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Bikram NYC Responds to Yoga Competition Heat: “Enlightenment has nothing to do with it”

in Public Display of Yoga, YD News

kyoka_katsura_thumbTwo weeks ago we posed the precarious question: Competitive Yoga: Vicious or Vindicated? and more essentially “can you win at yoga?” And not surprisingly lots of YD readers piped up with a range of steamed and thoughtful opinions. But what we didn’t expect was a personal response from the blog at Bikram NYC! Yoga Lily stepped on the stage to defend it bending like Bikram:

Yoga Lily would like to go on record as saying that every person who does yoga is a winner. And that “yoga competition” might be a misnomer, more accurately called a posture competition. Yoga is much more than physical skill, to say the least, but the competition is only about physical skill, only about one limb of the magnificent, munificent body of yoga.

The next bit launches into a comparison of yoga and skiiing, how leisure is fun but the competition is joyless (or something like that, we didn’t quite get it).

Likewise, a yoga competition, which Bikram is campaigning for to be included in the international Olympics, is about perfection of the physical aspects of yoga. Enlightenment has nothing to do with it.

OK then, there you go! Questions? Comments? Concerns?

We give Yoga Lily props, because she’s a Bikrammy and doesn’t have any! harr No really, we appreciate her coming out in defense of what she, and fellow competitors believe in. Surely there are plenty who agree with her, including one Asana Champion hopeful, Dana Ostermiller who was disqualified at last week’s regional Montana Asana Championships in Missoula.

“Well I got disqualified because I went over three minutes, you need to keep your routine within three minutes, but that doesn’t matter to me. I wasn’t intending to do anything other than to participate so it went great. I feel like I got up there which was courageous it was a good thing to be apart of” she said.

Better luck next year! If Bikram gets his way you only have 6 years to cut it down for the Olympics! The Asana Championship involves 7 postures, the first 5 are compulsory, and the last 2 are yogi’s choice. What we wanna know is who’s got the mega ton atomic balls to compete next year and throw in a down dog!? chaturanga? hehe

EarlierCompetitive Yoga: Vicious or Vindicated?

Yoga ‘Don’ Bikram Choudhury Calls American Yoga ‘Fucked Up Circus’

13 comments… add one
  • Still, isn’t the competitive nature of this and the possibility of Yogalympics make the very heart-truth about yoga seem trite? I do yoga to achieve so much more than the pose, as most of us do…. (Namaste, btw…) When we throw in the competition of who does the pose the “best” we take away the very basis of what yoga is and means to the masses.

    To me, competitive yoga reduces this spiritual practice to nothing more than an aerobics competition. It puts forth the ego of the pose, which I try very hard to reduce in my own practice.

    This is not to say that I do not take pride in my postures being as lovely as I can achieve them to be. They are the embodiment of human art form. An extent of my heart and soul in physical form. Nothing pleases me more that seeing a photo of a “perfect” asana, via Yoga Journal, this blog or my weekly class….

    It’s a conundrum, for sure.

  • “…Enlightenment has nothing to do with it….

    Fine. Then don’t call it yoga. Call it yogarobics. Or something. Coz yoga IMHO should never be seperated from it’s origins. Not every yoga class needs to include a reading from the Upanishads (for example).

    But this is a competition about form and nothing else, according to Yoga Lily.

    Yoga is about the synchronisng of body movement, breath and mind. And yes, its ultimately about enlightenment (somewhere down the track and whatever that means to you!). And its an expression of your connection to yourself, and everything else around you.

    What it’s definitely not about: perfect forms, competition, first place trophies or the Olympics. Or, ugh, ridicuously heated rooms that dehydrate people and cause unnecessary environmental damage (all that electricity in the name of yoga!)

  • >unnecessary environmental damage (all that electricity in the name of yoga!)

    Really, can’t we at least cut energy consumption in yoga?? Guess you can call Bikram the Hummer of the yoga world.


  • Way to go, YD, getting a response from the Bikram bloggers. Hilarious! I didn’t get the yoga/skiing/joy/competition analogy, either. Srsly, wha…?

  • sangos

    The competition is all about ‘Asana’ and NOT Yoga. So its Ok. In India we have these sort of competitions all the time. Maybe people in the West fret about this because I think there Asana is the start and end of Yoga. Guess ‘feeling the physical high’ after Asana practice seems to be the Western goal. So its ok at that level to compete….people might be aware of Tibetan Monks who actually have ritualized testing of the level of Yogic powers by the amount of snow melted in the freezing Himalayas, by generating body heat through meditation!

  • Are you serious? You can’t be serious…but I guess you are so…WOW!

  • Dont let the commie media fool you. If Brown wins, this is a rejection not Martha the Coakhead, this is a rejection of OBAMA. His Dr Kevorkian health care plan is being slowed by his OWN PARTY trying to kiss every lefty constituency butt they can. As for the ACORN buses, I suspect maybe there are some members of the VRWC who might slash the tires on those buses, or perhaps stash the ACORNS someplace only the squirrels would know about. Im wondering if Terrell Owens, Tony Romo and the entire roster of the Dallas Cowboys will show up on the ballots next Tuesday.

  • Must be BUSHES fault!

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