Introduced for the first time in the Khelo India Youth Games, Yogasana is proving to be a major hit here. Spectators are left in awe as the competitors twist and turn their bodies performing various asanas (postures) to the tune of peppy music.
Indeed, the promoters of this indigenous sport, believe that it can be as popular as the universally accepted martial arts forms like karate and judo.
Many believe that yogasana, in its evolved avatar, is not very different from artistic gymnastics. It too requires a lot of flexibility, power, precision and balance.
In addition, the participants need to master their breathing, sticking to a rhythm even as they have to be mindful of several other aspects. Just like in gymnastics, mounting and dismounting are crucial, as close to perfection as possible.
Each player has to pick and display nine postures, each lasting a minute, that makes it as demanding and strenuous as any other physical sport.
Umang Dawn, the technical director of Yogasana Sports Federation, pointed out that the sport was given recognition by the Ayush Ministry two years ago and made its debut in the Khelo India University Games last month.
“There were some reservations about the sport when it was known as yoga. So it was christened as yogasana. Now, there is no doubt that it is indeed a sport and can be competed like any other,” he added.
Stressing the importance of yogasana, Umang said this non-combative sport helps in preventing injuries. “In gymnastics, they keep moving while in yogasana, it is about holding postures for five to seven seconds and switch to the next asana. There are 250 documented asanas and a competitor can choose any nine of them,” he pointed out.
Ten-year-old Yashica and 12-year-old Manaswi Das of Goa, who clinched silver in the girls’ pairs events, said they simply loved this sport. They practice six hours daily to perfect their mobility on the floor.