Shining Light on Competition


by Marlo Nikkila

Being an entrepreneur and a yoga teacher has proven to be quite the journey. Along the way, I’ve come to see my business, as it’s own living entity and one of my greatest spiritual teachers. It is where I witness what stops me in life, where my gifts are, and where I can grow.   My business is my mirror.

When I first started my own business, I studied what other people were doing and how they were doing it.   I was grateful for the examples of what was possible and ideas to try in my own business.

Over the years, something shifted and what was once a gift is now something that is stopping me from showing up the way I want to.

Instead of seeing the other businesses owners as guides or teachers, I have been viewing them as “competition.” It’s embarrassing to admit what I am about to share since these are not my proudest moments; and I’m willing to share them because I sense it may support or serve someone in some way.

As I’ve gotten really honest with myself, I’ve noticed jealously, bitterness, and even judgment toward others and what they have created, all spewing out of me. I see this especially in areas where I tend to struggle, or areas I am in the process of creating for myself.   There is a sense that if they are successful, there isn’t enough time or space for me to be successful, too.

Sometimes when I read a book, or learn of a program someone is offering I find myself either tearing it apart with thoughts of “They don’t know what they are talking about,” “I can’t believe they are charging so much money for this,” or with more building up thoughts of “Wow. They’ve done better than I ever could, so I should just forget about doing what I was planning.”

And then something softens in me. I recognize they are doing the work. They are putting themselves out there. They are actively engaging with the world.

And this is something I haven’t been doing.

What I have been doing is sitting on the sidelines judging from afar, as a way to keep me safe. I have yet to fully share my writings, programs, and inspirations in a way I imagine. Instead they are all stored in my computer, and sometimes only in my head. Seeing where my judgments and critical eye has taken me shows me what I am fearing the most— not knowing what I am talking about, not adequately charging for my programs and services, or what I have to offer is not unique or good enough.

Becoming a yoga teacher is a gift. What I see and experience more often in the yoga community actually comes from a place of collaboration and supporting each other.

Even so, I notice how “competition” follows me to my mat. After receiving my 200 hour yoga teacher certification in 2013, I began paying attention to things I would have never noticed simply being a student. Similar to when I began my business, I also study teachers when I go to their classes. I watch how they cue postures, order their sequences, and often note what kind of music they play.  It has become hard to turn off my “teacher” brain. Most often I find something I love that the teacher did or said. Then this noticing turns into wishing I could be as good as them. These thoughts then turn into judgments towards myself. I begin to wonder how I fit in the yoga world. I question why anyone would want to come to my classes when there are so many great yoga teachers out there. And I notice the same pattern in my business surfacing.

I am deeply grateful for the evolution of my business to teach mindful manifesting where I blend yoga, energy work, and universal laws together. This combined practice brings me to the awareness of feelings rising to the surface. This is very evident when I am triggered by “competition.” I realize now that every time I judge someone stepping into his or her business; I chip away at my own potential. It keeps me on the sidelines, observing and not participating or even attempting to create, teach, or share. It keeps my focus outside of myself and onto what others are doing. I become stuck in thinking I am better than them, or they are better than me. Neither of which serve anyone.

When I witness myself being in the energy of competition, it becomes an indicator to me. I must go deeper. I need to look at what’s going on within me. When I pause to do this, I detect shifts wanting to happen. Ideas I hold want to come to life and to be shared. It’s time for me to step onto my path in a loving, collaborative, spacious way that allows others do to the same.

It becomes important for my true yoga practice to embody the following:

*Tune into my own self-expression and my unique way of being. Know this is true for everyone. Each of us brings something into the world that isn’t already here. Even if we are teaching the same sequence in yoga, or have a similar business, it is different because it comes from who we are.

*Celebrate what others are doing, ESPECIALLY if it is something I would like to be, do or experience. They are an example of what’s possible. And if others are teaching the same thing as me, celebrate that the message and teachings are getting out there to the larger world.

*Grow my own confidence in a healthy way instead of tearing others apart and bringing them down. Know this is only an attempt to make myself feel better. Plus it never truly works. Ever.

*Look for and celebrate examples of businesses and yogi’s who embody collaboration with each other. Just the other day, I was looking at a vegan cookbook. It was endorsed by my favorite vegan chef who has two cookbooks. This was such a beautiful example of the overflowing energy I want to embrace.

*Actively engage with the world, instead of just thinking about it. Step in. Share my ideas, my programs, and my retreats.

* “I freely want others to have what I want.” The universe is abundant and there is room for all of us to have what we want. This manifesting mantra helps me align my energy to this knowledge of endless abundance, for everyone.

When I tune into these thoughts and these ways of being, all my fears, judgments, jealousy melt away. It feels good to be in a space that allows and honors each of us for the gifts we bring to the world, on and off our mat.




I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells.

I honor the place in your which is love, light and of peace.

When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me,

We are one.



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