By Isabelle Desilier
Yoga is hard. The sport itself looks easy, simple and “something for women”. However, that is nowhere near the case. Yoga is hard work and takes a lot out of someone. It stretches your body and forces it to bend to your will. It forces the person to exercise their will and determination as well as self-motivation. Yoga makes the person work not only on themselves physically but also mentally. It is a sport, even without its Olympics or competitions.
“Yoga is as mentally straining and physically exhausting. It is as hard as any sport and takes just as much of a toll. Saying yoga is not a sport because it doesn’t involve nationwide competitions is ridiculous.” Edwin Cedieno, current Liberal Arts student at the Grant campus and avid yoga practitioner said.
Many people do not refer to yoga as a sport despite the physical strain that is equal to football without the mental trauma and dangers. While, yes, to many people yoga is not considered a sport, Yoga competitors have a different opinion.
“Yoga is primarily for mental stability and, who know, a calm sport where there is not really supposed to be any pressure to do the upward dog perfectly- but for real yoga practitioners or, actually no- for those of us in yoga who actually like the thrill of a competition- there are actual nationwide, although not very well known, competitions done. And the U.S. is not the only country to do it. It’s not the even the first. India’s been doing it for years.” Said Hasnaa Elkhouly, graduate of SCCC and part-time yoga instructor at the Planet Fitness Gym in Brentwood and Patchogue during the weekends. Elkhouly is an Egyptian born, American citizen who has had family practice yoga in the comfort of their home as well as watch the competitions live streamed on Arab Television via the internet.
India has held yoga competitions under various names for thousands of years. Yoga studies have actually shown yoga to have been present long before any competitions were erected. They also show that the Southeast Asians (Indians) have not been the first to actually practice yoga, but were the ones to “perfect the art”.
“Even though they are competitions, no one wants another to fall. They just want them to do their best. It is a competition, where ironically, everyone wins.” Elkholy states.
Some do not agree with that sentiment, but many would agree that yoga is an amazing and very real sport- for both men and women.
“One of the stigmas of yoga is that it’s a ‘women’s activity’ or some other nonsense and that men can’t be a part of it. That if any man did yoga- they’d be ‘sissies’ or gay and ‘twinks’. That is not true- many professional athletes out there, especially in football, take yoga during their off seasons to keep themselves limber and loose as well as in shape for the upcoming seasons. It helps them stay on their game and there nothing ‘sissy-like’ about yoga. It’s a sport with no gender just like every sport should be.” Anthony Cada, future SCCC freshman, Engineering major with a Music minor, both on the Grant and Ammerman campus. Cada is also a U.S. Marine on temporary medical discharge.
That Yoga is a women’s sport is as common a misconception as the stigma that cheer leading is a women only sport. That misconception can be cleared away as soon as you step into the 11-12:30 Intramural course every Wednesday at the Brookhaven building during common hour. It’s free and anyone can join. To end a stigma, you much fight it.