Ah yes, we yogadorks do love a good Bikram article – there’s always some sort of outlandish quote to fuel the fire of controversy. To kick off the weekend BBC Magazine does not disappoint in their take on that which is the “Yoga Wars,” or rather the continued controversy over Bikram’s competitive style and the opposing side who believe yoga’s not a sport. (Now, let us just preface this by saying we’re kinda tired of hearing the old “real yoga” song and dance, it really gets our gourd to hear yogis of all shapes, sizes and disciplines yammer about who has the biggest yoga stick. So we’re not even getting into that discussion. OK, venting over.)
And so, we return to the commercialization and degradation of what some people hold sacred, by means of turning it into a competitive sport. There’s a big somewhat-amateur Bikram competition in London this weekend, with the world tournament of sorts happening in LA next month. And of course Bikramites are still rallying for Yoga to be added to the 2012 Olympics (er.. don’t count on this one). In perhaps our favorite part of the BBC article, one commenter suggests calling the competitive version of yoga by another name, like “Yogort.” We lol’d at that one, although it’s not a bad idea.
But what about the children?? What does yoga-as-competition teach the youth of our world?
“As a child, the possibility of winning a competition was the only way to motivate myself. Yoga is very boring for children. They need motivation to win,” says Mrs. Choudhury.
British School of Yoga teacher Danielle Kirby, who has taught in schools, thinks children enjoy yoga because it is not competitive.
“It was the favourite PE class of larger children, who had been pushed behind in competitive sport,” she says. “Larger children balance better, and the fact it wasn’t competitive was appealing to them as there were no goals.”
Possibly credible arguments from both sides. Competition is innately human and kids have been taunting each other with ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ for ages. But should that competitive spirit be reserved for other activities, and yoga remain the space where it’s OK to be yourself and non-judgment reigns free?
As a side note, we took special delight when London yoga teacher, Ms. Fraser, slings the ‘circus’ jab back at Bikram – referring to the bendy-bodies as ‘circus contortionists‘ – which we’re not sure were her words or those of the BBC’s Andy Dangerfield, and frankly we don’t care! We still squealed when reading it.
Yoga Wars [BBC Magazine]
Earlier…Yoga ‘Don’ Bikram Choudhury Calls American Yoga Fucked Up Circus
Yoga’s Path to the Olympics, Or Bikram’s Quest for Gold
photo credit flickr
I totally respect wide range of yoga styles that exist, but man, the one Bikram class I went to felt like something the military would inflict on new recruits.