Yoga As Competition?!

Mar 23, 2012 | What's New

Share this Post with Your Friends!

Yoga as competition?!Having yoga as competition can allow for the world to be inspired. It brings exposure to the postures –to the practice of yoga- to the strength, flexibility, balance and endurance a human body can have. For this … I say YES…INSPIRATION – not competition!However, yoga as a competitive sport is extremely counter intuitive when it comes to the roots of this traditional practice. In consideration of the ultimate goal of yoga…being Samadhi or enlightenment; by competing one seems to almost go backwards in achieving this.In Yoga most follow a path – Patanjali’s 8 Limb Path – which today is used as reference, as guidance or framework for yoga practice. Each limb is part of a holistic focus – leading to unity, to fullness – of the individual. In order to move forward towards the ultimate goal one needs to feel success in the previous limbs. On Patanjali’s path – before the asanas (postures) even exist there are yamas (ethical restraints) and niyamas (observances). Ahimsa (non-violence) the first yama – a value to live by….how can one practice non-violence in a competition?! Satya (truthfulness) ….how can there be truth in competition?! How can you be true to your body? Who’s to judge that your body is ready for competition? Are you being true to yourself? Who is to judge your inward practice? Aparigraha (non-greed)….well this one’s self explanatory… in your yoga practice – whether its through meditation or the physical asana practice itself – you shouldn’t need more than what you have. You shouldn’t need acknowledgement, your practice is for you. Not for ego glorification. And in the niyamas – Santosa (contentment)…this means contentment with all aspects of life, with your practice, your body (physically, mentally, spiritually), if in competition how can this contentment subsist? Work on bettering your body – yes, to your contentment – not to anyone else’s.How can you compete in a journey that is inwards? Who can judge you on that journey.? How can you compete on meditation? Who is to know the state you’ve achieved? When yoga becomes only physical…to me it is not yoga – it is an asana practice without any of the fundamental principles of yoga. It is comparable to acrobatics, gymnastics, etc.…by competing you are taking away what makes yoga different.However impressive the poses might be; reflecting different expressions of human beauty, and uplifting to watch – always drawing yourself back to the purpose of your practice, allowing yoga to be the practice of a lifetime. When focusing only on physical practice in competition – you are allowing room for this practice to be short-lived. However, when practicing yoga holistically – with the right intention, it becomes your partner and guide throughout your life.Yoga teaches people to be non-judgmental. As a yoga teacher – allowing your students to look within – to come to such a great inner depth of their practice that it doesn’t matter how straight their leg is, if their knee is locked or how high they can stretch their leg in standing splits. What matters is the inner experience. The abundance of fluid flowing energy that one feels during their asana practice, depth, inner peace, concentration, clarity, meditation, prana – these are all part of what makes up a true practice of yoga…with a byproduct of flexibility, strength, endurance, etc.Having yoga as competition may even turn people off yoga as they may feel intimidated by such an intricate advanced practice. Yoga is for everyone – young, old, healthy, sick, you name it… yoga, in one of its many forms, is right for you. As competition however, it limits its accessibility.Stay truthful to yourself. Wherever the world today takes yoga – whether to competition or not – use it only as inspiration. Find your own inner beauty and strength.Be inspired . Embrace Life. Practice Yoga.~Sjonum