What I Learned from Competition

Last Sunday, I stayed for the Texas regional asana championships after the women’s retreat was over. I was very interested to see what the championships were like from the perspective of an audience member. I remember when I did my first competition last year, I was so nervous. I thought looking at it from the other end would help give me perspective.

It did.

As an audience member, I understand why people praised my postures when I thought they stunk. I understand why people looked surprise when I said my routine wasn’t very good. No matter how we think we do on that stage, everyone watching is in awe and in complete support of us.

Yes, I saw people fall. I saw people fall because of nerves or because they had chosen a very difficult posture as an optional and, you know, falling happens. I felt bad for anyone who fell, but you know what? Everyone who fell had determination to keep going. They either tried the posture again or shook it off and kept going. If they were rattled, it didn’t show. That takes bravery and strength. And yes, I heard that 1000 times before my own competition, but it took me sitting in the audience to finally get it.

Everyone is up there sharing their yoga practice.

Everyone is up there sharing a personal moment with us.

It is special. We are lucky to see it. Thank you to all who got up on that stage and competed. You were beautiful


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MIke Mitchell
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 12:36:05

    I’ve never had the chance to attend a competition but I did watch the streaming of the National Finals in NYC earlier this year. I watched most of the M and W semis and all of both finals. Even online remotely, it was incredibly inspiring to watch. Some crazy shit in those postures–WOW!!


    • leighahall
      Aug 07, 2013 @ 22:29:13

      I’ve watched nationals streaming too. For me, there was something that clicked when I was an audience member. I bet being an audience member at nationals is amazing and fun. I’d love to go watch it live someday.


      • MIke Mitchell
        Aug 08, 2013 @ 10:21:34

        Yes,I’m sure being there in person is even more intense. Maybe the one benefit of streaming is you’re assured of a nice close up view. I hope to go to IL/IN regionals next year. Wanted to go this year but couldn’t make it. Oddly enough, its held in far southern Indiana (across border from Louisville,which is cool) when I’m sure the majority of the participants are from greater Chicago area but whatever…I’ll try to make it next year. I’ve got a year and a half to get ready for Senior Division now that they’re instituting that for 55 and up, lol…(maybe??)


  2. Rebecca
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 19:23:05

    A couple thoughts: We all really appreciated every single person that came to watch on Sunday. So thank YOU.

    Also, wow, competing was one of the most bizarre experiences I have ever had. I think I experienced almost the entire range of human emotion on Sunday! Two things that struck me especially – first, I did NOT expect to be that nervous. I’m used to being in front of people (I used to teach math and aerobics – not at the same time), but wow, it did NOT translate. I was literally shaking the entire time I was onstage. I was super disappointed when I finished, because I know I sacrificed depth in every single posture to keep from falling. After a few hours the disappointment faded, because seriously? That was one of the hardest, most out-of-my-comfort-zone things I have EVER done. That alone makes it worthwhile. I’m sure you know what I mean.

    Second, I think we forget how special this yoga is until we get a chance to observe it with fresh eyes. Like, for example, one of our competitors from our studio did full cobra. Now, I can’t do any of the full backbends, but I had gotten so used to seeing Samantha do her full cobra that I forgot how amazing it really is until my husband watched her and said, “Oh my gosh that is SO COOL.” I think watching a competition reminds us of that. Does that make sense? (And why can I never leave a succinct comment? Oh, well.)


    • leighahall
      Aug 07, 2013 @ 22:31:58

      First, your comment made a lot of sense! And second, you are right: Getting up on that stage is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Like you, I have a lot of experience being in front of people. I could have given a talk to the people at the Texas regionals and have had a great time. But giving talks/presentations does not, I learned, transfer to being half-naked doing yoga postures in front of them!

      And yes, I also forget how special and amazing this yoga is. When I went to San Diego, I decided to do head to knee in the airport. As soon as I kicked out people gasped. I wasn’t even fully down yet! But you are right – it is a reminder of how much we get used to it and see it as common when really it’s amazing and beautiful.


  3. Trackback: Losing the Butterflies | My Bikram Yoga Life
  4. LeighAHall (@LeighAHall)
    Jan 28, 2015 @ 15:04:46

    What I Learned from Competition http://t.co/lgandeCy84 #bikramyoga #yogaholicsmag


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