Yoga as an Olympic Sport – really?

As if the yoga community hasn’t been shaken enough by the most recent scandals and publishing ventures of certain science writers, now this:

USA Yoga which is sponsoring the National Yoga Asana Championship in New York (2nd – 4th of March) wants yoga asana competition become an Olympic sport.

Deepti Hajela, interviewing USA Yoga founder (and Bikram Choudhury’s wife) Rajashree Choudhury, rightfully asks: ‘Wait, competitive yoga? Isn’t that counterintuitive to something that’s usually presented as a spiritual, meditative discipline?

Choudhury begs to differ – mostly because the focus is on the postures. ‘I’m not trying to measure anybody’s ‘eight states,’ she said, referring the meditative and spiritual aspect of yoga practice. ‘The posture can be competitive.

So I assume we’ll be seeing something similar to this (do you think India would be Olympic champion? The US?):

Indian students of a yoga college show their skills (AFP/Getty Images)

Read the full story here and of course enjoy your practice! 🙂

Categories: Controversial, Trends, Yoga

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18 replies »

  1. Oh no. This really makes me want to cry. I believe when you encourage people to compete in yoga, you will have ensured that they completely miss the point. I’m sad for those who will be introduced to yoga with this thinking. I love yoga so much because it allows me to silence myself and to free myself from all that.


  2. Definitely counter-intuitive to what I have been taught and experienced with yoga. I think it could potentially cause many who are considering venturing into the world of yoga to reconsider and go elsewhere. Not quite the intent of the yoga spirit, I imagine.


  3. I wrote about this earlier today….I agree entirely! How would you even decide who’s best? Yoga is not gymnastics- it’s about the mind, not the looks. Very sad indeed =(


  4. I think that would be a real shame and send out the wrong message especially to beginners. The olympics today have come a long way in the wrong direction from their true origins. Looks like yoga is going the same way.


  5. The term “watchasana” will be the hottest saying when newcomers to yoga will automatically get into competitive mode, do what other students do, and force themselves into twists, always want to go faster and do more, not listen to their bodies, not breathe correctly, and hurt themselves.

    I don’t believe any true yogi would allow themselves to be an “athle-yogi”.


  6. I really don’t like the idea of yoga being an olympic sport. I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks now, but the first thing we learned was “no judgement” – the point is to do what feels good, and do the best you can, and NOT to compare yourself to others. It’s about feeling good about yourself, not feeling better than others.


  7. Ugh. Yoga is an area of my life where I take comfort in knowing there is no competition. This idea sends out the wrong message about why you should practice yoga. Additionally, for beginners, if they have a competitive idea about the practice, they will be more prone to injuries and less likely to practice ahimsa to themselves and those around them.


  8. The whole basis of yoga is non competition not even with yourself. Yoga is not moving in the right direction in North America. We need to teach “back to the roots of yoga”. Practice with an open mind and an open heart, then the real answers will come to you.


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