Competition Struggles

You didn’t forget about the upcoming yoga competition did you? It’s coming! November 4th. How many days away is that? Wait, don’t tell me. I don’t want to do a countdown.

I’m managing to somehow not be nervous about getting on a stage and doing postures in front of God only knows how many people. Part of this I attribute to the fact that I have plenty of experience speaking to groups of people. Yes, I teach classes at UNC that require me to get up in front of adults, but that’s not what I mean. Those adults are my students. I know them, and knowing them makes it easy to get up and teach them.

Several times a year though I give talks or workshops – ranging from 20 minutes to one hour to five hours – in front of mostly strangers. These events have had as few as 10 people, probably average between 30-50 people, and have had as many as 200 and 1000 people.

When I first started giving talks I was terrified and probably was medicore at best. I am sure I gave some real stinkers. But now I’m good at it. I don’t get nervous anymore. I stand up, talk about my work, discuss it with whoever wants to, and have a good time. The only way I reached this point was by getting up again and again and again and continuing to talk to people I didn’t know. I don’t remember when it started to get easier and more enjoyable. It just did.

I think about this set of experiences in relation to the competition. If I get nervous, that’s normal, but maybe I won’t be that nervous at all. The only thing I can do is get up on the stage and do the postures. They will be whatever they will be.

I have struggled with the idea of doing mountain as one of my advanced postures. When Joseph was in town, he went over everyone’s advanced posture with them. When he found out one of mine was mountain his exact word were, “You’re doing mountain? You’re brave.” That’s not what you want to hear the international yoga champion telling you. He told me I needed to be able to balance on my knees for at least a five count. I said I could sometimes do that. If I did mountain five times I could probably hit a five count once. He said I needed to be able to do it 9/10 times. I get his point. I agree with his point. My mountain is unreliable.

Also, what Joseph was supposed to do was show me a super secret trick to keep me up in mountain forever. I’m sure he’ll be getting back to me on that as soon as he figures it out. 🙂

I don’t have to do mountain. I can do spider in it’s place. For spider, you sit in lotus. Then roll forward on your stomach (stay in lotus). Press your hips down. Put your hands on your back in prayer. Then push yourself back up (stay in lotus). Never leave lotus. I can do that, but I like mountain so much more. I still practice mountain, and I’m toying with the idea of doing it anyways and just seeing what happens. I’m not going to win this competition. It’s not like I’m struggling to make a decision about something that’s super important here. But I also don’t want to get up in front of everyone in mountain for a second and then come crashing down on my butt (which technically could happen) when I can do spider and be safe.

So that’s the real struggle. Do I do a posture I love, but am not 100% strong in, and risk smacking my butt down with a bang on the floor OR do I do a posture that I think is ok, but that I don’t love, and it totally doable?

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. loribruner
    Oct 16, 2012 @ 20:45:28

    One of my favorite yoga teachers always says: “If you’re not having fun while doing this, then why are you here?” So, you know my vote… 🙂 Alternatively, you could ask yourself this question: “If you rocked out triangle every single time you did it, would you choose to do it in competition, and have to practice triangle a zillion times to prepare?” ….:)


  2. Penelope
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 21:17:10

    I like your analogy with giving a talk. I guess the question to consider is, in the analogous workshop or talk, would you do “mountain” or would you do “spider”? (There is no right answer. Plus the analogy breaks down since the results of the yoga competition are, presumably, unlikely to affect your career.) Can you just work on both and decide at the last minute?

    You may enjoy this post. She talks about competition stuff at the very end:

    Btw what is your second optional? Just curious.

    Also, am excited for you!


    • leighahall
      Oct 18, 2012 @ 06:10:35

      I can work on both and decide at the last minute. That’s a good strategy, but I also think I just need to commit and go on. And yes, the decision is not life altering in any way. If I fall backwards on my butt in mountain, it is not going to have an impact on me. It might have an impact on the stage. 🙂

      Thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading that post and agree with what she wrote.

      My second optional was originally split arm, but I can’t get my leg up high enough. Now I’m doing upward stretching (which I started working on three weeks ago). I can balance on my butt pretty good and hold it, and on Tuesday I got my knees to lock out. I think I like poses where I have to balance.


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