Yoga as a Competitive Olympic Sport?

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Mar 16, 2010

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Rajashree Choudhury and her husband, Bikram Choudhury, creator of Bikram Yoga, are enthusiastic about establishing yoga as a competitive sport in the United States. According to The New York Times, Mrs. Choudhury has established two nonprofit organizations, the United States Yoga Federation and the World Yoga Foundation, and has been staging regional competitions throughout the United States that will culminate in a national championship competition. The ultimate purpose is to enable yoga to qualify as an Olympic sport for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.

Not all yoga community members believe that competitive yoga is beneficial, although the practice has existed in India for several years. Those against competition argue that it is egoistic; that it implies that the most physically gifted are somehow “more yogic” than others; and that it focuses only on the physical and detracts from the spiritual heart of yoga.

To learn more about competitive yoga, go to



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About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at