Yoga is a popular of fitness and lifestyle adopted by many across the world. Yoga competitions have also been conducted across the country, though not under a central authority.
However, Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports recognized yogasana as a competitive sport. Shripad Naik, Minister of AYUSH, made this statement to ANI citing origins of yoga as a sport in ancient India. Sports Minister of India, Kiren Rijiju also issued a statement saying “We are planning to include Yogasana as a sport discipline in Khelo India and in the University Games and we will also pitch it at the National Games but the aim and objective of any sport is to be included in Olympics and this is a beginning of a long journey.”
Individuals will get a chance to participate in competitive yoga in events such as Traditional Yogasana, Artistic Yogasana, Rhythmic Yogasana, Free Flow/Group Yogasana, Individual All Round – Championship and Team Championships.
Yoga provides many benefits with regular practice and can be taken up by people of all age groups and fitness levels. It provides progressions in yoga asanas which can provide a challenge to beginners and even seasoned fitness enthusiasts. Meditation is also a part of yoga which helps many in focusing, remain present and be mindful. This can translate to better mental well being, a holistic lifestyle, improved productivity, creativity and focus. With yoga now being a competitive sport, India can showcase its yoga talent across the country and generate more opportunities in the health and yoga sector.
This will help professional athletes in practicing yoga and retaining benefits, and also promote awareness on yoga. Shripad Naik said, “The reason behind making yoga a competitive sport is to encourage its practice and to help improve the physical and mental well-being of the people. Having yogasana as a part of international event like Olympics etc would provide an opportunity to spread the awareness of Indian yoga and its innumerable health benefits.”