Ashtanga Yoga to be Demonstration Sport in Beijing 2008 Olympics

With 500 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, we’ve just learned that Ashtanga Yoga was chosen to become a demonstration sport at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, joining BMX cycling!

beijing-2008-yoga.jpg

pictogram representing yoga at the 2008 Olympics

Yoga has been considered for a long time, but due to its non-competitive nature it had never made it before. The organisers feel that with the inherent implicit competition present in Ashtanga Yoga, it was not too much of a stretch to include it as a sport. Rajashree Choudhury, who organized yoga competitions in the past, estimated that India has held yoga pose competitions for about 100 years, and recent contests have sprouted up in Brazil and Japan. Says a famous teacher who wished to remain anonymous:

Finally it will make it more acceptable to openly ask “what posture are you at?”

Another hurdle faced by the Olympic committee was which style of yoga to choose, since there are hundreds in existence.

“We felt Ashtanga was a natural choice, with its predetermined sequence and various series of practice. Iyengar was too slow for TV, Bikram yoga too revealing, Anusara yoga too touchy-feely, and Vinyasa, well, too free-form” said an official.

beijing-2008-logo.jpg

Beijing 2008

The event will be structured similarly to the decathlon. There will be 6 different rounds held for men and women, each representing a series in Ashtanga. Competitors who make it past the first round of the Primary Series will then compete in the Second Series round and so forth. “We think that Sharath will win because he is the only one in the world who knows the sixth series” said an old-timer, “but that should not make it any less interesting.”

Judging will be similar to gymnastics, with yogis and yoginis evaluated on various aspects of their practice: depth of breath, bandha and dristi control, levels of sweat and flexibility. There was even a call to have an artistic interpretation score but it was rejected by the traditionalist faction of the Olympic committee.

Prana and Nike are already vying to be the official suppliers of the competitors’ shorts.

We cannot wait until August 8 2008 at 8:08 and 8 seconds!

18 Comments »

  1. Anne said,

    April 1, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    April Fools!!

  2. jivamukti said,

    April 1, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    That’s what I thought too, Anne. :-)

  3. ralph said,

    April 2, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    too bad it’s not real!
    it would be soo interesting to see lol.

  4. laksmi said,

    April 2, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    nice try–lulu lemon did something like this a year or so ago…

  5. adarsh said,

    April 2, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    “Iyengar was too slow for TV, Bikram yoga too revealing, Anusara yoga too touchy-feely, and Vinyasa, well, too free-form” said an official.”

    now that’ s a good line

  6. Upendra Arya said,

    April 3, 2007 at 7:35 am

    Yes Ashtanga only can be a Olympic game as Gimnastic,but then we should not be calling it as yoga. it is Ashtanga Viñasa Gimnastic.

  7. wendy spies said,

    April 4, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    wow, for about half a day i couldn’t decide which was more disturbing – the competition itself or the idea that sharath would compete and win because he was further along! then i realized it was a joke – doh! what a great april fool’s!

  8. tracy said,

    April 4, 2007 at 4:34 pm

    Hee hee. Philippe is good at that…

    April 1, 2006

    which goes with

    April 1, 2006 redux

    cheers,
    t

  9. vero said,

    May 2, 2007 at 8:41 am

    don’t u know that exists yoga world competitions?? since 1988 (don’t remember exactly) every year , these kind of competitions are taking place in different countries. but yoga is not a sport, is a life style, a phylosophy and art way of living. this year it’ll be in mexico (d.f.) june 23&24th… bye!!!!!!!

  10. Shar said,

    July 11, 2007 at 4:46 am

    what the west won’t do to twist and exploit anything. yoga with BMX cycling-turns my stomach. how sad–and there are actually those excited–sounds like so many have been sucked in by the those attempting to make yoga a trend–the ancient true yoga masters are reeling from this i’m sure. ever notice these teachers are all teaching western students? no indian students–no indian teachers getting certified–only westerners by the yoga masters from the east–at least they can keep a handle on a part of their rich yogic history.

  11. Shar said,

    July 11, 2007 at 4:46 am

    what the west won’t do to twist and exploit anything. yoga with BMX cycling-turns my stomach. how sad–and there are actually those excited–sounds like so many have been sucked in by the those attempting to make yoga a trend–the ancient true yoga masters are reeling from this i’m sure. ever notice these teachers are all teaching western students? no indian students–no indian teachers getting certified–only westerners by the yoga masters from the east–at least they can keep a handle on a part of their rich yogic history and make and share in the exploitation.

  12. Luciana said,

    July 20, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Recently | gave up to practice Ashtanga Yoga in competitive form. I realized that I was just trying to do the best and beautiful serie, as a cirque du soleil artist. I was becoming a faqir or a contorcionist. The remakable effect of this type of practice was the worsen of my ego and a mind without rest.
    Today my performance worsened but I recovered the well being sensation after a practice. I feel better my breath and the sensations of the body easening the practice and letting go my desire to win and the desire for results. I feel that I found myself again and I am more in peace.
    Reading this news I was shocked and I´m asking myself if I was right in the past and now I am going into opposite way of yoga. If Ashtanga Yoga is a competitive sport so I´m not a ashtangi. Another question. Will we have in the future ashtangis stars sponsored by Nike or Adidas in inflating ego advertisements? Oh, awful!

  13. Gopalji said,

    July 29, 2007 at 12:41 am

    The World Yoga Championship is every year please see http://www.worldyogachampionship.org

    The rules of yoga are in the way of spiritual sports, please the spiritual rules of yoga competition. Is very different from Gymnastics.

    International Yoga Sports Federation http://www.yogasports.org is member of International Yoga Federation http://www.internationalyogafederation.net

    the governing body of Global Yoga Community

    Yoga Confederation of India http://www.yogaofindia.org

  14. Gopalji said,

    July 29, 2007 at 12:46 am

    The spiritual rules of Yoga Sports as spiritual sports by Global Yoga Community

    You have four branch for competition
    1) Athletic Yoga
    2) Artsitic Yoga
    3) Rhythmic Yoga
    4) Yoga Asanas

    http://www.yogasports.org/rules.doc
    http://www.yogaofindia.org/rules.doc

  15. vinayak said,

    November 15, 2007 at 1:20 am

    hi,
    If you don’t mind Please see Vinayak yoga on ORKUT.

    You can see my photo’s over there.

  16. ajit said,

    March 30, 2008 at 2:54 am

    it’s nice to see yoga in olympics but the important question arising is that who in india will finalize the team, as their are more than one fedaration in yoga. more important will be to know how government is going to select one federation as a decision maker and which one will be the luckiest one.

  17. tracy said,

    August 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    An actual serious note. Serious, really!

    Yoga in the Olympics from NPR:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91975547

  18. Yoga…in the Olympics???? « The Yogini from Manila said,

    August 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    [...] Ashtanga News, they reported that ashtanga yoga could be included as a demonstration sport in Beijing. I just [...]

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