Hello everybody !!!

I hope you are all fine. Lately I have been pondering about the question of "competition", "exams", "evaluations" ...

Our society seems to be more and more achievement oriented. If you do not "achieve" - and if you cannot prove your achievement - you are nothing, you are a looser, you are a zero. You don't count - it's the winners who matter and even a second place is sometimes not seen as good enough ...

It is important to take note of this state of affairs and of this attitude ... and, I think, to resist it. We feel that there are some "pockets", some "sanctuaries" where this principles of competition should be kept out. For many of us, our inner gardens, the activities we practice for our joy and our unfoldment are part of these "sanctuaries". So is Yoga for many, as can be music, dance, painting, traveling, martial arts, cooking ...

So what about this idea to organize Yoga Competitions, martial arts competitions, music contests etc. ??

Well, I guess as long as we only see the world through the lenses of "dog eats dog", we may miss the potential richness of life.

I remember when I did Karate Do, we practiced our art, that's all. Once in a while there were exams for the belts. Basically as it is said, a belt is only there to hold your trousers. But it is useful to have to face yourself from time to time, to evaluate where you stand, to get some feedback from others on where you are. It may also be an incentive to motivate you in the initial stages.

Our teacher also encouraged us to participate in competitions, in Kata (technique) as well as fighting - and usually he asked us to participate in both. Those who were overcompetitive often got a good lesson out of it, as even if they may have been the starts of their school, they found that there are other amazingly skilled people "out there". The more "shy" ones, had to overcome their shyness ... and learned a lot in the process ... sometimes the simple but fundamental thing that they are able to do things, to get over difficulties, to achieve something through their effort and their focus.

Then, of course, all kinds of perversions do happen. Nowadays, some people don't practice Karate Do anymore but only do "competition preparation", and sometimes even in only one of the aspects, Kata or Fighting ... The competition instead of being part of a larger whole has been turned into the all and everything. This can happen quite easily considering the over all context outlined above.

So this bring us back to our question here : Yoga competition ?? Well, if you understand that Yoga is a way of life with multiple facets, and if that is the way it is transmitted to students, and if that is what is emphasized even during the competitions, well, it can be a wonderful tool.

Of course, Yoga is not sports or acrobatics or competition. But testing yourself, daring to show your skill to others, daring to accept criticism and to work on yourself, realizing that there are other people out there who also have their skills and weaknesses just as you have ... well that seems to be some good and important Yogic lessons.

In the annual Puducherry Yoga Competition, the organizers emphasize skill in Asanas (only one limb of Ashtanga Yoga) but also theoretical knowledge and attitude. In the video above you can witness the performance (Asanas and Yoga Theory) of the winner of the 2008 Yoga Puducherry Competition in her category.

It can give you a glimpse of what Yoga competition can be about.

I would like to add, that the winner, Sowmiya, a student of Yoganjali Natyalayam, is not being pushed by her teachers into becoming a "Acrobatics monkey". All the students there practice their Yoga step by step in a very holistic way ... and none of them would take the "Yoga competition" for the ONE GOAL.

A word of caution : if I am posting this video also, it is to illustrate that through balanced practice, even quite spectacular physical skills can be developed. But I would like to emphasize that this is NOT the main focus of the practice. It is in a certain way, only a side effect, even though a beautiful one.

So be aware : there is much more to Yoga than acrobatics and the acrobatic skill of a person will not give you any clue on the Yogic understanding of anybody - so open your eyes and practice your discernment !!!

It may be worth to try to take off our "competition glasses" to see the world ... we may realize that then even competition may have turned into something else : one way among others to share beauty and to deepen the knowledge of ourSelves.

It may be possible to change our glasses ... Why not give it a try ??

A lot of good Yogic energies and inspirations to all of you !!!

Christoph

(31.01.2010)

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Yoga Marga - Yoga Inspirations

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    Hello everybody !!!

    Enjoy this channel !!! May it bring you beautiful Yoga inspirations and contribute to broaden your horizon on this beautiful path and art !!!

    Christoph

    by Christoph

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