I practice Bikram yoga almost every day. At least 3x per week. It's hard. Really hard. It's hot. Really hot. Yes. And it's worth it. Really worth it. It's the single most important thing that has changed my life. I wish everyone would try it. And do it. Regularly.
YOGA ASANA COMPETITION.
Every year there are yoga asana competitions around the world, where yogis perform 5 required postures then 2 additional postures of their choice. The grace, poise, determination, strength and accomplishment of the competitors is very inspiring, to say the least.
You can watch reruns of the competition here: http://www.ghoshcup.com
OMG YOGA IS NOT NOT NOT ABOUT COMPETITION. THAT'S STUPID. SO STUPID.
I KNOW. Yoga community war zone. *Sigh* Some say yoga should not be about competition. In fact, it's not. AT ALL. Yoga asana competition is about being the best you can be. As competitors train to get better, they inspire the other competitors to get better too. As they get better, they inspire the entire yoga community to also get better. Collective betterment applies, I believe, not just to competitors, but also to studio communities.
The 2011 women's yoga asana champion Yukari Miwa from Japan (the picture of humbleness as she walked up on stage to get her medal and trophy) said:
"The only person you can beat is yourself."
WORDS FROM BIKRAM HIMSELF.
Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram's Yoga College of India and creator of the 26 posture series that has changed many, many bodies and lives, said a few things a the end of the competition too:
- It's almost impossible to say with a language until you feel it, experience it, know it, do it. (About his yoga series)
- Yogi do posture to bring body and mind together with concentration. Concentration make life better with body, mind and spirit.
- Spread it (yoga) to make world, not better world. But best and perfect world.
- Yoga is the only subject in the world that can keep you alive as long as you want however you want.
- No one is going to give you reward. You reward yourself. Every day when you finish a class, you get an Olympic gold medal yourself.
- When you do yoga you open every door and every window. Not only of the earth, but the world.
- Beauty is the finest and the perfect creation of the nature of the god. (On beauty of perfectly executed postures)
An Olympian gymnast (I forget his name) was at the point in his career where he had to soon retire. When he started practicing yoga, his body recovered from the harmful repetitive strains he put on it every day to practice his sport. HE said, "No matter who you are, no matter how old you are, it (yoga) helps you become a better, more evolved human being.