by Barbora Simek
Over the last week, a CNN iReport about adding yoga to the 2012 Olympic roster has set Bikram Yogis on Facebook a-buzz. OMB got to work to find out more about the feasibility of adding yoga asana championships to the Olympic roster.
In order for yoga to become an Olympic sport, the following criteria must be met:
- It must be recognized
- Must be practiced widely throughout the world.
- Must meet criteria set by the International Olympic Committee
- It must be subject to an International Federation which will oversee all activities and make sure the follow the Olympic Charter (adhering to and promoting Olympic spirit, governing over eligibility and regulation, venue selection)
- It must have active Federations in 50 Countries
If these criteria are met, the sport must be recommended by the IOC’s Olympic Programme Commission. The sport is then subject to a vote, which it must pass in order to gain full status.
While more work needs to be done, yoga is inching closer and closer to achieving Olympic status. Around the world Yoga Federations are being established. According to the New York Times, Rajishree Choudhury has sat up two non-profit organizations, the United States Yoga Federation and the World Yoga Foundation. A source has told OMB that Canada is being urged by Bikram Choudhury to set up a Canadian Yoga Federation next.
According to Bikram’s interview with CNN’s iReport, 40 countries participated in this year’s International Bishnu Charan Gosh Hatha Yoga Championship on February 10th. That is up 25 countries since last years Ghosh Cup Championships. With this kind of growth Bikram said his goal is to get yoga into the next Olympic games (Summer 2012).
But guidelines set by the Olympic Programme Committee may put Bikram’s dreams on hold. The IOC requires that any sport being included to the Olympic games be added to the roster no later than three years before the next Olympic Games. According to the IOC, this regulation can only be waived with the approval of the correct International Federations, OCOG and the competent organ of the IOC. The New York Times reported in November 2009 that the event rosters for both the 2012 and 2016 games have been closed and only one undesignated spot remains open for the 2020 games.
Given 49 Yoga Federations still need to be established world-wide and ten countries must be added to the list of participating nations, a 2020 deadline may be more feasible than 2012.