Yoga in the Olympics?

May 11, 2011 / Aaron

Photo: Kyoto Katsura, the women's division champion at the New York Regional Yoga Championship

Some of you probably know that Rajashree and Bikram Choudhury, the husband-and-wife team behind Bikram yoga, are pushing for yoga to be recognized as an Olympic sport. For those of you that don't know the story, the idea can be a little baffling at first.

"Wait, what?" You ask, "Yoga in the Olympics? Isn't that against everything yoga stands for?"

Good question. Yoga is a practice that focuses on inner growth, and accepting yourself. Even the yoga vernacular reflects this: we "practice" yoga, we don't "play" yoga or "do" yoga. Some say that directly conflicts with making yoga a competitive sport.

Others argue that yoga is a set of skills just like anything else, and that those skills can be measured and scored, including things like focus and breathing. Yoga competitions do exist in India, and some people see the Olympics as a natural place for talented athletes, er, yogis, to showcase their skills.

What do you think? Should yoga belong in the Olympics? Should it be a competitive sport?

Photo courtesy of