Giving Asana a Bad Name?

Several years ago, I practiced Bikram at a studio on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. That’s where I first heard of competitive yoga. I had mixed feelings about it then, and I have to admit, I still do. After watching this short piece from New York magazine, I’m wondering how other people feel about this.

On the one hand, we normal people hardly ever get to asana in their full realization, except in illustrations and magazines. So it really is beautiful and inspiring to watch. But that’s also exactly the problem. By asserting that there is a “perfect” way to do a posture, are we encouraging people to go beyond their limits to injury?

Most of us have a competitive spirit, or at least a judgmental voice. I feel it’s the job of yoga to quell that voice. Of course, I think it’s important to push your edge, physically and mentally. And I do appreciate that there is a ‘full realization of the posture’ to work toward. But there’s just something about this asana grading that does not sit well with me.

What do you think of competitive yoga – beautiful or dangerous?


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