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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Yogi's Experience at the 2009 Texas Yoga Championships


From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
I have trained for many events this year; a marathon, century ride, half marathons and a yoga competition. The Texas Yoga Championships ranks right up there as one of the hardest and most amazing events I have done this year. It was a wonderful journey where not only the body opens up but the mind opens too.

The 2009 Texas Yoga Championships were held in Woodlands, Texas on November 8, 2009 at the Cynthia Wood Mitchell Pavilion. Yogi’s from all over Texas came together to demonstrate their yoga practice and share their results of hard work and perseverance. It was so wonderful to share the stage with 9 juniors, 12 men and 32 other women competitors. I was impressed at the variety of people, flexibility and strength of the competitors. No two were alike and yet, all were beautiful and they performed their postures in such a way it could only have inspired the audience to want to get up and try themselves.

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
The other students from Bikram Yoga Dallas and I got there early to check in and check out the stage area where we would be performing. After doing a few poses on the carpet and feeling pretty confident, a group of us decided to walk around the health and fitness expo. The junior competitors went first, then the men, then the women. I had most of the day to relax, stretch and prepare myself for the stage.

I think the best part of the expo had to have been the free Zico coconut water! It wasn’t the small size we have at the studio either, it was a huge container - it must have had 3-4 servings in it. I was so excited, I opened mine right away. I love coconut water, it is so delicious after class; I sometimes feel like I could drink gallons of it.

After walking around I decided to stretch and get warmed up. As I was doing that, I heard this bizarre gurgling sound in my tummy. Oh my….it is the coconut water! I must have had too much because goodness, my tummy was so full of coconut water, every time I bent forward or side to side it swished around and made noise. So nice right?! I was thankful I still had a few hours before I went on, I could only hope most of the coconut water would pass through my stomach by then.

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009
They call my name to get in line…almost time! I was amazingly not nervous. I practiced as much as I could, I did what I could and now it was time to show the results of that work…there was nothing else that could be done. And then they called my name….and I walked on stage…with a smile.

Smiling for me is perhaps the hardest part. I concentrate so much in class I rarely smile so I had to remember to smile and show I was happy. This is suppose to be fun! And it was. I started with Standing Head to Knee and almost got my head to my knee, just slightly wobbled at the end as I was coming out of the posture. Standing Bow Pulling was good I thought. The whole time I was thinking of armpit and crotch, which is something Mary Jarvis said in class the day before, your armpit and crotch should be at the same level. Bow was easy, I just had to remember to keep my knees in and wrists flat. And then a good forward bend, Rabbit. Rabbit use to be easy for me but lately I feel a tightness in my back that makes it difficult to roll the spine properly.

The key is to hold each posture at its fullest expression or what you can do for at least 3-5 seconds so the judges have time to score. Each posture I am counting in my head, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then there is Stretching, boom…pull and down. Hold. Oh the pain behind the legs can be awful. But who cares, it is only 5 seconds. Now onto my two optional postures, first I did Pigeon. After watching some of the competitors, I am convinced I do this pose wrong. My back hurt like hell. I grabbed my foot, rotated my shoulder, bend backwards and put my foot on my head but man it felt like my spin was going to crack from being so compressed. Not that compressing it in a backbend in bad, just that it felt as if I was bending backwards for the very first time! And now the last posture, Bow Leg, and I stick it! So great! I had just tried it a dozen times back stage and couldn’t get my foot to hold. I decided before I went on I would just push it down and I didn’t care if it hurt, I was going to make it stay. And I did! I looked up, hands in namaskar (prayer) and smiled!

From TxYogaAsanaChampionships2009

What an amazing feeling! I worked so hard, 3-4 hours of yoga on Saturdays and then yoga and coaching on Sundays; it all paid off when I was able to get on stage and demonstrate all I had learned, hopefully inspiring others as well. I didn’t win and it didn’t matter, for me that is not the purpose of competing. My measure of success is doing the best I can and sharing how wonderful yoga is with others.

This is the third year I have competed and I think I will continue to compete because at the end of the day, there is nothing better than knowing you did your very best and were able to share that experience with others. The best compliment perhaps came from Yassi Maige from Bikram Yoga Richardson when she leaned over to me and said “you have come so far from last year, you did amazing, and you smiled!”

1 comments:

thedancingj said...

Congratulations on your competition!!! I've done a couple of those too and I know that it's no small thing. I'm glad you are proud of yourself, because you definitely deserve to be. :) And yeah, they always seem to have free Zico... hehe... it really is one of the best parts!

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