Meet Shrey Parsania, competitive yoga enthusiast

How Shrey Parsania made it to the Australian National Yoga Sports Championships

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When Shrey Parsania, long-time yoga practitioner, heard of the Australian National Yoga Sports Championships, he just knew he had to participate.

“I travelled to Adelaide in late February for the event,” the 22-year-old international student at the University of Technology Sydney told Indian Link. “It was amazing to see participants from all across Australia gather together to demonstrate their talent.”

Organised by the Federation of Australian Yoga Sport (FAYS), a non-profit dedicated to advancing yoga as a sport, the event picked competitors for a worldwide event to be organised soon by the International Yoga Sport Federation (IYSF).

Competitors at the national event are all required to be Australian citizens, but FAYS made an exception for Shrey, given his enthusiasm and considerable skills.

“I was happy that they were so accommodating, given my situation,” Shrey said. “I was told though, that I will be unable to represent Australia until I get my citizenship.”

The competition, governed by the International Yoga Sport Federation, gives contestants the opportunity to present their abilities through a 5-minute pre-prepared routine. Although Shrey was unable to be given a rank as he was not in competition, he was given a participation certificate, and was highly commended by the judges and other contestants.

Shrey Parsania Pose
Shrey Parsania was introduced to yoga as a child. (Source: Supplied)

Shrey Parsania has been practising yoga since the tender age of six. He was introduced to it as a means of calming his breathing difficulties that caused him great pain and discomfort. After initially undertaking simple breathing exercises, or pranayama as it’s known in Sanskrit, it was a hiking trip four years ago that took Shrey’s interest in yoga from a hobby to a way of life.

Travelling to the ‘yoga capital of the world,’ Rishikesh, Shrey undertook a certificate program to become a yoga instructor through a teacher’s training program, and then returned to his hometown in Ahmedabad to become a teacher in his community. Soon he found himself drawn to the competitive side of this ancient practice and began to take his skills to the next level by participating in competitions against other contestants around India.

Getting an opportunity to further his studies by undertaking a sports management degree at UTS, Shrey made the move to Australia in hopes of continuing yoga, while also pursuing a professional cricketing career.

“I play for the Blacktown Mounties Cricket Club, and also represent UTS as an all-rounder,” he revealed. Yet he lamented, “There’s a lack of recognition for yoga as a competitive and established sport in universities. Still, my sports management course has helped me get a grasp of the management side of setting up yoga competitions.”

Shrey Parsania Australian National Yoga Sports Championships
How yoga introduced Shrey to like-minded others, as a recent arrival in Australia (Source: Supplied)

A strong advocate for yoga regimes being put into place for other sports, Parsania has encouraged members of other competitive sports teams to take up yoga as a means of improving their performance and ability while playing their sport.

“Take my own experience of using yoga to improve my fitness and overall wellbeing. Yoga has given me better control of my physical and mental health, while also improving my performance on the cricket field.”

A keen follower of well-known Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Shrey’s current focus lies in balancing his cricket and yoga career, while also studying to attain his sports management degree.

“My biggest goal, however, is to spread the power of yoga – it can unite people of all cultures to come together to create a peaceful society for all,” Shrey Parsania concluded.

That should placate traditional practitioners who cannot or will not see yoga as ‘competition’, only as a wellness practice.

Learn more about FAYS here.

READ MORE: Rajendraji changed his life with yoga – and you can too

Renesh Krishnan
Renesh Krishnan
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