Postcards From The Heat

Yoga Competition: Perspiration and Inspiration

6 Comments 09 November 2009

Harrrumph! was one response when I wrote here about my awe at seeing amazing postures during a recent yoga competition. “Can you win at yoga?” the blog YogaDork sniffed when Yoga Lily waxed rhapsodic about October’s 7th Annual New York Regional Yoga Championship.

Yoga Lily would like to go on record as saying that every person who does yoga is a winner. And that “yoga competition” might be a misnomer, more accurately called a posture competition. Yoga is much more than physical skill, to say the least, but the competition is only about physical skill, only about one limb of the magnificent, munificent body of yoga.

In fact, forget yoga for a minute and think of skiing.

The pleasures of skiing lure people to an afternoon’s jaunt on the slopes. They go for a smooth slide on clean snow in fresh air, for the silence of nature’s noises, for the power of speed, for the joy of whoosh and curve. Olympic skiers probably think of none of that when competing, but only of how fast, how efficient, how perfect, how to use and show ultimate physical skill. What’s joy got to do with it?

Likewise, a yoga competition, which Bikram is campaigning for to be included in the international Olympics, is about perfection of the physical aspects of yoga. Enlightenment has nothing to do with it.

And yet, all that striving for a maximum, all that discipline, all that slavish devotion to form, all that builds character, whether it is intentional, as in yoga, or incidental, as in more typically athletic pursuits.

The American inventor Thomas Alva Edison quipped that genius is 99 percent perspiration and 1 percent inspiration. In Bikram yoga, it is easy enough to sweat, thank you. Inspiration is more elusive. But the perfection and commitment I saw at the competition ratified my feeling for the simple beauty of the poses. So while I did not compete at the championship, I walked away with a prize, a very profound, genius prize.

Namaste,
Yoga Lily

BIkram Yoga NYC - who has written 198 posts on Postcards From The Heat.

Yoga Lily has been practicing intensively in our studios for more than three years. She was inspired to begin this blog by the myriad benefits the yoga brings her. Yoga Lily lives in Manhattan with her two daughters, an oversized German Shepherd, and a Russian Blue cat.

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6 Comments so far

  1. Panda says:

    Thanks, that is a very good contribution. I found it via MSN and immediately incorporated into my feedreader. I am pleased to soon be back here to read again! greetings

  2. tx! i try to keep it real. namaste, yoga lily

  3. Rex Behrends says:

    I am a long time watcher and I just thought I’d stop by and say hello there for the very first time. I truly take pleasure in your posts. Thank you

  4. Blessing says:

    Seventy percent of success in life is showing up. ~ Woody Allen


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Bikram Yoga NYC opened its doors in August 1999 and became Manhattan's first Bikram Yoga Studio! Owners Donna Rubin and Jennifer Lobo had both been avid practitioners of Bikram Yoga in other cities and knew that no city needed Bikram Yoga more than New York!

Our blogger, Yoga Lily has been practicing intensively in our studios for more than two years. She was inspired to begin this blog by the myriad benefits the yoga brings her. Yoga Lily lives in Manhattan with her two daughters, an oversized German Shepherd, and a Russian Blue cat.

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