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Yoga as an Olympic Sport?

Photo courtesy of Terriko/Flickr

As an admittedly hypercompetitive person, I would normally support the push to make, well, pretty much anything into a sport with a score. I say things like, “Booyah!” after whipping into a premier parking spot just ahead of another driver. My own mother refuses to play Catch Phrase with me after a certain Christmas break incident a few years back.

Still, there are activities that even I would argue should not be made into competitive events. Yoga is one of them.

Apparently, the founder of USA Yoga does not agree. In fact, she is leading the effort to make yoga an Olympic sport.

I guess the logistics could be ironed out — I can envision a point system similar to those used to score figure skating and gymnastics. But at the end of the day, can you really “win” at yoga?

I’ve only taken a few yoga classes in my lifetime, at the suggestion of one of my track coaches. She saw it as a way to help strengthen my core muscles and prevent injury. I saw it as torturously boring, probably due to its complete lack of competitive elements. Most of the yoga enthusiasts I know — and in Missoula, there are quite a few of them — say they do it as a way to relax and “center” themselves, whatever that means.

To me, the purpose of yoga (self-reflection) doesn’t really jive with the purpose of sporting events (winning). And maybe it’s just me, but I doubt they’d sell many tickets for the Olympic yoga match. Plus, it would make terrible television. (“Wow, Bob, can you believe how flexible this guy is? Now that is a gold-medal stretch if I ever saw one.”)

While I have nothing against those who enjoy contorting themselves into weird, uncomfortable positions and saying things like “namaste,” I just can’t imagine cheering for someone who is in downward dog.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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