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Yoga will be a competitive sport -Sports & AYUSH Ministries (GOI) formally announce their consent.

Yoga will be a competitive sport -Sports &

AYUSH Ministries (GOI) formally announce their consent.

New Delhi [India], December 17 (ANI): The Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on Thursday announced the formal recognition of Yogasana as a competitive sport, with an aim of enhancing interest in Yoga among people around the globe. Yogasana will also be inducted in future Khelo India Games programme-Says Sports Minister  .

Thus, India’s next goal may be to find a place for YOGA in Olympic Sports too.



(Photo is representative only)


Sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment. Participation in sports requires fitness to gain better physical performance. Depending on the sport an athlete competing in sport would need strength, stamina, reflexes, accuracy, dexterity, flexibility, endurance of various muscle groups and joints that are required to enhance one’s performance in that sport (1). Apart from this mental conditioning, stress reduction and will power are important factors needed in a competitive sport (2). While yoga can be useful in conditioning oneself in any sport (3,4); developing these attributes by practice of asanas can also be a sport in itself.


Yoga as a sport is also termed as Competitive Yoga. It is the performance of asanas in sporting competitions. The competitive yoga i.e. yoga competitions are being held in India since several decades.

The Concept of Competitive Yoga is not limited only to perform asanas, but also includes the practice of kriyas, Pranayama, Mudras and Meditation by the participants. The aim behind initiating competitive yoga was to bring awareness about yoga, its benefits and spiritual background in young community.

In the initial days that is around 5000 years back, the yoga competitions were composed of all the angas of yoga as mentioned above. But now the form of the competition is just practicing asanas.

Several countries over the years have embraced yoga as a sport. Competitions have been conducted in several forms and styles of yoga like Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, etc. for different age and gender groups. Participants are evaluated based on grace, poise, stability, balance, relaxation, holding the breath, effortlessness, perfectness of posture, retention time etc. Participants are asked to do few poses in a given time and are judged by a group of judges. It has been declared as a competitive sport in the country in 2015.

The practice of asana can be very physically challenging, and the words “effort and ease” are mentioned in the Yoga Sutras: Sthiram Sukham Asanam, yoga posture is an expression between effort and ease. Alignment, stability and effortlessness play a vital role in this competition. The first world asana championship was held in Uruguay and India in 1986. Since then there have been many national and international yogasana championships.

This, together with the perceived lack of spirituality, emotional benefits and relaxation associated with yoga, are among the biggest critical comments against yoga as a competitive sport. However, there are several aspects that motivate people to take up Yoga. For some using yoga to be physically fit motivates people to take up this challenge to endure difficult poses that gradually led to development of yoga as a competitive sport. This has been nurtured by several schools that propagate advanced poses such the Hatha yoga schools and Iyengar yoga schools to name a few.

Though there has been a raging debate on using yoga as a sport, there has been a concerted effort by several countries who like to see this as an Olympic sport.


  2. Institute QF-J of SPE, 2004  . Effects of Yoga to the Functions of Psychology and Physiology.
  3. Sharma L. Benefits of Yoga in Sports-A Study. 30 ~ Int J Phys Educ Sport Heal. 2015;1(3).
  4. Sciences MJ-J of S and S, 2003  . Yoga for Sports.



  1. Śauca means cleanliness – an important prerequisite for Yoga practice. It includes cleanliness of surroundings, body and mind.
  2. Asanas should be practiced on an empty stomach. Consume small amount of honey in lukewarm water if you feel weak.
  3. Bladder and bowels should be empty before starting Yogic practices.
  4. Practice sessions should start with a prayer or an invocation as it creates a conducive environment to relax the mind.
  5. Yogic practices shall be performed slowly, in a relaxed manner, with awareness of the body and breath.
  6. A Warm up or loosening exercise and stretches before asanas is mandatory to avoid injuries.
  7. Asanas should be done slowly and one should move to advanced postures with practice.
  8. Try to eat Satvik food (Avoid meat, eggs, onion, garlic and mushrooms from diet).
    Stay hydrated before going into yoga practice
  9. Wear supportive and comfortable clothing. Light and comfortable cotton clothes are preferred to facilitate easy movement of the body.
  10. Yoga should be practiced in a well ventilated room with a pleasant draft of air
    Use a mat with a good grip to do Yogasanas.
  11. Be aware of breathing while doing Yogasanas.
  12. Complete the yoga session with relaxation techniques to cool down.
  13. Do not hold the breath unless it is specially mentioned to do so during the practice.
  14. Breathing should be always through the nostrils unless instructed otherwise.
  15. Do not hold the body tight or give undue jerks to the body.
  16. Perform the practices according to one’s capacity. It takes some time to get good results, so persistent and regular practice is very essential.
  17. There are contra-indications/ limitations for each Yoga practice and such contra-indications should always be kept in mind.
  18. Yoga session should end with meditation/ deep silence / Sankalpa / Śānti pāṭha etc.
  19. For the spiritual seeker , the Yamas and Niyamas are yoga’s ethical guidelines and disciplines laid out in the first two limbs of Patanjali’s eightfold path and together, they form a moral code of conduct. The niyamas are things to do, or observances. They include Śauca (शौच): Purity, clearness of mind, speech and body; Santoṣa (सन्तोष): Contentment, acceptance of others and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self; Tapas (तपस्): Austerity, self-discipline, [8] persistent meditation, perseverance; Svādhyāya (स्वाध्याय): Study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches and actions; Īśvarapraṇidhāna (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): Contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, supreme consciousness).


  1. Yoga should not be performed in a state of exhaustion, illness, in a hurry or in an acute stress conditions.
  2. Women should refrain from regular yoga practice especially asanas during their menses. Relaxation techniques and pranayama can be done instead.
  3. Don’t perform yoga immediately after meals. Wait until 2 to 3 hours after a large meal.
  4. Don’t shower or drink water or eat food for 30 minutes after doing yoga.
  5. During illness, surgeries, or any sprains or fractures, one should refrain from Yoga Practice. They can resume yoga after consulting experts.
  6. Don’t do strenuous exercises after yoga.
  7. Don’t practice yoga in adverse and extreme weather conditions (too hot, too cold or humid)
    According to the yoga texts for the spiritual seeker one needs to follow The yamasor restraints. They are the basic principles which are to be followed to lead spiritual growth.
  8. They include Ahiṃsā(अहिंसा): Nonviolence; Satya (सत्य): Truthfulness; Asteya (अस्तेय): Not stealing; Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): Marital fidelity, sexual restraint; Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): Non-avarice, non-possessiveness. Other attributes such as Kṣamā (क्षमा): Patience, forgiveness; Dhrti (धृति): Fortitude, perseverance with the aim to reach the goal, Dayā (दया): Compassion Ārjava (आर्जव): Non-hypocrisy, sincerity, Mitāhāra (मिताहार): Measured diet etc are also to be adopted.

Consult health experts if you have any health condition or you are pregnant  before doing yoga practice.



Compilation from Official resources of GOI  by

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1 comment

Dr.Sunil Chopra December 18, 2020 at 2:06 pm

It is really good that YOGA will now be considered as a COMPETITIVE SPORT in India.Many other countries in the world have also recognised the worth of yogic exercises.But never think that it can cure diseases like Hypertension,Diabetes,Cancer,AIDS and Covid 19.


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