.

We are, in fact, quite messy at life.

At least I am, and I’m now embracing that! Five years ago I was in second year university for my Bachelors in Business, playing Varsity Volleyball and single. I was planning on majoring in Accounting, playing professional volleyball in Europe after graduating, and was actually at a place in life where I was happy with no boyfriend.

And then BOOM! Life happened!

I met an amazing Marketing professor at Acadia (who misses Professor Ash?!) who released my passion for this topic and I changed my major to Marketing. I tore my meniscus in my right knee but continued to play volleyball the whole season, tearing it so badly that I needed surgery and had to stop playing volleyball for 5 months. And an amazing guy swept me off my feet and I fell in love. After graduating university I turned down professional volleyball contracts in Europe to move to Calgary (I’m from Vancouver) with the love of my life to start our life together and pursue my career in marketing. Did I ever expect to live in Calgary? Definitely not!

In the warmer seasons I pursued playing professional beach volleyball for a couple years where I stumbled upon yoga. I had meant to use it for cross-training, but soon found out it was what my soul was craving and I quit volleyball to practice yoga every day. Now I teach yoga many times a week and would love to make yoga a full time career! Did I ever see myself doing yoga, let alone teaching yoga? Nope! I was the least flexible person and never did dance or anything graceful, who knew yoga would be for me?

All in all, I think it’s wonderful to have a direction in life, meaning you know how you would like to feel in 5, 10 years from now. You don’t need to know where you are going and what you will be doing, but to just know you are pursuing happiness, health, confidence, kindness, is all that is important. Do not worry if something unexpected happens that ‘pushes you off your path’, because we truly do not know what our path is. Just let life take you on its journey and enjoy the process.

Namaste my friends. xox

**Photo from photoshoot done by Karma Collective, based in Vancouver. http://www.SharetheKarma.com