Why isn’t yoga in the Olympics?

It’s an insane workout… more so than say, shooting. And the perfection of poses could be measured similarly to that of gymnastics or rhythmic gymnastics… So what gives?

Rhythmic Gymnastics… or Pincha Mayurasana?

I really wanted to post something about the Olympics this week, well, because it’s a big dot deal and everyone is watching it. What I didn’t want to do is post about the same ol same ol – i.e., Olympic athletes using yoga to train. Athletes who have overcome all odds. Medal rankings. Broken records. Meditation and Olympic training.

And I thought about it… and I realized…. the one ‘sport’ I engage in four days a week- the only physical activity in which I participate- (yes, I know I need to do more cardio) is yoga!!

So is it crazy that yoga isn’t a competitive sport like archery or weight lifting or ribbon twirling?

When I looked around on this topic there were actually several articles addressing exactly this- from real news outlets too- not just Mother Earth’s yoga studio.

CBS News, Time, Huffington Post, and the The Seattle Times all asked the same question… why isn’t yoga an Olympic sport? The Seattle Times blog had a poll, and currently most people think yoga should be an Olympic event.

And guess what else? There are yoga competitions… and there is a push for it to become an Olympic sport. This is the goal of  United States Yoga Federation. Their web site actually shows yoga competition in action!

The main argument against it is that competitiveness goes against the very nature of yoga. Competing against others is not the primary goal. I, however, see it as a chance to better our yoga practice. I mean, that is why I signed up for Yoga Teacher Training… to be the best I could be at yoga poses. I still have a long way to go… but what better way for these amazing athletes to perfect their practice, be recognized for it, and inspire others?

One could also argue that it may not be as riveting to watch as say, a swimming relay, or flips off a diving board or vault. But take one look at  this amazing Equinox video featuring the South Bay’s own Briohny Smyth. Tell me your eyes are not mesmerized. Some of you may have already seen this video. It never gets old to me. It is something I aim to achieve one day. Her athleticism cannot be denied… why not have these supreme athletes show us what is possible in yoga- and give us goals in which to strive?

Equinox Yoga – Project DSTLLRY from DSTLLRY on Vimeo.

If you want to attempt one of Briohny’s amazing moves, you can check out my previous post on Handstand… or, here are the steps to Tripod Headstand (my favorite pose), aka Sirsasana B.

1. Begin with your hands and knees on the mat. Lower the top of your head to the floor so it’s in front of your hands. Elbows will be directly over your wrists, you want to see your finger tips.

2. Once your head and hands feel stable, straighten both legs and walk your feet towards your face as far as you can.

3. Shift your hips over your shoulders, and keep your hands planted firmly on the mat. You can place knees on elbows/triceps for clown pose, if you don’t want to extend the legs upward.

4. Really use the shoulders to lift up, your shoulders should be the stabilizer. You should not feel a lot of pressure on your head. Lift legs into the air, and pull shoulders away from ears. Use the core- really really engage the core, squeeze legs together as if a block were between your thighs, and flex the feet.

5. Lower legs, and come into Child’s pose for counter balance.

If you want an alternative, use two blocks, tall side up against a wall, and ‘rest’ shoulders on the blocks when moving into headstand.


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