Healthy ambition requires us not to push ourselves so hard that we are incapable of having a balanced life, but not to take it too easy, either. This seems like a fine line, and in fact, in yoga practice it’s often referred to as “the edge.” It’s the place where you’re working at the top of your body’s ability on that day. If you worked any less, you’d be slacking off; any more, and you’d be risking injury. What yoga can do, experts say, is help point the way toward healthy, balanced ambition, both for people with lots of drive and for people who feel they lack it.
To attain balanced ambition, your goal should not run afoul of the yama, or principle, of ahimsa, or nonviolence. Interpreted literally, this means your goals shouldn’t harm other living beings. But it also has a broader meaning. It means not running over other people in an attempt to get ahead, and not harming or neglecting yourself when you’re trying to accomplish things. So you may have to change the way you go about pursuing your goal, perhaps by shifting the time frame for accomplishing it. The key to balanced ambition is to focus on the process, not the outcome of your actions. In yoga terms, this is detachment, or non-grasping.