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Is Yoga a Sport?

March 5th, 2014

During all the Olympics buzz, the call started arising once again to get yoga included as a sport. Some people practice and teach yoga like it’s a sport they are aiming to win at. Of course, sports are wonderful and there’s nothing wrong with winners. But yoga is a rare arena in which it’s possible for everyone to win. We don’t have just one winner. And who would win? Who is the best? The one able to gracefully do the most complex contortions and strength moves? Would these positions be good long term for the body? The “best” are those yogis who use yoga practices in the most effective, efficient way to serve their well being for decades, for a lifetime. How do you measure that in a contest? This sensitivity and awareness in yoga is something each individual must learn to measure for themselves each moment of practice–rather than assign it to judge’s opinion.


It appears to be a very prevalent notion that all skills and activities need to have some sort of a judgment and evaluation attached to become “accountable” and “worthwhile”. What a novel idea to participate in any form of movement that nourishes and soothes the body, mind and spirit and simply let it be just that or whatever yoga would be to an individual. The “it’s never enough” attitude could be up for examination and uprooted when it comes to yoga. This raises the question as to what constitutes a sport?

I have been in many of Ganga’s classes where he has said that there is a yoga for everyone but that does not mean that there is one yoga for everbody.

Thank you for the great article Ganga. Yoga is not a sport. I do however enjoyed seeing the yoga competitions in You-Tube. The competitors being mostly young and somewhat mechanical doing asanas. For young students of yoga, the aspect of ignited Tapas may be in some ways a route to tame their souls and take them away from risky behaviors that are quite common in our society. This is the only way I see yoga in the youth to be competitive. I believe with their times in practicing yoga (the Eight Limbs), yoga philosophy and science per se will sink into their minds and spirits. Namaste.

Yoga may be a form of sport because of its effects in improving body condition. But I think making it a part of the Olympics is another aspect that must be studied thoroughly because in yoga, the practice is performed depending on the practitioner’s need or preference. Thanks for sharing this interesting post!

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