What is competitive yoga?

Photo: Yoga with April

Photo: Yoga with April

Source: Archives.Chicagotribune

By: Julie Deardorff

Yoga may be reverentially called a “practice,” but Bikram Choudhury is pushing for it to be a competitive—and perhaps one day Olympic—sport.

In competitions, yogis take the stage individually and are given three minutes to perform seven asanas or postures before a panel of judges. The poses are scored on alignment, grace, stability, confidence, balance and presence.

Though Choudhury has only had an initial meeting with the International Olympic Committee, devotees are hopeful. “I compete because it’s weird, uncomfortable and challenging,” said Chicago’s Kyla Crouthamel, 28, a top contender at the Illinois Yoga Asana Championships to be held Saturday at Navy Pier’s Gateway Park. “When I’m out of my comfort zone, I know I’m growing.”

In 2002, Choudhury brought competition to America by starting the Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, a global competition of physical poses that culminates in Los Angeles.

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