As the London Olympics 2012 came to a close Yoga Wellbeing’s team and family couldn’t have been more inspired.Taking part in training we can see that more and more Olympic Athletes are using yoga to help them in their training. Although the idea of yoga being used in the Olympics seems to confuse the core message of yoga. Rajashree Choudhury, wife of Bikram Choudhury, is trying to make yoga an official sport in the 2016 Olympics. The question is should yoga be involved in the Olympics?
Firstly the definition of yoga is to unite, to join, to bring together. Competition isn’t about uniting, it’s about forming teams. We think a little bit of healthy competition is good in certain ways, it helps us grow and strive. Most sports in the Olympics have an end goal. To get to the finish line, to perform the perfect dive, to jump a certain distance, to score enough points to win a game. It’s was really interesting to speak to speak directly to one of the team’s sports psychologists and hear that many of the athletes only think of the end goal and suffer huge bouts depression after achieving.
There is no end goal in yoga and there is no perfect pose. It’s completely subjective; there is no judging. Athletes on teams all hit a certain peak and then it’s impossible to maintain their level of training and athleticism forever. Yoga is about longevity, it is a life long practice. Yoga helps us age in a healthy balanced way when done in a mindful way. If the yoga competition were based on contortion, how balanced can that be?
Yoga isn’t about performing, it’s about informing. We’re constantly informing ourselves more about our bodies, our minds, our relationships. The most important tool we can gain from practicing yoga is becoming our own best friend then learning how to be a good friend to others. The idea of judging ourselves against others in a practice that is meant for uniting just seems a huge contradiction.
Yoga is an important tool for athletes to help them focused when they are competing in their sports. I have admire the skill, determination, focus and commitment that the Olympic athletes possess. I think yoga is the perfect way to reconnect with the idea that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about doing the best you can in every moment. We’ve also had feedback on personal yoga practice and how rehabilitating, centering and grounding it can be.
Yoga is an invaluable tool for all of us. I’d rather it not become about a performance; but to allow it to be a lifelong practice, one that means much more than who can hold a shoulderstand the longest.