Pole dancing and Yoga in the Olympics? We had this conversation (and YD poll, appropriately) back in 2010, and the Olympic Yoga chat way back in 2008. It didn’t happen for 2012, but the crusaders are still afoot. Or is that two feet, over their heads. Well, someone’s in over their heads! Or are they? Could they pull it off for Rio 2016 or 2020?
The International Pole Sports Federation and USA Yoga (backed by Bikram and Rajashree Choudhury) are both lobbying for inclusion on the world stage at the Olympic Games.
It’s a funny thing, that competitive yoga. A lot of naysayers claim yoga at its roots was not intended to be competitive. When we hear “now reach around and create the bind” in yoga class we’re glad it’s not! That’s for damn sure. But competing in yoga is not uncommon in the Bikram world, and even in the Indian world, as Bikram will be quick to drop on you like a hot and sweaty potato. Mmm.
Paula Baake, owner of Dancing Mind Yoga in VA, is all about yoga as a sport.
“Let’s bring it on. If it means more people understanding about Yoga and getting to see how beautiful a practice is, why not?” she told an NBC news affiliate.
And who’s to say that some yoga is any less athletic than skeet shooting or race walking?
And pole dancing? That’s athletic, but it’s dancing, like an art, right? Though couldn’t we say the same for rhythmic gymnastics or synchronized swimming? Martial arts?
But, may we propose that just because it’s hard to do or beautiful does that mean it needs to be in the Olympics?
Only time, sweat and Bikram’s loud mouth will tell! We’re just saying hold on tight yogadorks, poles or no poles we could be seeing some more half-naked able bodied acrobatics in the Olympics sooner than we thought.
Olympic Polgi hopefuls? Apparently the yoga and pole dancing combo classes are a thing.
We have another idea though. We see your yoga and pole dancing and raise you a pogo stick!
The NBC O-limp-ick coverage has become a soft core T and A show. Even Stephen Colbert referred to Men’s Diving as “The Man Panty Fancy Fall”.
There is pole dancing and then there is also pole sport, which is really focused on the gymnastic, strength moves and less on the alluring dance aspects. And, men do “pole” as well, so I can definitely see it as a sport setting comfortably within the family of gymnastics.
I can see how bikram’s yoga competition can do that as well, and I don’t really have a problem with that competition per se. After all, it does have a history (albeit short) in the home country of yoga. And it, too, fits comfortably along side gymnastics.
That being said, yoga doesn’t have to be competitive. There are marathon runners who are simply out to enjoy their process and not competing with themselves or others — just having fun with it and getting the benefits that they want. And honestly, it’s quite meditative, so it certainly has that “yogic” element to it. But then, someone could — if they wanted — also take it all the way to the olympics and that’s just fine.
I think, though, that we need to be mindful of the culture that we are creating in yoga (our “yoga culture” it might be called), because we’ve done a lot of mucky things with it. Having competition in classes is part of that, as is some of the uglier sides of business that have cropped through, and similar.
Competition isn’t inherently a bad thing, but it should be an elective thing – whether that’s running, pole, or yoga. It just needs to be done with the right mind, and I think the bikram competition is pretty cool/interesting (if a bit strange).
But then, I like sports in general. I am comfortable with competition.
Certainly there is a very natural cross-over between yoga and pole dancing. As forms of calisthenic exhibitionism championed by women, they dovetail in important ways – even though, many women would deny that.
Kathryn Budig, for example,l is about as natural a pole dancer and stripper as one could imagine. Shape, form, mentality, ethos – by her demeanor and form of expression, verbal and physical, I have always suspected that she once worked in the “trade.”
The Romanian-based yoga porn cult, MISA, which still claims to be the largest yoga movement in Europe – and does have its own federation – requires many of its “girls” to learn yoga, and then ships them off to pole dance and trick for big $$$$ in Japan and other countries.
They could well be the vanguard of the new Yoga Hybrid Olympians?
Maybe if someone can get Terry Richardson to reformat the Cat Daddy video they prove the artistic and spiritual integrity of the project and all will be saved.
I’m not really into yoga as a competition. I do vinyasa, which is definitely a sort of dance, and it’s pretty to watch and certainly athletic. But making it into a competition is just going to end up sexualizing it… and we have beach volleyball for that already.