an officemate who knows of my addiction to yoga (well, by now who doesn't?) excitedly showed me a yoga article in the philippine daily inquirer that came out the other day. knowing beforehand that its appearing on a newspaper of general readership, i pretty much know what to expect--not quite lengthy, two to three pictures, the bulk of description being more of the studio that probably paid to be featured rather than focusing on the asanas (yoga poses)--just a tease, not really delivering the goods. well, turning the page i was surprised; as to the pleasantness or the unpleasantness of it, i urge you dear reader to go on, and find out for yourself. hehehe.
the article, by tristan choa is curiously titled "can yoga and competition go together?". the blabber brain in me already has a ready answer, just looking at the title, but my heart whispered, "go on, gentle... read; don't be carried away--for all you know its just a catchy title". following my gentle heart, i read--sentence upon sentence dealing with asana and all things yoga flowed ; all the while marveling at the the lean and toned physique of the model who graced the pages, first in standing bow, the next one in full upward bow pose.
the verdict? uhm. compete? to prepare for a possible inclusion of yoga to the olympics? uhm.. ah.. why?
been practicing yoga for 3 years now. its an on and off practice but it still is one, no matter how sparse it could be at times. i value my practice for the strength and flexibility benefits i get from it despite choosing not to dabble with the whole religious mumbo side; you won't see me knotted in pretzel with mala beads wrapped around my neck, chanting mantras dedicated to shiva, thats for sure (tho i have mala beads, just for the sheer joy of owning one, hehehe).
back in the days when i still attended yoga classes, i was introduced to ashtanga, the more athletic type of yoga that would have you sweating profusely by the bucket because of the internal heat generated by the pace of the practice. it was also sometimes called athletic yoga by some teachers, and fittingly so, because its meant to complement any athlete's chosen sport. put side by side the more meditative branches of yoga, you can say its the freak, man! whatever the case, practicing ashtanga alone, with just your breath to keep you company, retains yoga's meditative qualities--every breath and movement is a step toward a more relaxed state of being, if you just put your mind into it. having said that, i was aghast reading tristan's article, stating that there's an international initiative circulating to petition the International Olympic Committee to include yoga as a demonstration sport; the upcoming Philippine Yoga Asana Championship on november 24 could possibly prepare potential yoga athletes for the big event, should the committee happen to give in to the petitioners.
this isn't really meant to be an i-hate-you article. yoga die-hards could run to the event like mad cattle for all i care. i'm just registering my opinion in this, my corner of the blogosphere. as to the initial question if i was pleased with what i've read, uhm.. its good that yoga is being given a fair amount of exposure nowadays, so that's a plus point to my "pleasantly pleased" vote. but reading the article, and especially going through the mechanics of the competition (eg. that you have to finish performing certain poses for a certain number of minutes), well its a big swish to the negative side of my scale. sure, yoga teaches you to compete, but it should be with yourself, not on how long you'd be able to hold a pose compared to others. so, uhm... yup, not pleased.