Friday, November 20, 2009

Competitive Yoga??

In yesterday's New York Times, there was an article called "Is the Spirit of Competition in the Soul of Yoga?" It seems that the Choudhurys, the couple most famous for creating Bikram style yoga, are trying to promote yoga as a competitive sport here in the U.S.--with hopes that it will be included in the Olympics someday. Whhhhaaaaaaaaaat??

My favorite quote from the article is this:

“We are not trying to judge any kind of spirituality when they are out there,” Mrs. Choudhury said.

Well Mrs. Choudhury, that's good news. Could you imagine? Ten points for the perfect downward dog. Ten points for an excellently executed side crow. Five point deduction for the slightly spotted aura. Sorry, hon. You must work on your karma if you want to make the 2020 Olympic team.

This whole idea of yoga as a competive sport sends me spinning. Isn't yoga about INNER peace? Isn't the focus on what your body can do--not on what your body can do as compared to everyone else in the room? Doesn't this notion run counter to the entire premise of yogic practice?

As I sat in my kitchen enraged by this article, I realized that by taking this very deliberate step with my writing--the step towards becoming a published writer--I am treating my art the same way. Haven't I introduced competition and the marketplace into my world of quiet introspection and self exploration?

Most of you who are reading this blog are either seeking publication or are already published. So, how do you keep your zen and stay true to your art in the face of the realities of competition and the cut-throat realities of the marketplace?

I guess it's all just a matter of focus and intention--cultivating an ability to keep the art and the marketing separate. Thoughts?



Lisa and Laura said...

I'm not sure that art and marketing can be separate in this market. I know that after experiencing submission first hand we're thinking very hard about the choices we made in our second book from a sales and marketing perspective. As we edit we're doing our best to address any issue that might make an editor say no, and it's hard work. It's going to be really interesting to see if it will pay off.

L. W. said...

Love this. I get my writing joy back by scrawling something just for fun with no thought that anyone will EVER see it. Very freeing and what comes out is often better than anything I've written with the idea that it's publishable.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Truthfully, the only way I have found that gives me any peace so far is the "Let go, let God" mentality. As we all know, though, it's much easier said than done!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I'm not at a point yet where marketing is even an issue, but when I write I use myself and my son as a guide: is this something we would want to read? His age group is my target market so it has to get past him. And he's a tough critic.

Paul Ă„ertker said...

Would love to write more, but I'm off to a speed yoga class. (We skip the breathing part!)

Little Ms J said...

I am likely the most competitive person you've ever known. This post made me think, "Isn't it already a competitive sport?" I wear my little booty shorts, take off all my make up and sneer at Mags and Amie while they bend their legs into pretzels and my tight ass (literally) tries to simply look cute while I struggle to touch my toes.

Inner peace, Schminner Peace.

Katie said...

Fascinating post SF! I always say "ignore the market" BUT, I haven't been exposed to it yet - from a publication standpoint. I might change my mind after my own book goes out...

As far as my beloved yoga goes, this is a tragedy!

Tamika: said...

Good question. Since I'm seeking publication there are narrow lines in the sand. I try and stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit as I write, remember my audience, and leave the results of book deals and success up to the Lord. Some days this is very hard to do.

Hardygirl said...

Miss J--I fully expect to see you in the 2020 Olympics competitive yoga! You could totally take that chick in the picture.


Abby said...

There are times when I want to pull out my hair b/c I worry the fun of writing has been lost. But, I step back, listen to some inspiring music, brainstorm with friends/family and then the groove return.... most of the time. Today isn't one of those times, but I'm hopeful tomorrow will be better!

Sarah Campbell said...

Studying the market is part of my job, I figure. That doesn't mean I let the market dictate what goes into the manuscript. Knowing the market just makes me smarter about whom to approach in order to sell a manuscript and then what to do to sell the published book. The art still has to come from the heart.

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