Filtered by tag: yogisageless Remove Filter

Michele Vennard: Thrilled to Go on Stage



The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Michele Vennard won the Adult 50+ Women’s Division Gold Medal at the 2018 USA Yoga Nationals in Madison, WI as well as the Silver Medal in 2017 Nationals in Grand Rapids, MI.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?  

I find it fascinating that at age 54, I can compete in something I love at an International level.  I think the push to traveling to Beijing (where I have never been) was knowing that I'd be announced as Michele Vennard from the United States - that is so powerful and I'm proud!  I'm not just proud of myself and the community that I'm in, but proud of yoga and the hard work everyone has done to expose it this way!

2)  How are you preparing for the International Competition? Include types of practice, diet, meditation, etc.
I don't overdo it because I recognize that it is a performance. I will go a bit harder in extra classes, doing homework and watching how I eat and sleep. But I also want to push the practice to show how this is available to everyone to build and sustain overall health even in older years!  It has to be a way of life for all if you want to live the life you were meant to have!

3) What are you most excited about?  
I'm thrilled to go on stage in another country - wow!  I'm thrilled to see and meet new people in a new country. But mostly, I am so excited to meet my peers from other parts of the world - that will make me cry!

4) Will any friends/family travel with you? Who?  
I am so lucky as I don't really "like" to travel and I have not ever done anything like this, but I have Lee (Seldon Dickinson) coming with me as he's lived there, and knows the language and the subway system - yay!  He's competed and he's so excited to go with me and help - I'm so grateful.

5) How long have you been practicing?  
I just celebrated on August 11th, 20 years of practice.  I wrote a blog about it on our website (blog section) and Changu did a story on me, Humans of Bikram Yoga if you care to read or share more.

6) What is your profession?  
I own and direct Bikram Yoga San Jose (and teach too).

7) Where do you regularly practice/are you a yoga teacher (name the studio, including city and state)?

Bikram Yoga San Jose, San Jose, CA.

8) Any other info you want us to know.

I've owned my studio for 15+ years.  I also coach athletes. I've hosted, along with Cynthia Wehr of Bomitra, several Regionals.  I've judged in the past.  I graduated from teacher training in Fall 2001!


Yoko Jackson: Grateful for Her Practice



The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Yoko Jackson won the Silver Medal for Adult 50+ Women in Madison, WI in 2018. Here’s a look at her journey to Beijing.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?

Last year, I decided that it would be a good way to commemorate my 50th birthday by competing in the yoga competition. I had only been practicing Yoga for three years and thought that it would be a great way to assess my skills to better understand how to improve myself. I had never imagined that I would get the opportunity to compete in internationals.

2)  How are you preparing for the International Competition? Include types of practice, diet, meditation, etc.

On Mondays, I have my Ashtanga primary class, and Tuesdays are my Ashtanga Mysore class. From Wednesday to Saturday I continue my Ashtanga practice on my own. Also, on Wednesdays and Thursdays I practice hot yoga for 60 minutes and then 90 minutes Friday to Sunday.

3) What are you most excited about?

I’m very excited about learning more about the Chinese culture and competing with all the other incredible people at the international level.

4) Will any friends/family travel with you? Who?

No, I'll be traveling by myself, but my family and friends are always supporting me, and I know I will have their support.

5) How long have you been practicing?

I have been practicing hot yoga for three years.

6) What is your profession?

I take care of my 17 year old daughter and 22 year old son at home. I also take care of my adorable miniature schnauzer.

7) Where do you regularly practice/are you a yoga teacher (name the studio, including city and state)?

I practice at YogaWorks in Fairfax, VA and practice Ashtanga at Heart N Soul Yoga in Vienna, Va.

8) Any other info you want us to know.

Yoga has helped me recover and rehabilitate after a tennis injury four years ago. I have continued to better my health by trying all different types of yoga. I’m very grateful for being introduced to the practice, and I hope that all kinds of yoga are fully appreciated and understood by the yogis out there.

Roxanne Armstrong: Age Does Not Define Her



The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Roxanne Armstrong won the Bronze Medal for Adult 50+ Women in Grand Rapids, MI in 2017. Here’s a look at her journey to Beijing.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?

I am competing because i don't want age to define me. I like that my yoga practice is ageless and timeless. This is what I would love to share with others: there are no limitations when you are open and free to possibilities.

I am a person who does better with a goal. Competitions help me too focus and prioritize my practice, my natural instinct is to be lazy but at the same time I value health and well-being and I know the value of community. Odd, but it's the perfect storm!!

2)  How are you preparing for the International Competition? Include types of practice, diet, meditation, etc.

I prepare by just being consistent with my practice, at this stage of life I am doing what feels right, not to push so hard that I injure myself, but more awareness of what feels good and what is possible. I want a balance, and that’s the message I want to share with others, be open and present in your body, be willing to receive and accept.

3) What are you most excited about?

I'm excited about a new adventure. The wonderful experience, connecting with other like-minded beings, the support, the encouragement and too be in inspired!

4) Will any friends/family travel with you? Who?

I will be traveling alone, but I will meet up with many that are friends and competitors who all are my Family!

5) How long have you been practicing?

I am entering my 16th year of practice.

6) What is your profession?

I am a Massage Therapist, a Yoga Teacher, and a Personal Assistant. I have many jobs, and I love them all! I feel I am here for the service of others but ALSO that I am here to live a life of balance, I really try to Walk the Talk and lead by example.

7) Where do you regularly practice/are you a yoga teacher (name the studio, including city and state)?

I practice at Hot Yoga Pasadena, CA. I love this studio. Val Sklar-Robinson is the owner, and we are celebrating our 20th Year!!

Mai Toomey: Honored, Excited and Motivated!

The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Mai Toomey won the Bronze Medal for Adult 50+ Women in Madison, WI. Here’s a look at her journey to Beijing.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?

I started yoga as one of my hobbies. By joining yoga competitions, I feel more connected and committed with my practice. It was great every time I had an opportunity to see my yoga fellows in such a positive and healthy environment. This year, for the first time, I joined them in the National Yoga Championship. Unexpectedly, I placed 3rd in our 50+ Women Adult Division which advanced me to the International Yoga Championship in Beijing in December. I feel honored, excited and motivated. Yoga definitely enhances my quality of life.

2)  How are you preparing for the International Competition? Include types of practice, diet, meditation, etc.

Finding time to practice is very challenging. I have a very busy and intense full-time job, and I often feel drained at the end of the workday. However, I am always looking forward to free time I have for my practice. It seems funny but very often I practice my postures when I am cooking dinner; then on weekends, I go to a yoga studio to practice. In terms of diet, I eat a daily balanced meal of everything: carb, protein and vegetables. I eat a lot of carbs though. I like fresh-baked bread; I can’t help it. Then I burn calories by my yoga practice!

3) What are you most excited about?

I am extremely excited and looking forward to seeing our USA team and all athletes from different countries. Just thinking of watching their live performances and cheering them on makes me feel very emotional. I am very honored and proud to be a part of the event.

4) Will any friends/family travel with you? Who?

My husband and my daughter will go with me.

5) How long have you been practicing?

Four years.

6) What is your profession?

I am a Medical Coding Compliance Auditor. It is a very stressful job; that’s why I need yoga!

7) Where do you regularly practice/are you a yoga teacher (name the studio, including city and state)?

I practice at Baltimore Hot Yoga and Wellness in Parkville, Maryland.

8) Any other info you want us to know.

Warm regards to all yoga athletes and enjoy your yoga journey!

Nahoko Nakayama: Yoga Has Changed Her Life

 

The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Nahoko Nakayama won the Bronze Medal for Adult 50+ Women in Madison, WI. She is a truly inspiring athlete, having also won the Gold Medal for the 2018 Mid-West Regionals held in Arlington, VA at age 63. Here’s a look at her journey to Beijing.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?



Read More

Wayne Campbell: Diligent Pursuit of Greatness

The Adult 50+ 2017 and 2018 champions are preparing to travel to Beijing, China to compete in the World Championship of Yoga Sports, December 1-2. This series of blog posts will explore their journey.

Wayne Campbell won the Bronze Medal for Adult 50+ Men in Madison, WI. Here’s a look at his journey to Beijing.

1) Why are you competing in Internationals? What drives you to make this journey?

I am competing in the 2018 International Yoga Championship because I have diligently trained 4 years as a Yoga Athlete to reach a level or proficiency, skill, and ability that would lead me to this opportunity.  I have my health, vitality, energy, and no good reason not to compete.  To be rewarded and recognized for diligently pursuing the path of the Yoga Athlete has so much more value to me.  I love reaping the rewards of what I have put so much time, energy, focus, and intention into.

2)  How are you preparing for the International Competition? Include types of practice, diet, meditation, etc.

I am preparing very diligently for the 2018 International Yoga Competition.  
I use lots of video and visual feedback for guidance.  I take 6-7 Bikram Hot Yoga classes each week, 13 Stretch Flow Yoga classes each week, 3 Hatha Yoga classes a week, and 3 Mat Pilates classes a week.  I also have my own personal yoga and stretch ritual, which consists stretches, drills, and exercises to go deeper into my muscles and fascia, which varies between 1-3 hours daily.  Then I practice yoga poses in my routine as well as other poses I am developing.  

My diet is pretty simple......
Early Breakfast: Fruit.
Breakfast: Granola w/ Almond Milk.
Snack: Walnuts.
Lunch:  Meat & vegetables or starches & vegetables.
Snack: Walnuts.
Dinner: Meat & vegetables or starches & vegetables.

3) What are you most excited about?

I am most excited about the possibility of improving the scores of the yoga poses in my yoga routine and excited about successfully doing a yoga pose that I have been working on for months and years.

4) How long have you been practicing?

I have been practicing yoga for 13.5 years.

5) What is your profession?

I am a Yoga Studio owner of Urban Fit Yoga, a Certified Bikram Yoga Teacher and a Licensed Massage Therapist.

6) Where do you regularly practice/are you a yoga teacher (name the studio, including city and state)?

I am the owner of Urban Fit Yoga Houston in Houston, Texas.

7) Any other info you want us to know.  

I have a second chance at training and performing as a yoga athlete after a career-ending dance injury that left me living with chronic pain and tightness for 23 years.  I am grateful to be able to train, play, perform on stage, and for my body healing and recovering.  I wish every yoga athlete good luck and growth on their Yoga athlete journey.

Mike Peck: Yoga is a Gift to Myself

Mike Peck, the USA Yoga Federation West Coast Regionals Adult 50+ Gold Medalist, began practicing yoga on a regular basis in 1977, using Richard Hittleman's Introduction to Yoga.  Just before his 59th birthday six years ago, he stopped by the local Hot Yoga studio in Scottsdale, Arizona as “a gift to myself.  I had been curious about hot yoga, stopped in, and have been going ever since,” he reminisced.

Mike practices at The Foundry Yoga in Paradise Valley and Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, training with coach Heidi-Jo Klingman. Despite his very demanding full-time job as a burn surgeon, he prepares for competition in three ways: practicing the classic 90-minute class at least three times a week; taking advantage of other classes (Pilates, HIIT, barre, power yoga) to help build strength and endurance; and taking private lessons with teachers and working on the homework they give him.

Mike has been competing for three years. Why did he first get interested? “I did it the first time because I appreciated the challenge and also because I got a lot of encouragement from my teachers,” he explains. “I went to my first regional competition about three years ago.  I fell out of standing bow but found the preparation for the event really helped my focus and my practice.”

Other benefits of training? “Not only was I now more focused on the postures in my routine, but I was also conscious of more attention to form and detail on the rest of the 90-minute sequence,” he says.  “Plus, it's a great group of people who compete!”

To stay fit, he starts most days with a cup of hot water and lemon juice followed by a Jamba Juice large Greens and Ginger.  He eats a light salad for lunch, and “then I come home and eat whatever my wife puts on the table for dinner.” He has mostly eliminated caffeine and reduced his intake of starches.  He drinks 3 liters of water a day.

Other hobbies include hiking and skiing. Mike has worked at burn centers all over the country, including Seattle, Cincinnati, Miami, and Chapel Hill, and have been in Phoenix for the last 10 years. He and his wife have three adult children.

“My daughter practices Hot Yoga off and on,” Mike says.  “My youngest son (who is 27) came once.  Unfortunately, I neglected to prepare him for class, and he had a cheeseburger for lunch -- that didn't go so well!”  

His advice for yogis considering competition in the 50+ Division? “Try it--there is nothing to lose, and it's a great experience!”

Mara Scaramella: Continually Challenging Herself


Mara Scaramella has a lot on her plate, but she still finds time to practice and compete, achieving the first-place medal for Arizona Adult 50+ Women for the past three years. Mara is one of the USA Yoga Federation scholarship winners for the 2018 Nationals and is looking forward to the competition in Madison, WI.


“I enjoy going to the competitions – the whole community is really nice and really fun,” she says. “I’m really looking forward to it and am really excited that there are so many Adult 50+ female competitors this year!”

Read More

Cori Crawford Van Oss: A Beautiful Practice

Cori Crawford Van Oss, the Adult 50+ Women’s Gold Medalist for the Southern States Regionals, is looking forward to her first USA Yoga Nationals competition. Age 54, she has practiced yoga for 12 years and is now ready to showcase her skills. “For me, the competition gives me a goal to work for so I’m taking my body as far as it can go in a healthy way,” Cori says.

Read More

Mo Fathelbab: Being Healthy and Living Longer is a Conscious Decision


Mo Fathelbab, the 2018 USA Yoga Mid-West Regionals Virginia champion for the Adult 50+ Men’s Division, is a focused, passionate entrepreneur and devoted yogi. He has practiced for 20 years, primarily Hot 90 style, but considers himself a seasonal yogi.

If the weather is nice, you will find Mo paddle boarding down the Potomac River or outside enjoying nature. If it is snowing, he might be skiing with his wife and son. No matter what though, he practices his competition routine daily to prepare for Nationals.

Read More

For Lisa Pafe, Competition is About Showing Your Perfection

 

 

Read More

Nahoko Nakayama: Getting Older Means Getting Stronger

Nahoko Nakayama, Gold Medalist in the Adult Women’s 50+ Division for the Mid-West Regionals, uses age to her advantage. At age 63, her daily yoga practice provides a firm (and flexible) foundation for her success as a yoga competitor.

Read More

USA Yoga Fundraiser: The YogaWorks Fairfax Team Rocks the House

The YogaWorks Team

Read More

Leslie Heywood: Professor, Yogi and Life-Long Competitor

I’ve seen Leslie Heywood compete in the USA Yoga 50+ Division and have marveled at her strength. But until recently, I never knew she is both an academic and a life-long competitive athlete.

Read More

Yoko Jackson: Dedication Pays Off


Look out Adult 50+ Women’s Division! YogaWorks Pure Om Fairfax’s competition team has a new competitor this year who has a beautiful and strong routine. Yoko Jackson has only been practicing yoga for three years, but she brings the commitment and dedication of a true competitor. She is a true demonstration of the old adage that its never too late to start your practice and see real results.

Read More

Inspiring Others

Paul Moore is a USA Yoga Adult 50+ champion and competitor with a mission. After successfully winning medals in three Nationals and the Gold medal in the 2016 International competition, he is now the man behind the Yogi Road Show, traveling to different studios to inspire others of all ages to compete.

Paul has been practicing for more than eight years. He started because of knee pain from an old leg injury due to a car accident. Two weeks of Hot yoga classes made a big difference, so he continued.  “What really keeps me going are the mental benefits - better calmness, life is brighter,” he said. “More recently my practice has started to provide a sense of purpose. Sharing my practice, inspiring others to do the same, gives deeper meaning.”

At age 65, he works hard at his day job as a Software Engineer with IBM, but heads to the Hot Yoga Mira Mesa studio every weekday evening at 6:30 PM to practice. On the weekends, he leads an open Advanced Series class on Saturdays, and then takes an Advanced Series class on Sundays. He also takes an occasional Yin class. Paul is a dedicated yogi who rarely takes a day off.

Watching and participating in yoga competitions over the past five years has provided a major source of inspiration for his practice.  He enjoys watching the competition routines as well as meeting the yogis and learning of their dedication He has found that competitors work incredibly hard to develop their routines, and that some have had to overcome physical limitations. “It's not just youth and great genetics!” he says.

He also studies yoga and recently finished "Yoga, Karma and Rebirth" by Stephen Phillips. One of his favorite yoga books is "Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight" by Rujuta Diwekar.  He is taking the author’s advice about mindful eating, incorporating more fruits and vegetables in his diet. He avoids foods that prevent peak performance, though he still enjoys a slice of pizza now and then!







Read More

Jamieson Greene: Youth Champion

Jamieson (Jamie) Greene, USA Yoga’s 2017 Youth Champion, took home the gold in her first year competing. It’s an impressive showing given the fact that her first competition was in November 2016.
 
Jamie began practicing yoga as an alternative to the traditional team sports that she had been playing for school. She found that she had a natural passion for yoga, and competition seemed like a good outlet for her to continue to improve her practice and share her love of yoga with a wider community.
 
The close-knit yoga community, for Jamie, is what makes yoga sport unique from other athletics. As she explains, “Unlike other sports, everyone [in the yoga community] is very supportive of each other, and while they work to do their personal best, they also want their competition to do their best.”
 
Jamie says that she felt relaxed and calm on stage because she was relieved that, after a buildup of stress and practice, her three minutes to perform had arrived. She does, however, admit that she stays focused on avoiding falling out of her final pose during her routine while she’s on stage.
 
After Jamie competed at regionals, she wanted to try to incorporate Dancer Pose into her Nationals routine. Although she found the pose challenging, particularly in avoiding hyperextending her leg and maintain her balance, she continued to devote practice time to the pose, eventually mastering it for her routine.

While Nationals have concluded, Jamie is excited to continue her daily practice and looks forward to competing next year. She also aspires to become a yoga instructor within the next year, bringing her passion for yoga to an even wider community.

Wayne Campbell: Men’s 50+ Champion

Two months before Wayne Campbell’s first yoga competition, the 2014-2015 Texas Yoga Asana Championship, he found himself inspired by the five yoga athletes taking the same 84 Advanced Yoga Series Class as him. Seeing their energy, focus, and ambition made him want to compete that year. His fast training paid off when he advanced to the 2014-2015 USA National Yoga Asana Championship that same year.
 
After a few years of competition, Wayne continues to compete to train his body every day and progress further into more advanced yoga poses.
 
This daily practice, however, is something Wayne had to pause in the weeks leading up to the 2017 USA National Yoga Championship. Five weeks before nationals, Wayne strained his Rhomboid muscle, which made it difficult to perform one of his competition poses: Finger Stand. Wayne focused on healing, and paused his yoga practice and training to have chiropractic massages three times a week, and acupuncture and cupping every other week.
 
Additionally, Wayne decided to change Finger Stand Pose for another advanced pose: One Legged Peacock Pose.  
 
Through yoga competition, Wayne has learned the importance of stillness and slow breathing, which helps calm his nervous system, quiets his mind, and keeps his adrenaline low. This stillness is behind Wayne’s perspective on the seconds leading up to taking the stage at Nationals: he considers them calm and beautiful moments.
 
After Internationals, Wayne plans to continue to fine tune his training and prepare for the next year’s Yoga Champion season. He also plans to continue to spend time at home with his girlfriend, Moji, and their Jack Russell Terrier, Max.

Catherine McCauley: Women’s 50+ Champion

Catherine McCauley began practicing yoga in 2005 as an alternative to running.  Before long, yoga became part of her. For the past 12 years, her yoga studio in north Texas, run by Stacey Stier Herndon, has been a welcoming community and a haven of support.
 
Catherine started competing in 2008 as a way to dive deeper into the details of the postures. Almost a decade later, competition continues to offer this deeper focus.
 
However, Catherine admits that her own mind is a challenge to overcome through competition. In order to stay focused, she keeps a three-step mantra. First, she focuses on being present. As she explains “I only have this moment; I choose to be here, and I am excited to share her love.” Second, she stays grateful for her body, its abilities, and for her life. Finally, she tries to feel, know, and trust the love of the universe as present at all times.   
 
Through competition, Catherine has been pleasantly surprised to experience what she considers very sincere love, support, and encouragement from her fellow competitors. As she says, “[Competition] really is a beautiful experience and their love and support is such a great example to me, it helps to calm me, realizing it is not about ‘winning,’ it’s about sharing the experience, encouraging others, and doing your best, whatever that is, today.
 
Additionally, through competition Catherine has also learned how much her mind and thinking can impact her performance. It’s a lesson that carries through to other aspects of her personal life. Cautions against coming “from a place of ego,” which can make one fearful and negative. Instead, she promotes coming “from a place of love,” to allow that pure love to shine through.

Adult 50+ Competitor Roxanne Armstrong: No Limitations

Women’s Adult 50+ Bronze medalist Roxanne Armstrong sees getting older as an opportunity, not a limitation. The devoted yogi, Bikram yoga teacher and yoga competitor practices and teaches at Hot Yoga Pasadena, where she learns from both students and teachers such as Jeff Rangel, a former USA Yoga Federation champion.

Read More