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Skill, Sweat and Skin!: NYTimes Captures NY Regional Yoga Competition (slideshow)

in Public Display of Yoga, YD News

We’ve been causing a ruckus with the Competitive Yoga discussion lately, and even heard back from team Bikram about it! Today we’re just going to shut our yogadorky mouths and ogle. The New York Times trekked out to the New York Regional Yoga Championship a few weeks ago and captured the event with some insightful snapshots. They say there’s no enlightenment involved here, just bendy bodies, but all that skin is certainly uplifting! heh.

Two words… HOT! and OUCH! Check out the entire slideshow at NYTimes.com


EarlierCompetitive Yoga: Vicious or Vindicated?

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

10 comments… add one
  • Competitive Yoga? Really? It just seems, well, wrong. And the complete antithesis of yoga. One can only assume this is only something done in America?

    Thanks for posting this, as I had no idea about this or the Bikram brouhaha.

  • Like I replied on twitter… EGO + COMPETITION = MORE EGO.
    At least that is what it feels like to me. Maybe all of the “competitors” are beyond ego… who knows?

  • Don’t blame Bikram style on America! I believe he is Indian, the old Mr Franchise Yogi himself.

  • As this debate has raged on there’s something that keeps popping up in my mind. Although I don’t agree with the current manifestation of the yoga competition a la Bikram, I wonder if Boodiba is right – this competition is not necessarily American-bred. I have read and heard from many people who know more about India than me, that yoga competitions are fairly commonplace. Yoga is also taught in Indian schools; and is graded much like any other course. So is it that the cultural system in India allows for a better separation of ego from competition than we’re able to achieve in North America? Maybe there’s a more distinct separation of asana from the rest of the yoga philosophy (which, let’s face it, is much more ubiquitous in India than in N. America) and that separation allows an asana competition and a person’s true yoga to be distinct from one another. Whereas here when we see “asana competition” we don’t separate it from our yoga practice as a whole…I don’t really know. But this is an interesting topic that warrants the discussion it’s triggering. Thoughts anyone?

  • I’ve seen yoga competition clips in youtube that were filmed in India. Sheshadri is a Mysore teacher who got his start by winning one, if what I was told is true…

  • the ability to do certain poses in that way has everything to do with how their bones are put together, how they are made. nothing more, nothing less.

  • Meaghan,

    Bikram first came to prominence in India by winning the India National Yoga Championships two years at the ages of 13 and 14. So Yoga as competition is certainly not new nor did it originate in the West.

    That doesn’t mean it’s a good thing, however, just because it’s Indian. I imagine there were probably debates and condemnations then as now.

    Now for the good part. According to some sources, the idea of Yoga competition was initiated by the British occupiers, not by the Indians themselves. So we can still blame the West even though it started in India.

    (I should point our that some of these commentators also say that many of the modern asana themselves came out of British stretching and conditioning manuals of the time. This sounds far-fetched to me, but I have not taken the time to research it further.)

    Bob Weisenberg

  • one of my teachers (well known but who shall remain nameless here) used to manage a Bikram studio around LA. he told us that Bikram used to tell everyone (maybe he still does) that America made him the way he is and he is only giving Americans the type of yoga that we want because we’re too stupid (his words) to move beyond the physical aspect of it.

  • That’s pretty funny!!! It’s not true though.

  • Here’s a must read article in Elephant about one of the champion competitors, Esak Garcia: http://bit.ly/8GmQyK

    Bob Weisenberg

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