Competitive Yoga–an Oxymoron

There’s a new trend. It’s called competitive yoga. Rajashree and Bikram Choudhury who are the owners of the Bikram yoga studios are also behind the movement, although the couple do not want the two confused and have begun heir own non-profit to promote the idea. Though right now there is a series of competitions which will hopefully go from local to regional to national, the goal is to make it to the Olympics, maybe by 2020.
I must admit that I am among those who doubt the whole idea, not because it isn’t doable, or that the Choudhurys will succeed, just that competitive yoga is an oxymoron. Yoga is an old Sanskrit word meaning union, union with the divine. That implies partaking of a world where cooperation reigns and competition does not. It speaks of values unifying the two aspects of who we are, the outer and the inner. It addresses how to bring the inner into the outer. For any one with knowledge of the inner-self, of the inner world of which it is a part, it is difficult to see how yoga can be made competitive without making it devoid of its spiritual underpinning.