BIKRAM Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga – a popular form of Hatha yoga that sees practitioners doing postures for 90 minutes in a room heated to about 40 deg C – has one big ambition: to turn yoga into an Olympic sport.
He and his wife, Rajashree, both recognised yoga champions from India, set up the International Yoga Asana Championships – a United States-based worldwide competition that got its start in 2003. The competition has now seen seven instalments, and is the first step towards Olympic recognition.
Singaporeans are making a name for themselves in the competition – which is a controversial event, because, to many people, the idea of competition goes against the philosophy and spirit of yoga. Still, such competitions are common in the birthplace of yoga – India.
The philosophy of yoga emphasizes self-acceptance and inner growth. Although yoga does tend to attract people who are limber, the physical poses, or asanas, are only one aspect of the practice; others include chanting, meditation and reading Sanskrit.
But can you believe that there seems to be a serious move to include a new event in the 2012 or 2020 Olympics? In an article on The Wall Street Journal Asia, John Krich writes that India is planning to make a pitch for New Delhi to be the venue of this Olympics — and they want yoga to be included as an event!
Plus don’t forget that you can find yoga communities all over the world.