On the weekends, please enjoy the Retro Throwback where I share my favorite posts from some time ago. Competiton Time! was originally published in November 2013.
Today will be my second time competing in the North Carolina Regional Asana Championships. To celebrate, let’s take a look back at what happened last year:
Ok – so I have no photos or video in my possession yet, but I’m going to give you my run through of how the competition went. This is my take on it, and my first time every being in a yoga competition. Keep that in mind. I struggled with how to share my experiences with y’all, and I think I’ll just recap the events to make it simple.
The Basic Facts
The competition started at 3:00. I learned that morning that 90 tickets had been sold in a room that could seat 100. Yep. We had a crowd. There was one youth competitor, three men, and 13 women. There was a holding room for the competitors to stretch and keep warm while we waited to perform. Everybody have three minutes to do seven postures. The first five are the same for everyone: (a) standing head to knee, (b) standing bow, (c) floor bow, (d) rabbit, and (e) stretching. Then you had your two optionals. Mine were upward stretching and spider. Sorry, I chose not to do mountain because I knew I would fall.
Before anyone could compete we all had to parade our half-dressed selves out onto the stage. The MC (aka Yoga Dad as we call him) called our names and we got up on the stage until we were all up there. This let me see the 8000 people that were in the room in advance. Ok – so it was around 100. But it was standing room only. I started looking for faces and had a hard time because all my yoga buddies had actual clothes on! I did locate some very friendly yoga buddies in the front row. I later decided that we should only put the absolute smiliest yoga buddies in the front row. You know, the people who are always smiling for you? That’s what we need in the first two rows.
But the parade? Ugh. I get it, but I didn’t care for it.
After the parade we got sent back to our holding room. I was 9th in the overall line-up, and we moved really smoothly. We could not watch the other competitors from the holding room, but there was a small crack that you could look through and see a bit of what was happening. Sometimes people looked. When someone would be called up I could hear them starting, and I could tell when they ended (lots of clapping). However, it seemed like they had just been through the longest three minutes ever. Each three minutes segment felt like 10 for me, until it was my turn.
When I got up on stage I noticed that time had stopped. When I practiced, I was generally pretty good about my time and knowing how long things should be. On stage? Forget about it. My brain shut down on me. I’m not really sure what to tell you about my performance except I think it stunk. Other people who saw me disagree with my assessment. I will tell you this: I was not prepared for how frightened I was going to be or how my fear would impact my performance.
I expected to be a bit nervous because that just makes sense. However, I assumed that since I have a lot of experience with public speaking that I would be able to get a handle on it. I’ve done so much public speaking at this point in my life that I don’t even get nervous anymore, and I tend to have fun. Guess what? Those experiences didn’t transfer to my yoga performance. While on deck I became concerned about my ability to balance on my right leg during standing head to knee because it was shaking so much. I practiced some and managed to get it under control, but on stage the shakes found a way to sneak in.
Finally it’s my turn, and I go up on stage turn, and get the party started with standing head to knee. I think I got my head on my knee. I held it for a five count, realized I was going to fall, and quickly came out. I think I came out ok, but I have no memory.
At this point I should tell you that my memory of what actually happened is sketchy and in some cases highly unreliable. I am good at tuning out crowds so I managed to shut out everyone and everything. I knew they were there, but I didn’t think about any of them (not even the judges) once I got started. I don’t know how I do this. It’s like I put a box around me.
So – standing bow. Here’s what I know about standing bow: I went down into it, and on my way down knew I had a bad set-up and was falling out. So I dropped out and did it again. I did manage to hold it for a five count. Quality? Who knows! Turns out a lot of people fell out of standing bow. We had a bit of an epidemic going on with this posture.
I hit the floor for bow. At this point I realize I have lost all sense of time. So I decide to make myself start paying attention to how long my movements take. I try to move in a slow and controlled manner in and out of postures. How did I do? I have no idea. I did my bow, and followed up with rabbit and stretching. I don’t have much to say about any of that. It felt good to be on the floor.
Then it was time for upward stretching. Now, in upward stretching you sit on your butt, place your hands under your feet, raise your legs, lock your knees, and put you face to your knees. It’s like hands to feet pose but balancing on your butt. Going into this posture – which I had practiced for a month- I knew I could reliably lock my knees. I had recently had success with getting my face to my knees, but I knew I could at least lock out my knees.
Yeah – right.
I was so scared that when I went to raise my legs up they were shaking so badly they dropped back down and I had to start again. I honestly don’t know if I even got into this posture. If I got a zero on it I would understand. Then I got myself in lotus and flipped forward into spider. I was so thankful I decided to do spider because I could do it, and it was low stress. Then I got up, bowed, and got my behind off the stage.
I went back to the holding room where I was asked what it was like. I said, “Terrifying.” Maybe I should not have said that to people still waiting their turn, but it was my truth.
In The End
The one gentleman from our studio placed first, and we had one female from our studio place second. Both of them will be going on to nationals. I had a conversation with our male winner and asked him if he was nervous during his performace. He said he was and that if he had not been then it wouldn’t have been worth doing. The message I took away from our discussion was that this was a chance for us all to do something hard that challenged us in numerous ways, but particularly physically and emotionally. On the way to my car, I celebrated with another competitor. We were both so scared to perform on Sunday yet we were both so happy that we did it.
And yes, I’ll be back next year with an even better standing head to knee.
Now, off to work on mountain. There’s always next year!