Happy Thursday guys!
I wanted to chat today, about something that is absolutely boggling my mind!
Heard of them? I hadn’t until recently, when one of my Facebook friends, who is a Bikram yoga teacher, posted a link on Facebook about it (she was for it). The post was about the website: Canadian Yoga Federation.
The websites “About” page states,
One of the eight petals of yoga, the only petal that is exhibitive, is the yoga-asana-s where as the other petals are very individual and personal. As such there is nothing wrong in holding a competition on the qualitative presentation of the yoga-asana-s.
The judges also should have a good background practically on the subject for right and impartial judgement.
According to Lord Patanjali, the competitors should have a perfect body, consisting of beauty and form, grace and loveliness and ability in attracting people towards its practice, strength and their bodies hard and shining like a diamond and soft as a flower according to the situations.
I found this video from a past champion from their competition:
Watching the video, I am absolutely amazed at her flexibility. She obviously works very hard to be able to these poses. However, I feel like this is taking yoga into a place that it shouldn’t be.
Every class I’ve ever been to has stressed that you should leave your ego at the door, let go of the mirror, and just move how your body tells you. My favourite yoga instructor often states, “If you’re feeling it, you’re doing it” to help people focus on getting the stretch rather than trying to perfect a pose.
However, if you are having a competition for who’s the best at posing- this seems like a ego-driven platform. It makes people who aren’t flexible feel badly about themselves. I am very inflexible- I’ve gone to yoga for 5 years and most days I still can’t touch my toes. And this a vast improvement from where I was 5 years ago. However, I will likely never be able to do the splits, or do a fold forward and rest my face on my legs. And I’m ok with that. I no longer feel as though that makes me less of a yogi than someone who can do these things.
Why? Because everyone’s body is different. Some people are naturally flexible. Some people have been in gymnastics for years and then transitioned into yoga due to an injury. Some people are naturally inflexible. But if I am breathing and moving, then I am doing yoga. And if one person can get deeper into a pose, that doesn’t make them better at yoga, it makes them more flexible.
However, this competition is changing that perspective. This competition shows that in order to be a champion at yoga, you should have a “perfect body” (um- who’s judging that one?) and be super flexible.
For this perfect body- if I starve myself to achieve this goal, does that make me a better yogi? Why are we putting more pressures on ourselves in a society that is so goal oriented already? Isn’t yoga suppose to be a counter to that?
I think, that we should not be focusing on our perfection of yoga. Can’t we keep competition out of something?
I received an email from “My Yoga Online” a few days ago, and it stated:
Bringing awareness to the breath is a simple and powerful practice. With the inhalation we invite spaciousness, positive intentions, and prana into the body. With the exhalation, we let go of fatigue, stress, or anything that no longer serves us. As you flow through your practice this week, we invite you to bring mindful attention to the breath. Explore the capacity and potential of your lungs, find your rhythm, and enjoy linking movement with breath
To me, this makes much more sense to be focusing on this while we practice yoga, and let go of how we actually look (well, besides ensuring our poses are properly aligned).
Has anyone ever known anyone, or they themselves, been in a yoga competition? Do you think it’s a good idea? If so, please share your thoughs as I’d love to hear them!