I'd encourage anyone who practices yoga to read the article. I think it does a nice job of not necessarily 100% picking sides; it has a healthy balance of pro and anti stances. Plus, let's be real, it encourages a conversation about yoga.
I identify myself as someone who practices yoga; I consciously daily try to make an effort to follow the first limb, the Yamas (oh hey, Patanjali). Yes, I love doing the asanas as a way to destress and workout, but only within the past year have I dived deeper into everything that yoga is and has been for thousands of years. In my opinion, before reading this article, yoga is my own personal practice; in no way should I ever, in any form, be in competition with someone else - especially when practicing the asanas!
I mean full disclosure, I'm human, so sometimes I maybe nail a pose and hope that someone saw and maybe thought, "shoot good job girl!!" But I also often have to catch myself when I maybe look over and the person next to me is flipped up into an effortless handstand and I'm just flopping like a fish on my mat. Our bodies are all different and thankfully they don't all do the same exact things - how vanilla that would be!
While reading this article, I went back and forth...thinking, "hmm yeah good point..." then, "OMG no why would you do that?!" to, "Ugh I'm so over hearing about this guy" (you'll know who I mean once you read it!). I appreciated that this article brought up these thoughts and reactions within me; I honestly enjoy exploring why these thoughts pop up within me.
When I saw the article's title, I immediately had my own preconceived notions about what this "competition" would be. I had my initial reaction, then as I was reading I had several different reactions...and then I was left feeling honestly kind of ambivalent.
Who am I to judge how someone lives their yoga? Who am I to say what is right and what is wrong?
Part of my path as a yogi is to avoid causing others (and myself) harm, and to be truthful. Therefore, I cannot judge someone else and I cannot say that what they do is wrong. It may be wrong for me, and that's ok - I'll own it. If someone chooses to engage in competitive yoga, then let them do it - I support that person. My one hope is that they recognize it is not a competition, or at least so the article explains; and I hope that they are able to appreciate their bodies, the practice, their breath...without feeling discouraged about a score they receive.
Here's one last thought...the article mentions how competitive yoga may become an Olympic sport. The person that interview states: "People don't think of yoga as an intense sport," says Encinia. "It might look effortless, but it requires so much hard work. Most people don't take it seriously — they think of yoga as meditation — but being an Olympic sport would make it reach so many more people."
Can you guess what my issue was with that statement?
Why are we trying to reach more people?! This is not a cult. This is not something that other people NEED to do. This is not a club people need to join. We don't get commission for people engaging in yoga. This is for anyone and everyone who is willing and wants to live breathe be yoga. We are not in the business of recruiting!
Yes, this may very well be my own issue, but I personally do not talk about yoga and write about yoga because I want people to join me in my practice. I talk about it because it gives me pleasure and has significantly improved my wellbeing and health. I write about it because maybe somewhere for someone it's helpful to hear how it has helped me. And sure, maybe to my friends I'll say "you should come to yoga with me!" but I'm not trying to get anyone to follow my path. It's my own path, and we all walking along on different ones.
People know what yoga is, and they either like it or they don't (which the article points out). It may not be for everyone, and that's ok. And yes, you could argue, if everyone became a yogi maybe then we'd have world peace, yada yada...but we're all human, we're all individuals, and some people aren't ready for yoga yet in this lifetime; that's ok, we'll all survive.