‘USA Yoga’s goal is to join with similar organizations in other countries to form an international yoga federation and to qualify Yoga Asana as an Olympic sport.’ What do you think of this USA Yoga initiative? Practitioners say (and personally I do agree) that yoga is not competitive sport. It is called ‘practice’ for a reason. It is about accepting the pace of your body, doing just as much has your body can do, not setting goals (‘I’ll masker this asana by the end of the week’) and listening to your body. Yes, there are benefits of getting in shape and keeping your body strong and fit, yes, it has become massively popular, but it is not a sport. It is about getting to know and to love your body and being at peace with yourself. Acceptance. How does this go with yoga being qualified as Olympic Sport?
Supporters of the initiative, however, point out that it does NOT address yoga in its wider concept, but the Yoga Asana, which, according to the USA Yoga, ‘is beneficial for the physical and mental health of all practitioners – children, teens, adults and seniors. Increased awareness of the sport of Yoga Asana will encourage existing practitioners to sharpen their skills through training, dedication, and devotion to the sport, and will inspire new practitioners to begin a practice which leads to a healthier and happier life.’. How does the pressure of competitive sports, which Yoga Asana can turn into goes along with mental health? Isn’t there a difference between training and dedication vs pushing your body and not respecting its limits? After all, there is gymnastics, if you want to promote fitness by showing what impressive things human body is capable of (which is, unfortunately, common for high-level competitions).
The way I see it (and I am not an expert in any way, just a person who unrolls her mat every day because it makes her feel better and happier), is that it takes away the true essence of yoga, whatever it is. As much as I can’t stand all these ‘my yoga is better than your yoga and your yoga is not true yoga’ talks, THIS is not a true yoga. True yoga is what you do on your mat because it makes you feel better and helps you get in your with yourself, not because you hope to make it to the next Olympics. If for some people this is the case, then, perhaps, Olympic Yoga Asana is right for them. And my little quiet guess it that the USA Yoga’s petition has something to do with good old everlasting motivation: money and vanity. Wonder if there’s much balance in those.