Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yoga as competition?

So last weekend I drove into Manhattan to meet up with some visiting friends. While leaving my hotel I stumbled upon some sort of yoga happening. Of course, I go inside to check it out. There is something going on in the back of the room which is closed off. When I inquire as to what that is I am told that there is a “yoga competition” in progress.  I cannot enter the room unless I pay the $35 admission fee. I decline, but cannot deny the urge to see this. Since my first yoga class 12 years ago, I have always been told that yoga is non-competitive and we must never compare ourselves to others. I am very puzzled by this yoga competition stuff. To be told that this has been happening in India for decades (although I am aware of this) seems a tad hypocritical to me. I truly enjoy seeing my friends and colleagues excel with their asana practice. I love a gravity defying arm balance myself. However, I always remind my students, friends and myself not to lose the true intention of their practice in the asana. I cannot see where this contest aligns with the yamas and niyamas. I try to keep my mind open, as yoga teaches us that change is inevitable and we must deal with it gracefully. As a yoga teacher and human being, I want to be happy and help others be happy as well. I have learned that the ego is the largest drain of happiness within us. I have worked very hard over the years to be free (at least a little bit!) of it so that I may be happier. I really must exclaim that it has worked! This being said I find that I cannot support “Yoga USA”. I have no judgments on those that do. Live and let live. Be happy :)
Love to all,