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Yoga stretches for Olympic bid

Aug 8th, 2012
Staff Writer

Reverse warrior poseThe exact origin of yoga remains uncertain, but yoga-posing artifacts date back to around 3000 B.C. according to the University of Florida. About two thousand years later, the first of the ancient Olympic Games, held in Olympia, Greece, were held in honor of Zeus and the Olympic Gods, according to Olympic.org. Now, year 2012, thousands of years after both originated, a furious debate has risen: Should two of history’s most ancient athletic traditions join forces?

Founder of the United States Yoga Federation and the International Yoga Sports Federation, Rajashree Choudhury has avidly promoted the idea of the International Olympic Committee accepting Yoga as a new competitive event. “If we deconstruct the Olympic Games, at its core lies a life philosophy that is not so different from the Yoga school of Hindu philosophy,” Rajashree suggested in a statement on usayoga.org.

The competitive Yoga format would mimic the one currently in place at the National Yoga Asana Championships. Like gymnasts, yogis would have an allotted time of a few minutes to perform a particular number of poses (seven is the current standard). Poses would be graded on form and position — separations of the hands, feet or other body parts would result in deductions.

Rajashree and other yogis argue for inclusion, specifically of Yoga Asana. This ancient practice focuses on meditating in a single posture for an extended period of time (traditionally a full hour, still practiced in the east).

USA Yoga and Rajashree hope “to join with similar organizations in other countries to form an international yoga federation and to qualify Yoga Asana as an Olympic sport,” according to their website usayoga.org. The International Olympic Committee is yet to comment on the inclusion of the old sport as a new event, but who knows what the world will see in Rio, South America, 2016?

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