Australian Yoga Championships for Sydney

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Yoga enthusiasts from around Australia will take to the stage in Sydney for the 2nd Australian Yoga Asana Championships on Sunday November 27, 2005.

Some of Australia’s most skilled yoga practitioners will compete for the right to represent Australia in the World Championships, to be held in Los Angeles in February, 2006.

There are plans for a Yoga Asana competition to become an Olympic event, first as a demonstration event, and then ultimately a full Olympic competition.

Bikram Choudhury, the founder of the widely-practiced Bikram Yoga series, says that Yoga asanas (postures) can be judged in competition in much the same way that gymnastics and diving are.

"A yoga competition is not two people competing against each other, you are competing with yourself," says Bikram. "Your life is a competition, you are always making yourself better."

"Competition," he says, "is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without competition, there is no democracy."

Alex Stone, who competed in the European titles last year, will enter again this year in Sydney. She said: "Talk of ‘competition’ in yoga sparks heated debate: of course yoga itself can not be judged competitively, but yoga asanas are just one small facet of yoga. This competition is focused on the demonstration of yoga postures (asanas)."

"Competitors have to take their practice out of its usual context and hold composure and poise in a stressful environment. I’m sure most people would consider being up on stage, semi-naked, in front of hundreds of people stressful," Stone says. "Essentially, the ability to remain calm in the face of stress is one of the main aims of yoga practice.

"Yoga practice also aims at learning to be in the moment. The competition highlights this, as competitors have three minutes to complete seven postures, and every second counts. Last year I gained a whole new appreciation of what it means to consider every second, every breath, and every micro-movement. For those three minutes there is nothing else, just you and the posture."

Stone adds, "The competition is a celebration of awareness: awareness of body, mind, and breath. It is these elements coming together to create the execution of some truly beautiful yoga."

Each entrant will complete a 3-minute routine, with 5 compulsory and two optional poses before a panel of expert judges.

This year the judging panel includes Jason Winn, a leading practitioner from Los Angeles. Jason will also be a guest speaker on the day, and lead a demonstration of advanced postures from what is known as Bikram’s Advanced Series.

Jason is regularly featured in Yoga Journal, and in cover pictures for Yoga Journal, and the Yoga Journal Calendar.

Yoga championships have been held for centuries in India, and more recently in Japan, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Italy and in the United States since 2003.

Regional competitions are being held throughout the US and countries all round the world. The finalists will have the opportunity to practice among some of the best yoga students and together they will compete in the International Yoga Championship - Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup in February 2006 in Los Angeles.

About Bikram Choudhury

Bikram Choudhury, Founder and President of Yoga College of India and sponsor of the championship, is recognized as one of the most world renowned and knowledgeable hatha yoga teachers in the world and has developed his own series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, practiced in a room heated to around 40 degrees. After becoming a multiple Indian National Yoga Champion, he migrated to the US and in 1970 founded the Yoga College of India, which has since grown into one of the world's largest yoga training organizations, with more than 800 affiliated schools worldwide. While teaching his unique method of therapeutic yoga internationally for over 30 years, he has worked with medical professionals to apply the benefits of yoga to regenerate tissue and heal chronic ailments in the modern quest for wellness.

The International Yoga Championship-Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup was named to commemorate the 100th birthday of Bikram's teacher, Bishnu Charan Ghosh, celebrated in Los Angeles at the maiden Yoga Expo in September 2003.

For more information: and

Jodie Robertson: Tel (02) 9907 4960 Mobile 0419 171 334 or

James Caldwell: Tel (02) 9420 4300 Mobile 0407 461 621


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