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Bikram and the Yoga Olympics: Here We Come 2012!

in Public Display of Yoga, World News, YD News

yoga-olympics-logoSpeaking of Yog-Olympians

Today more buzzworthy mutterings of yoga headed to London 2012! Bikram and Co have been working tirelessly for the past few years, forging their hot yoga torch in hopes of making asana a sport in the 2012 Olympic Summer Games, but will they succeed? We pointed out how what a crrrazy coincidence it was that last Friday both the World Asana Championships AND the 2010 Olympic Games opened on the same day.
CNN’s iReport gives us a glimpse inside the competition and just how serious they are about this Olympics beeswax:

“He has spoken with Lord Sebastian Cole, chairman of the organizing committee of the London Olympics. They have also started conversations with the USA olympic commitee.”

Watch the video (sorry it starts right away), it really is quite an impressive feat of human agility and strength, beautiful even. And we’ll go out on a limb to say Bikram is in his sweetest politest form (as compared to some other #*$% interviews). But they kinda lost us when the little girl, in response to what preparation is needed for the Olympics, said “you’d really have to bump up your practice and coaching.” Turn on the heat, bump it up!

BUT WAIT, The Yoga Olympics already exist! Behold:


Uh oh…

ps. that’s their logo above. someone should tell Bikram it’s not official until he has a logo.

EarlierFigure Skater Evan Lysacek: Does Yoga, Wins Gold Medal!

Watch Bikram’s World Asana Championship Live, Prepare for Sweaty Olympics

30 comments… add one
  • It seems to me that once this gets to the Olympic level it will be impossible to distinguish this from Cirque de Soleil type acts, unless they apply some strict rules allowing only a certain set of Yoga-like moves. But they’re already way beyond this. If they are going to do this type of thing in the Olympics I think they should broaden it to include all the static body contortion arts, not just extreme asana. I certainly don’t see any reason to accept Yoga but not Cirque de Soleil.

    Bob Weisenberg
    http://Yoga Demystified.com

  • lighthasmass

    Bob I agree, kind of. Watching those who go out on stage this year and display their asana prowness was a beautiful demonstration of the human form. I love watching it. The yoga cup has its rules and they are a good set of asanas…. to display balance , full range of motion on the spine and shoulders, and hips and legs and then a choice of two asanas to show what else the yogi may have to display …. extreme flexibility , balance, strength. The problem as you noted is well… contortion. The winner will always have genetic advantage. So if you have the genetics you can win! Those that have to work for the asanas, and practice hard and want to win and are not of the genetic lineage are… well …..not going to win… to bad so sad. On the other hand it is good for those that have amazing flexibility to have an outlet like other sports…. and when you can grasp the yoga or the cup is just the asana well whatever….. I will watch and enjoy then go to my mat and work on that shoulder rotation because my bow is good but my head is not on my butt yet. And the actual yoga will be practice on my horse.

  • I would change my comment above to replace “contortion arts” with the term “acrobatic arts”. Acrobatics conveys none of the unhealthy connotations of “contortion”. It’s much broader and it’s what I really meant.

    Yoga competition is one of many acrobatic arts, like the various forms of gymnastics already well established in the Olympics. There are dozens of acrobatic arts in dazzling shows like Cirque de Soleil that should also be included if Yoga is included.

    Does anyone know if Yoga is seriously being considered, or is it just a samahdi dream (Yoga equivalent of a pipe dream).

    Bob Weisenberg

  • Elizabeth

    I can’t wait until the IOC catches wind of “the Yoga Olympics” and they get sued for trademark violation. (In the US, you are legally required to obtain permission to use the name Olympics–remember all the scratch over the Gay Olympics, now the Gay games?) The US arm of the IOC is notoriously stingy with permissions for use of the word Olympics, limited I think to the Para-olympics? and the Special Olympics. They made “Olympics of the Mind” (a creative/academic competition) change their name to “Odyssey of the Mind.” No way would they be okay with Yoga Olympics.

  • rhea athey

    I am a yoga teacher and the first thing I tell my students is how yoga is completely noncompetitive and it is about being mindful within your own body. It is a spiritual way of life and completely goes against the deep teachings the father of yoga, Pantanjali’s intended in the yoga sutras. I truly hope that yoga never makes it into the Olympics and that it stays in the traditional and sacred art formed that is meant to stay.

  • Yeah, rhea, but Patanjali never said anything about PoleYoga, or Polga, as Roseanne wants to call it:

    That’s another big advantage of combining the two disciplines. The once far-fetched idea is gaining momentum as we speak.

    Bob Weisenberg

  • rhea athey

    I don’t agree with Pole Yoga either. Just because it has caught on as a fad doesn’t make it right. Any of these new fads ie. yoga with weights etc. is going against the true essence of yoga in my opinion. I know someone that created yoga twister and I think it is disrespectful to be honest.

  • SolitaryRose

    Rhea, I have to agree with you here. I am normally not at all a traditionalist when it comes to different styles of yoga – I tend to think that any way one gets to the path is a good one – but this is kind of the line for me. Interjecting competition into the whole equation means it stops being yoga. Period.

    If they want to have this in the Olympics, then it should be named contortionism or something along those lines. But it’s not yoga and shouldn’t be called as such.

    I really, really hope this doesn’t happen.

  • Umang Dawn

    Yoga can be adopted as Sports only through efforts of Bikram dada and Rahashree bhabhi, they are most Senior Gold Medalists from India and they have Technical knowledge in abundance too.

    I wish them for taking Yoga in Olympics.

  • I am so excited for the possibility that yoga might be included in the Olympics. I see it similar to gymnastics and is scored as such; deductions on form, dismount etc.

    As to the response that yoga is not competitive – it isn’t. This is more of a demonstration of an individuals yoga practice and yoga competitions have been going on in India (where yoga originated) for years. Bikram and Rashashree, if anyone in the Western yoga community, are the best to bring it to the Olympics, both have won Gold Medals in India for their beautiful practices.

    Regarding the genetics argument. Yes, some people are better at yoga, because of their bodies and genetics – but the same could be said for other sports such as swimming. I was a competitive swimmer for many years. I’m 5 foot 2. And no matter how much I trained ( I trained night and day) at the upper levels of the sport when everyone is ridiculously good – there is no way a five foot nothing can compete with girls that are six feet tall and have paddles for feet. (Ian Thorpe anyone?).

    But I continued to swim for the love of the sport. Which is why yoga competitors compete – they love yoga. These people train so hard and not all are born with slender bodies or are given amazing genetics. Please Google Joseph Encinia (the US World Champion of Yoga) and you will see what I mean.

  • Anyone who tries to do yoga with good form knows that it is a athletic feat. It’s hard work for anyone to do their challenging level in good form–and then hold it for as long as you can. Sure the best yoga people will be a combo of very strong and super flexible, but all of the Olympic athletes have some genetic factor that helps them.

    When there is gun shooting in the Olympics, which I think is just strange, I simply can’t understand how there is even a debate about whether yoga should be in the Olympics. Yoga can be done by people of all ages, it helps rehab weak joints and injuries, and it is still amazing for all of us who learn headstands that won’t win us a prize. Who cares because it’s so fun!

    🙂 Marion

  • YogaBoy

    I have personally participated in several Bikram yoga competitions over several years. I even represented Canada at the International competition one year. However, I’d say that this competition, in its current form, should never warrant it being considered an Olympic sport. There are many reasons, but mostly they boil down to the simple fact that this so-called sport and the rules that surround it have been developed and practiced exclusively within the context of the Bikram’s culture. Bikram’s Yoga is a business venture and sanctioning a Bikram’s-format yoga olympics is tantamount to sanctioning his corporate copyright on what constitutes “valid yoga” (or at least “valid asana” — we all know that yoga is so much more than asana, right?). For example, the first posture — standing head-to-knee — is a posture that I have never encountered outside of a Bikram’s class. The second pose — standing bow pulling — is judged based on the aesthetic ideals outlined in the Bikram dialogue (“one straight line from the side”). Why not use the aesthetic of a beautiful upright Natarajasana? Even the so-called “optional” postures are drawn from Bikram’s own advanced sequence (roughly 84 postures). I recall Bikram’s fury when a French competitor used a posture outside of his sanctioned set of postures. I could go on and on — yes it’s beautiful, yes it’s challenging, but it’s all about one person: Bikram. Olympic sports have to be rooted in deeper ideals. Yoga is for everyone.

    Peace and light to all the fellow yogis!

  • Rhea Athey

    Well said Yogaboy

  • Heyyy did you forget about the World Yoga Cup in Uruguay later in October this year?????

  • Jasmine

    The comparison of Bikram yoga to gymnastics is a little unbalanced. International level gymnasts typically train well over 6 hours a day, and include way more elements to work with, such as four apparatus. Most artistic gymnasts, and likely all rhythmic gymnastics can smoke these Bikram postures, as well as the previously mentioned “Cirque du Soleil”. The level of difficulty and skill of Olympic gymnasts, exceeds any thing I’ve ever seen at a Bikram competition. It seems arrogant for Bikram to be included in the Olympics. It would be funny if that were approved, and not called Bikram. .. I would guess that they’d be the only yogi’s that would participate, and they would be overwhelmed with competitor from other sports.

  • Joseph

    ^ From what I have observed, bikram is an arrogant individual with business logic behind a practice. Why do you think 1000’s of bikram studios no longer share the label “bikram yoga”. They now are simply “hot yoga”.

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