There was a point in my life when I was an active gym member. I loved the dance classes and supplemented them with strength training. My yoga practice then took a back seat.
Then I had a slight injury on my left shoulder. I moved away from strength training until I totally gave it up. I focused more on dancing and revived my yoga practice.
Today, I can no longer stand the energy inside the gym (I only go to use the sauna). It’s too competitive. Sure, I appreciate that people are taking steps towards better health through exercise. But my intention and philosophy for health and wellness just don’t resonate with what a gym offers and with those who frequent them. There is no judgment here. I’m just saying, it isn’t for me — not anymore.
Now that I have a more regular yoga/asana practice, it has become a form of therapy for me. It is one of my spiritual practices. The asanas (poses) and moving through them reflect back to me what I’m going through in my life, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Every practice is different. Each pose teaches me a lesson. There’s always a message for me. A reminder. An aha moment.
So my yoga practice isn’t just a form of physical exercise. Sure, my physical body benefits from it but I have a holistic approach which works best for me.
When I came back to the Philippines in 2010 after my four-year sojourn in Northern California, I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments to living again in this country. (I’m still adjusting and not even sure if I will ever be able to fully adjust.) One thing I’m adjusting to is the kind of yoga practice that’s prevalent in Manila.
I’m happy to see the growing yoga community in Manila. There are now a number of yoga studios to choose from. There are numerous yoga classes to suit one’s schedule and lifestyle. But people practice yoga primarily and merely as a form of physical exercise.
I’ve had conversations with yoga studio owners and teachers and they share my observation. They say that the yoga practitioners are not even beginning to scratch the surface of the true philosophy and meaning of yoga.
But the teachers need to start somewhere in order to effectively introduce yoga, increase awareness and entice people to pick up the practice. And they do this at the physical level.
But their desire and intention is for the students to eventually embrace the philosophy of yoga and incorporate it into their lifestyle. As they deepen their practice, yoga and the asanas will not just be a form of physical exercise but a way of life. It may take awhile but it’s a start. And we all need to start somewhere.
So when I came across this news article posted by savasana addict in Yoga as an Olympic sport – really?, my initial reaction was, you’ve got to be kidding me!
Some sources claim that even in India, where yoga originated, competitions are/were being held, as with some other parts of the world. I still feel this to be counter-intuitive.
As I’m writing this post, the National Yoga Asana Championship is being held in the United States. This is hosted by USA Yoga, the same organization that is rallying for yoga posture or asana competition to become an Olympic sport. Expect then to see more of this:
In the news article Yoga group wants posing to be an Olympic sport by The Associated Press from the National Post, Rajashree Choudhury, founder of USA Yoga reportedly says that “the competitions can be a way to interest people in yoga who might be put off by the spiritual aspect, by showing them the athletic aspect.”
Well then if some people are put off by yoga’s spiritual aspect, then yoga simply isn’t for them. Yoga isn’t a sport and wasn’t intended to be so. Or was there a memo and I didn’t receive it?
Yogis and yoginis, your thoughts?
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