National Yoga Asana Championship (Via the New York Times)
March 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
To warm up backstage before the ninth New York Regional and National Yoga Asana Championship, some competitors slid their legs behind their heads and others curled into back bends. Michael Colwill, 46, stood still in a purple Speedo and practiced bowing. Perfecting a gentle smile, he stood on a yoga mat, secured to the stage with electrical tape, and gazed out serenely at the nearly 700 theater seats.
Since ease carries a 10-point weight in competitive yoga asana, warming up the face is as important as loosening the hamstrings. Competitors complete seven postures in three minutes, and the total 80-point score takes into account technical precision, physical presentation and timing, among other aspects.
Because there are no entry requirements for regional competitions, Colwill, a kindergarten teacher at Public School 8 in Washington Heights who had practiced for less than three years, decided to try.
On Thursday, he demonstrated the routine for his pupils. “It was like when I walk on my hands on the playground,” he said. “They were excited and quiet — well, at first.”
The competition, hosted by the United States Yoga Federation, also known as USA Yoga, took place Friday night through Sunday afternoon at the Hudson Theater in Midtown Manhattan. More attentive than most 5-year-olds, Friday night’s audience maintained more silence than any hushed golf crowd. As Craig Villani, one of the hosts, announced, “Yoga is about intention, and so the audience’s good thoughts helps these performers.”
Sneezes were strangled, Velcro frowned upon and vibrating cellphones feared while competitors bent and balanced their bodies as if on an invisible high wire.
Continue reading about the National Yoga Competition.