When I think of yoga, images of peace and harmony spring into my head. I think of slow, intricate postures performed with the goal of unifying my body and spirit. I think of serenity. What I don’t think of is competition – but that may soon change.
Oregon-based websiteOPBrecently posted an article on “competitive yoga,” which has apparently been gaining in popularity in Oregon and around the world. Competitive yoga seems to be rooted in the unorthodoxBikramstyle, which is performed in a room heated to 105 degrees! Bikram, or “hot yoga” is also more aggressive than other yoga styles.
Competitive yoga finds its practitioner performing a series of seven compulsory and elective asanas (postures) within a three minute period. Scoring is based upon technique, gracefulness and overall performance. A quick search on YouTube will produce severalvideosof yoga competition. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this “competitive yoga” is that there is a push for it to become an Olympic sport in 2012.
Personally, I’m not sure I’ll be Oming for the gold anytime soon.
It provides us an insight into the effects of this practice or that practice.
When the Ego is so obviously bloated we must turn our attention to the practice that puffed it up and examine that carefully within the context of classical yoga.
I would contend that a Yoga practice where the result in the student's consciousness is one of performance, reward, extrinsic accolade, or the desire to pose in a mirror or rip off one's clothes in order to gander or show one's muscles is not at all yogic.
One would be hard pressed to prove otherwise beyond saying "it's been done this way for hundreds of years" which as we know from War is no way to determine behavior. Just because its been done for 300 years does not make it appropriate.
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