Union between Yoga and Competition

Dec 10th, 2017

Quick!!! What comes to your mind when you hear the word Competition? Probably the first words that come to mind are Winner, Loser or maybe Champion. Think Fast!!!! What comes to mind when you hear the word Yoga? Perhaps peace, meditation or self-realization. It is amazing how powerful words are and how emotionally attached one can be to their meaning. For some, the words Competition and Yoga do not belong side by side. But what if they could live in perfect union with each other?

A competition is simply a test of skill or ability. But for the majority of people, the word brings up a lot of emotions about being judged or not being good enough. It also brings up the idea of competing against others. Training for a competition also requires a lot of hard work, dedication and determination. Choosing to compete can be one of the most difficult steps towards being a champion. It is a very vulnerable place to put yourself on display. But it is that vulnerability that opens up the possibility of being better than you know yourself to be.

Hatha Yoga is the only branch of Yoga that can be practised as an outward expression and seen by others. Practising Hatha Yoga creates a marriage between the body and mind so that they can work in harmony with each other. And when they are in harmony with each other, one can break through all self -perceived notions of limitations. To witness another human being perform postures with great strength, flexibility and humility is inspiring. To be the human being that has broken through personal mental and physical barriers to execute difficult postures creates confidence and faith in one’s self.

I have participated in Yoga competitions and have also coached first time participants. Standing in front of others to share where you are in your Yoga practice is like walking into another dimension. For me, the experience causes me to step in to the deepest state of focus and concentration. It is how I learned what one point focus truly was and helped me go deeper into postures. As a coach, I am truly inspired watching the transformation of some first time participants. Many are breaking through their fears of standing up in front of others and not being perfect. You learn from your experience that if you fall out of a posture, it’s not the end of the world and your ultimate goal at that moment is to do YOUR very best. At the end of your performance, you know what you want to improve and that motivates you to deepen your practice and continue your journey.

In the end, the winner of a Yoga competition will demonstrate what a marriage between competition and yoga really is. It will be very clear to all that great dedication, time and effort has resulted in an effortless performance of postures that seem impossible with precision and grace. That yogi will shine brightly with humility and inspire others to believe anything is possible and perhaps even inspire others to begin their own personal Yoga journey.

Sounds like a beautiful marriage to me?

About the Author
Tara Jimenez has been a Certified Bikram Yoga Instructor since Spring 2003. She came to Asia in 2006 when she taught in Hong Kong. Since 2007, she has been teaching at Bikram Yoga City Hall in Singapore. Tara enjoys the practice in the heat which helps her go deeper into the postures, while challenging and adding another dimension to her Yoga practice. Tara read Art History at the University of New Mexico.

Asana Journal

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