Happy Healthy and Fit

Monday, April 2, 2012

Is Yoga a Competition?

After reading an article about the title winner of the second USA national asana championship, it has left me contemplating the paradox of seeing the words yoga and competition in the same sentence.

By definition, yoga means to yoke or create union. Yoking and union are about collaboration and connection. On a individual level, yoga can be understood as unifying mind and body or breath and movement. On a global level, yoga asana, which means the physical practice was designed to allow the practitioners to sit for long periods of time in a meditative state sending and receiving great love at a quantum level to unify the world.

Competition is about separation and ego; even when you compete with yourself.

It is not that I am for or against a yoga competition, just that it is important to understand that the physical practice of yoga comprises only 12.5% percent of true yoga. If you have been practicing yoga for a short or long period of time and not experiencing all the amazing benefits yet, do not be discouraged.

According to the Yoga Sutras of Patajanli, there are 8 components or 8 limbs of yoga. The physical practice is only one limb. Know that practicing yoga is the path to dwindling impurities of mind and body. Trust that the light of understanding will shine forth with disciplined practice and illuminate the way to self-awareness and truth. Even if your physical practice is not where you want to be, know that 87.5% percent of the practice exists in the other 7 limbs.

You may find inspiration in some of the physical poses that are demonstrated during a competition, but if you find them to be intimidating, then to me the event is a failure. Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is the path to a non-violent relationship with yourself, with others and with the world. Yoga is about sharing.

True yoga is about ascending ego and seeing yourself as pure consciousness. To turn this into a competition seems to poison the roots. Perhaps there is good intention in spreading the word about yoga, but the technique seems off. The fact that it has survived on its own for over 5000 years is evidence enough that it is the Truth.

Notice if you turn your own practice into a competition with yourself or others. Notice if you do not practice because you think you will never be able to 'move' like that. Yoga asana or movement is only one of eight limbs. May your yoga practice be a nice balance of all eight limbs and a means to collaboration, with yourself, others and the world.

Being Happy Healthy and Fit means understanding yoga is not a competition or separation, but a yoking or union. May beings everywhere be Happy, Healthy Fit, Free and United!

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