“To be true, I must fully accept that at this moment, I can only be what I am . . . no more, no less; however, with the inevitable passing of each moment of time, I will gradually, but surely change . . . to become more or less, better or worse, stronger or weaker. My choice is the direction of change: it is mine alone. The only true competition is this rivalry with my changing self. It is the very basis of the grand eternal plan.” ~~ C. Smith Sumner
How many of you out there in blog land have heard of yoga competitions? They are now being held all over the world, and they’ve been going on in India for hundreds of years. I am probably going to make a few enemies with this post, but I can’t be silent any longer. I think these competitions go against everything yoga is supposed to be about.
Every teacher I’ve ever had has impressed upon me that yoga is not a competition, that I should not worry about what others are doing on their mats, and that as long as I am feeling what I am supposed to be feeling, then I am in the perfect place. I tell my students these very same things in each and every class. So if this is true, then where did these competitions come from, for crying out loud?
If you look at some of these sites that advertise the competitions (i.e., http://www.usayoga.org/, http://i.yogasportsfederation.org/), they say they are doing it to promote the practice of yoga, to get more people on the mat. I don’t know. Do you really think the average person who has never done yoga before would be comfortable getting on a mat if they are not a natural contortionist? I don’t think I would, and if I’d never been exposed to the teachings and all I saw was the people in these competitions, I would probably start looking elsewhere to get my Zen on.
So what is your take on these competitions? Do you think they are a good idea? If so, I would love to know your thoughts as to why…convince me that I am wrong in my stance. I’m open to admitting I am wrong, if someone can convince me how these competitions jive with everything I’ve ever learned from the yoga texts that have governed my practice all these years.