Is a Yoga Asana Competition Really Yoga?

Yoga Teacher Training Bali












This year the Yoga Asana competition hits the UK and emails are pinging into my inbox with messages from a number of bikram and hot yoga teachers I know in the UK that are competing….For me this opens up an interesting question around the role of yoga within a competitive environment.We all know that yoga is supposed to be taught one on one in an environment where the ego is not invited. Where body type and size is not an issue as each posture is modified to the practitioner and serves to soothe and nourish the body and mind.

I think we can all appreciate the beauty and dedication it takes to mould the body into the advanced poses of the Ashtanga primary series…but is this really still yoga? This is certainly called a Yoga Asana Competition and the poses are all ones we recognise…but by making it a competition and putting these super flexible bodies on a pedestal are we being detrimental to the practice of yoga and just empowering the ego…and we all know that yoga is NOT about the ego! So how does a Yoga asana competition sit with this ethos of yoga?

yoga competitionUndoubtedly this type of Yoga asana is evoking the ego, so by regulating it and calling it a sport do we side step the ego issue…? maybe…But where is the spirituality? Yoga is essentially about bringing us closer to the divine, to the spirit and embracing the body and its ability to move, change and grow through discipline. It’s also about totally removing ego and accepting what we can and can’t do with our bodies and being content with that. Whatever level that may be. Ultimately if we are following a true yogic path then our yoga asana is personal, its for us, its not for others and it doesn’t matter what we look like or how much of a pretzel we can be. But on the flipside, the level of discipline and dedication needed to achieve an advanced yoga practice truly shows the level of devotion and self-practice that the participants have invested to achieve this body and practice.

But how does it sit with you…. how does it make you feel…

Make up your own minds…

Check out the link for more info on the competition: