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Indigenous Sports

From Boxing to Yoga: Abhinav Joshi intends to give Yoga a professional look

Along the lines of the Indian Premier League in cricket, Abhinav Joshi wants the Yogasana Premier League to reach similar heights.

From Boxing to Yoga: Abhinav Joshi intends to give Yoga a professional look

Abhinav Joshi, secretary of Jaipur Yoga League, wants to introduce more professionalism to the Yoga ecosystem.


Pritish Raj

Updated: 7 Sep 2023 10:56 AM GMT

A professional league in one of the best-known indigenous sports, Yoga, is something not many people will be able to achieve. But Abhinav Joshi, the secretary of the Jaipur Yoga League, is one such individual who made it possible.

In the recently concluded seventh edition of the Jaipur Yoga League, more than 500 participants from 11 states participated in the competition across four different categories.

"With the seventh edition of the league, we have created a sense of excitement among the kids. They see it as a competition where they have to win. The schools in Jaipur are taking Yoga very seriously now," Abhinav told The Bridge.

"Most of the schools in Jaipur have their teams participating here, and they send it every year. When we started this league, one of our main motives was to reach the kids around us. With schools taking Yoga seriously, we are getting more participation every year," he added further.

From Boxing to Yoga

Running the show from behind, Abhinav Joshi was drawn towards Yoga in his pursuit of physical and mental fitness.

"I had never thought of Yoga as a career. I wanted to keep myself physically and mentally fit and Yoga helped me achieve it. I used to practice Yoga and visit many gurus. Eventually, I got more interested in this," he said.

Something that started as a personal goal became a profession and passion for Abhinav.

"I was always attracted to sports and was a boxer before moving to Yoga. Yoga was a very personal thing to me but then I started working in the ecosystem and pursuing it full-time," Abhinav recalled.

"I used to box and play other sports. I always wanted to do something in sports but never thought it would be Yoga," he added further.

Taking Yoga to the World

Yoga is now a global phenomenon, with most countries adopting it as a lifestyle to keep themselves healthy and fit. Since it has been recognized as a sport, Abhinav Joshi wants to give Yoga a professional look to ramp up its global reach.

"Yoga has been inducted into the National Games as a sport now. If we bring more professionalism into this like professional leagues, it will boost the sport. The incentive in monetary terms is something that will attract both professionals and amateur players into the sport," Abhinav said.

Abhinav Joshi (in red t-shirt) inspecting the preliminary round in Jaipur Yoga League.

With a plan to introduce the Yogasana Premier League, Abhinav believes Yoga can be very big as a sport since it is already a household phenomenon in India as a lifestyle sport.

"Yoga is something that is known to every household in India. It is part of the culture in our country. I doubt there will be any house that has no family members doing Yoga," he quipped.

"Through Yogasana Premier League, we want to follow the model that made cricket this big. YPL can be the game changer for Yoga as a sport as the professionalism and money will impact the lives of yoga practitioners in a positive light," he signed off.

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