The Bishnu Ghosh Cup


With Hatha Yoga Champions from around the world set to grace the stage in LA this weekend to compete in the Bishnu Ghosh Cup, we at OMB will be here with all your yoga coverage over the weekend.

Courtney Mace, 2009 USA Champion in Full Standing Bow Pose. Photo: USAYoga

Courtney Mace, 2009 USA Champion in Full Standing Bow Pose. Photo: USAYoga

Guest blogger Juliana Olmstead aka thedancingj from the blogs Lock the Knee and Bikram 101 will be reporting back to us with yoga coverage throughout the weekend.

You can all join the live feed online of the USA competition on Friday at USAYoga and the Bishnu Ghosh Cup on Saturday and Sunday at YogaCup.

In case you are just hearing about the yoga competition, OMB has your questions covered. Check out some of our previous posts featuring links to great articles about yoga competition. We’ve also resurrected our post of the top three questions asked about yoga competition to answer your competition queries below.

Q: How do you compete in yoga?

Competitors compete by performing a 3 minute routine of 5 compulsory and two optional postures. compulsory postures are:

  1. Standing head-to-knee pose
  2. Standing bow-pulling pose
  3. Bow pose
  4. Rabbit pose
  5. Forward stretching pose

Optional postures are chosen individually from the advanced series

Q: How is the competition judged?

A panel of judges marks each competitor on the following criteria

  • Grace
  • Walk
  • Movement
  • Style
  • Steadiness – points are deducted for wobbling or a fall
  • General Appearance – this includes costume, hair, clarity of skin and eyes
  • Performance of Postures each pose is marked out of ten, with more points given for challenging poses

Q: Isn’t yoga competition a paradox?

Yoga competition has a rich history in India. Still there are many people who are outspoken against yoga competition in North America. While some argue that yoga is about achieving peace which competition contradicts, enthusiasts say that true yoga competition is less about competing with each other but rather about achieving personal bests. Rather than competing against each other, competitors compete against themselves.

The purpose of competition, according to Rajishree Choudhury, is to promote the heath benefits of hatha yoga practice, and to inspire younger generations. Competition occurs naturally in life and as well within hatha yoga. It is a measurement of the physical practice, and in no way seeks to crown the “best yogi”. Rather, competition celebrates and rewards the yogi with the most accomplished physical practice.

Here is what our guest blogger, Juliana had to add (click on the quote to get to her full post),

“Competition” gets a bad rap, but it’s not inherently a bad thing.  When good people compete with each other – not against, but with – without malice or pettiness, everyone improves from it.  Bikram likes to point out that competition is the foundation of democracy, and I think he’s got a point.  Without competition, you have either a monopoly or a caste system, right?!  Everything in life is competition, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Finally, for a quick fix, check out these videos of Toronto’s finest in competition as well as an inspiring demonstration from Alisa Mathews, 2009 Bishnu Ghosh Cup Champion.

Teshia Maher, 1st place Women’s Eastern Hatha Yoga Champion


Eddie Solidon, 1st place Men’s Eastern Hatha Yoga Champion

Alisa Mathews, 2009 Women’s Bishnu Ghosh Cup Champion

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Filed under About Bikram Yoga, Events, Links, News, Yoga Competition

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