Yoga, an Olympic sport?
The international yoga community doesn’t think it’s a far stretch.
And local yoga enthusiasts have joined the drive to introduce yoga to the world.
On Saturday, the second annual Alberta Provincial Hatha Yoga Asana Championship was held at the Scott Block Theatre in downtown Red Deer. About 30 men, women and youth from across Alberta, including four from Red Deer, showed their talent.
Josh Biro, lead organizer and co-owner of Bikram Yoga Red Deer, said the underlying goal behind the competition was to demonstrate yoga postures and inspire others.
“Yoga embodies the true part of competition completely,” said Biro.
“It is showing that a competitor is really only competing with themselves and to show good demonstration quality around them not competing against other people.”
Biro said for all the same reasons people say yoga should not be in the Olympics are the very reasons why yoga needs to be in the Olympics.
“Coming from a complete place of ego or me versus you is a little skewed few of what true competition should be in our opinion,” said Biro.
“Yoga embodies the more true aspect of what that is.”
Biro said regional yoga competitions in Canada, particularly in Alberta, are starting to gain stride but haven’t yet reached the popularity as seen in the United States.
The competitions are part of the collective effort to bring yoga to the Olympics.
“We all have the theory if little kids are watching yoga competitors they would want to be participating in yoga as well,” said Biro.
“It will bring yoga to the whole world.”
Yoga competitor Dan Doyle, a retired RCMP officer, has practised yoga for 13 months. Doyle supports yoga as an Olympic sport.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Doyle.
“We’ve seen the transition in the Winter Olympic with regards to curling and other sports brought in.
“It goes to show different types of physical activities can be brought to not to professional athletes but to the average person to inspire them to do. That’s one great thing about yoga.
“Young, old and in between – anybody can do it.”
A 10-year yoga veteran Jenna Rosene said anything that gets more people interested in and involved in yoga the better.
“I think the more people doing yoga the better our communities will be, the better the world will be as a whole,” said Rosene, who co-owns Bikram Yoga Red Deer with Biro. “I think anything that can create positive buzz or interest in yoga the better.”
In Saturday’s competition, the participants were not pitted against one another. Instead they were judged on individual growth.
They were scored on grace, focus, strength, balance, breath, control, depth and stillness. Some of the athletes have practised yoga for one year while others have practiced for upwards of 10 years.
Competitors performed five mandatory postures and two others of their choice.
The top three youth, men and women with the highest scores will advance to the Western Canadian competition in Calgary in May.