Quickie: Asana Championships?

Every once in a while, I see articles like this one from The New York Times covering yoga asana championships.

While I appreciate both healthy competition and the aesthetic lines of “classic” or “idea” manifestations of yoga poses, the idea of a yoga asana competition baffles me. If the whole point is not what you look like, then the whole point is not what you look like.



I'm here. I like stuff. Some other stuff, I like less.

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3 comments on “Quickie: Asana Championships?
  1. Caitlin says:

    I am also baffled by this, and I say this as someone who loves a good dose of healthy competition! It seems odd that a spiritual practice could be turned into a contest of sorts. And isn’t part of what is leading a lot of people to get injured while doing yoga IS that competitive drive, where people are doing asanas beyond their abilities because they see other people doing them? IDK seems like this whole thing is just a really bad idea.

    • Tori says:


      Even with the understanding that a physical practice can prepare the body for focus and meditation (something I do subscribe to — some schools describe it as the physical practice “purifying” the body to grow spiritually), I’ve always learned that the emphasis on the poses should be on what the individual yogi is feeling rather than what they look like. So if, say, my king dancer (the pose depicted at the beginning of the article) is wobbly as fuck but is teaching me: 1) physically, to stabilize my core and draw to the center line; 2) how to respond when my life is wobbly as fuck — that is a kind of awesome that’s not going to come out in such an asana contest.

  2. Autumn says:

    I cannot BELIEVE this exists! I mean, I can. But I can’t! I’m no purist but this is pretty much the antithesis of yoga as I understand it.

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