|Issue No 94||04 May 2001|
The Locker Room
Yoga: Our New National Sport
By Anne Lawson
It's about time yoga was placed on the national sporting arena. How about a little balance after the hurly burly of The Man Mundine, Buttocks Sironen and Plugger Lockett?
And name a sport that has more practitioners. If you're not a yoga junkie yourself, your partner, friends, family surely are. If not, who are you ... WHAT are you??
Okay, in its current form, yoga is not exactly sport in the truest sense. But then again, we found a place for synchronised swimming in the Olympics.
With a few simple rules and complex scoring system administered by very relaxed men in white coats, we have a game.
With yoga, every man, woman and her dog is a winner. It's a game where bulk is not an issue, nor speed, nor the ability to whip up a sweat. John Hopoate starts on a level playing mat with Blanche D'Alpuget.
Player motivation and competitiveness is always a problem with yogis. It's getting them to move beyond concepts of internal and individual balance, and to see the other players as interlopers, the enemy rather than some harmonious manifestation of world balance. But this can be overcome. Opening their eyes and checking out what the other competitors are doing would be a good start. Down, Hoppa.
The game will be based on the execution of a series of ancient asanas (poses and postures) and pranayama (meditation) that will have players literally head-over-heels. Unlike other sports where speed and might is the winning concept, points go to the player who get to the post with the least hullabaloo. It's subtle, but worth the effort!
So how do we identify the players. The yogis are bound to object to a traditional numbering system as hierarchical, and colour coding as mood altering. Perhaps players can be distinguished by Sanskrit symbols on their foreheads.
With the footy season in full swing, we're used to having commercial breaks after every goal. So, when Jonathon Shier spots the potential in a yoga-led recovery for the ailing ABC, it will be no problem to accommodate the restful bout that follows each activity sequence. It's that balance thing again.
Crowd control should be a breeze! Finally a cure for those rugby league fans banished for their overzealousness. Bulldog aficionados can fill the yawning gap in their lives with the Saturday afternoon yoga game.
Try trashing the Bankstown Express after two hours of deep breathy silence .... Because of course the spectators will have to remain silent. We did it for during the Paralympics handball (or was it soccer) for the blind, when the players had to respond to the tinkle of a bell.
I'll be looking forward to the inaugural Yoga Test Series against India. We might have as little competitive success on the sub-continent as Australian cricket teams of the past 30 years, but at least we can 'lose' without the sledging, the tantrums and the betting scandals.
Anne Lawson is a Director of Lodestar Communications
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