Routine’s are (obviously) a critical part of the competition, and that’s where Joseph’s advice for today centers. Joseph says:
Do your routine at least 3 times a day two months prior to the championship.
Excellent advice. I couldn’t agree more. Let’s talk a bit about routines, practicing them, and performing them.
First, I would add (and I think Joseph would agree, but he’s only got 140 characters to work with in his tips) that watching routines is also a very important part of this process. By watching, you can see how people flow from one posture to the next. You can also see what postures looks like and get ideas about how to improve your own postures.
You can see the performances of champions like Joseph over at USA Yoga. These are obviously excellent and amazing routines. I use them to tweak the core five (head to knee, standing bow, etc…) that we all have to do and get ideas for what I might work on in those postures. You can also use them to get ideas about what advanced postures you might do or to see how they perform an advanced posture you are working on.
Don’t let the champions’ videos intimadate you. You don’t have to look like that now, next week, or ever. Use them as a learning tool. Use them for inspiration.
You can also watch videos from the first North Carolina regional competition. This isn’t everyone. It’s just people from my studio. Most of us were pretty inexperienced when we decided to compete. We didn’t know how to select an advanced posture. We were changing postures at the last minute because what we had hoped would work out wasn’t working out. I include these videos because they are not perfect. We fall out of postures. We make mistakes, but we did this. So can you.
If you don’t want to feel intimadated about competing watch my video. You’ll probably think, “I can do better than that!” and this will help you gain confidence. You can see all kinds of mess going on in my routine. My favorite is how I held head to knee for a second but it somehow felt like a minute. I was terrified. I also fell out of standing bow. It just happened.
Which brings me back to Joseph’s tip. Practice, practice, practice. Practice your routine! It’s so critical to get it down so that it’s pretty automated. You want to be able to move through it as seamlessly as possible, and the only way to do that is to practice it a lot. Actually, three times a day for two months (at a minimum) doesn’t require that much time. A routine cannot be more than three minutes. Assuming you took a break between each set, you might spend 20-30 minutes on it if you did it 3-5 times.
Another reason why Joseph’s tip is great is because you will be nervous if you have not competed before. I was told this, but I did not believe it. I expected a minimal amount of nerves to kick in. But I figured that since I have a lot of public speaking experience I would be able to handle it. I enjoy speaking to a room full of people. I’ve spoken to as many as 200 at once and had a great time.
Well, speaking to 200 people with all my clothes on is not the same as being half-naked and doing yoga postures in front of 100 people. For me, public speaking experience did not transfer to publicly perfoming yoga postures. I fell out of upward stretching because my legs were shaking so hard I couldn’t hold them up. I literally lost all control.
Did I practice like Joseph recommended? Eh….no. I did practice my routine, but I could have benefited from a more focused practice like he recommends. Will I do it this year? You bet.
And if all of this sounds like work (it is) and a bit scary (it was for me, it may or may not be for you), then consider my take on the whole yoga competition thing:
I didn’t compete to win. I didn’t compete to place. The last thing I wanted to do was end up on a stage in New York. I competed to challenge myself and push the boundaries of who I thought I was, and what I thought I could do. It was difficult and scary in different ways throughout the process, but I succeeded in what I wanted to do. I didn’t win. I didn’t have to go to New York. I did however, grow personally, professionally (this stuff seems to bleed over into my work life), mentally, and physically. Doing things that scare me is generally good for me.
What are your thoughts on competing? If you do compete, how do you approach practicing your routine as the day draws near?