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Should Yoga Be an Olympic Sport?

When I first started practicing yoga, my teachers made it clear that it wasn't a competition. So what if Peggy Pretzel over there could do Handstand Scorpion in her very first class? It's not your ability to do the poses that's important, but rather your intentions and emotions while on the mat. I can certainly om to that. But wait, what's this? Last weekend was the seventh Annual Asana Yoga Competition in New York City. Yoga competition? Sounds crazy, I know, but it's real. See for yourself in the video below.

Competitions like these are part of the movement pushing to have yoga included as an Olympic event by the year 2020. Yogis would be judged on their body proportions, grace, composure, and execution of postures. People will either see this as a brilliant idea to encourage men and women to get serious about their yoga practices, or as an oxymoron. So what's your opinion of competitive yoga and the notion of it becoming an Olympic event?

Join The Conversation
mod16 mod16 7 years
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
Yoga competitions have existed for over a thousand years in India. Bikram merely brought awareness of competitive yoga to the US; since he won India's national yoga championship when he was a CHILD, he obviously didn't invent the concept. I don't really "get" the competitive side of it myself. However, just because it seems different than what's taught at white middle-class health clubs in America doesn't mean it's "not really yoga."
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
I'm sort of offended by the concept of an an olympic sport judging "body proportions" and "composure". I'm not completely against the idea if the athletic side was completely divorced from the spiritual side (which has no place in the olympics), but that's not really yoga.
cg130 cg130 7 years
How would you even decide who won?? It's so silly, it defeats the purpose of yoga. I do think that yoga is a legitimate form of athletics though, and it would be nice to see it be recognized...
metallicnymph metallicnymph 7 years
i think that yoga in a competitive light will actually inhibit the practice, causing a lack of the focus that makes the sustainability of some poses so incredibly gorgeous. however, i'm not entirely against this idea. spirituality aside, yoga as a form of recognized athleticism is intriguing.
cotedazur cotedazur 7 years
I agree with everyone above. That being said, the people shown in the video are amazing!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 7 years
I think this question was asked a few months ago and my answer was and still is no. And I agree that Bikram is to blame for the interest in competition. To me, my yoga practice is a journey and no one's is the same - making it a competitive sport totally defeats the purpose.
Pochus Pochus 7 years
I think there can be an Asana competition but take Yoga out of the name. Yoga practice is a lot of things, a personal spiritual journey, and one thing it is not is competitive. Asanas are just a small part of what Yoga is.
jkat jkat 7 years
I have a hard time with sports that require judging anyway (the subjectivity minimizes the "sport" aspect for me). This seems to be completely counter to everything I have experienced in my (limited) yoga practice.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
No way! Rewarded for their body proportions? Like a beauty pageant? Yoga is something you do for your physical and emotional being. It's not competitive and should never become competitive. I wonder if the people competing in these competitions, while having great flexibility and strength, are really getting the larger picture of what yoga is about? How cocky/vain must these individuals be to think "my asana positions are better than your asana positions". That's the antithesis of yoga!
Beaner Beaner 7 years
Now yoga performances is one thing, but being competitive with other yogis? That's Bikram for ya.
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