Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Yoga Olympics

Seventy-five people from 24 countries competed in the 2012 Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, an international yoga asana (poses) championship. Of course, I could seize this opportunity to leap onto my soapbox and preach about how the goal of yoga is inward-gazing, and howyoga isn't  supposed to be about competitiveness...or how these poses look downright scary/potentially destructive to the bodies that execute them, but really, you should just click on over to The New York Times article and slideshow and check it out for yourself. See what you think.

One thing is for sure: even thought I'm a yoga teacher, this body of mine could never, ever, ever do the things that these bodies are doing. And while I might marvel at what they can do, in the same way that I also might marvel at Cirque du Soliel exhibition of what human bodies can accomplish, I don't feel a single bit of disappointment that I can't do what they can do. I don't feel like any less of a yogi. And the very simple reason for that is that the benefit I've experienced through my yoga practice has been a therapeutic one.  I've used yoga for years as a way to dial down anxiety and stress, to stoke creativity, to alleviate back pain, and to serve as a refuge to escape to when the rest of my life necessitates an escape.

The fact that I feel better--body and mind--is enough of a "win" for me.

What about you? How (if at all) do you use yoga? Or other mind-body practices?


  1. I am an experienced Yoga instructor working for
    Anamaya Yoga
    . As a teacher of this thousand years old tradition I can't support the concept of Yoga Competition! Yoga teaches us Non-competitiveness. One can judge Posture, whether it is perfect or not. But what about other essential 7 limbs of Yoga including Samadhi?

    Monirul Hoque
    Yoga Instructor
    Anamaya Yoga Retreat