Filtered by tag: yogisageless Remove Filter

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

Hard Work Pays Off


Photo by Jessica Onderwater

Adult 50+ Competitor Mitch Watkins: Hard Work Pays Off

Focus, discipline and determination are the characteristics of Adult 50+ Men’s Champion Mitch Watkins.

Read More

Adults 50+ Division Takes off!


By now you have heard that USA Yoga is rebranding the Senior Division to the more descriptive title Adult 50+. This is great news for our Division which includes anyone who turns 50 in the next competition year and those wise yogis who are already age 50 and older.


The Pure Om Fairfax Competition Team Adult 50+ athletes have been busy this summer – first, preparing for Nationals (where competitor Thomas Forbang took the Bronze medal), and now, preparing for the 2018 competition season. During the summer, we continued to meet regularly to give each other constructive feedback on our routines, and everyone has kept up a daily yoga practice. We mixed it up this summer with other forms of yoga as well: Vinyasa, Barre and Yin. These other practices have helped us to build strength, flexibility and balance, which gets even more important as we age.


We also have taken advantage of new perspectives. For example, we visited Bikram Yoga Alexandria to take a class with fellow competitor Zoha Vaezi followed by a Spine Twisting Posture Lab with competitor Jenifer Ruschell.  We have tried different Bikram studios when we have travelled to such far flung places as Paris, Amsterdam, Japan, New Orleans, New Haven, and New York City.


Read More

A Moment in Time



For more than two years, Lisa Pafe has been competing which, for her, is a demonstration of what she can do with her body, mind, and spirit as a senior athlete.

For Lisa, a variety of workouts is important to training for competition day. To prepare for nationals, Lisa practices different forms of yoga, including weight training and barre classes to build her strength, balance and flexibility.

Furthermore, she draws on the knowledge and insights of her competition team members at her yoga studio. They meet for weekly sessions and critiques. Finally, maintaing a consistent practice of her own routine is also important to Lisa; she makes sure to practice her routine once a day in the weeks leading up to competition.

For all of this practice and dedication, Lisa also maintains a healthy attitude toward her performance. Her best advice to competitors demonstrates her comfort and confidence. As she advises, "Competition is a moment in time. Just do the best you can do in that moment. Whatever you do, it is perfect for you."

This attitude has certainly helped with the pose that gives Lisa the most difficulty: rabbit. As she explains, because she has short arms it is difficult for her to hold her heels properly. Yet Lisa's approach to training is one way she has overcome this challenge.

Although Lisa's training will culminate in her three minutes on stage at nationals, she is most excited to see and bond with her fellow senior division competitors. In her own words, "seniors rock!"

From injury to competition


It all started with a running injury. Jennifer Vanderhart had pulled her groin muscle as she neared the finish line. But for Jennifer, recovery wasn't a race; she felt like it was taking too long, and two months in she decided to take a yoga class at her local gym.
 
Jennifer didn't love yoga immediately. In fact, she thought her first class was boring. It wasn't until another two months had passed and she tried yoga again, this time at a different studio. She still wasn't convinced, but Jennifer kept up with her yoga practice. A year and a half later she was competing.
 
For Jennifer, competing gives her extra incentive to work on her postures, and it has helped her approach her practice with a more detail-oriented focus.
 
Best of all, Jennifer enjoys competing because it has led to her meeting an array of people, and she loves working with other competitors and would-be competitors.
 
Jennifer says that from her own experience, the best advice she can give her fellow competitors is not to "train" at a specific point in time before competition but rather to practice mindfully and consistently. Your practice is your training.  Although she tries to practice every day, Jenifer admits that it can be difficult. However, she makes the most of her classes by picking a few postures to practice after each class, no matter how tired she may be.
 
For her fellow competitors, Jennifer says, "Competition day is such a rush!  Try to enjoy the day, the people, the heightened awareness and energy.  Maybe this year you hit everything perfectly.  Maybe that's for next year.  It's a long yoga life."
 
A long yoga life indeed, where injury and setbacks can lead to competition and success.

Consistency

Lucy Homiller’s Athlete Advice: Consistency
 
For Lucy Homiller, year-round consistency is key to her competition training. She practices a beginning yoga class every day and advanced classes twice a week. In addition to her classwork, Lucy follows a routine outside of class, including homework from her yoga teachers, and additional practice postures and drills.
 
With the encouragement of the teachers at the yoga studio where she practices in Richmond, Virginia, Lucy first began competing during November 2013 at the Mid-Atlantic Regionals. Lucy was also inspired by the other yogis she knew who competed, and now she passes along the excitement of competition to others at her studio with another facet of her competition training—practicing her routine after the beginner’s class for anyone who wants to stay and watch.
 
In fact, performing her routine in front of others on a regular basis is, according to Lucy, the best training advice she’s every received. As she explains, “Practice your routine immediately after class, in front of as many people as you can, and on the teacher’s podium, if possible. It is almost impossible to duplicate the feeling of demonstrating your routine on stage (the nerves, the cold, the lights, the eyes upon you), but doing it after class is the closest I’ve come. You’re tired, you don’t want to do it, you’ll fall, you get frustrated, but these are all real circumstances that could arise on stage at any time and it’s so important to learn how to work through them before you’re actually on stage.”
 
Practicing her routine in front of an audience on a regular basis certainly helps Lucy with the posture that she considers “no easy feat”: standing head to knee. Lucy considers the posture difficult because it opens her routine and can set the tone for the rest of her postures. However, once she makes it through standing head to knee, she feels relieved and ready to take on the next posture.







Read More

My Senior Moment: A Yoga Competition Journey (Part 2) )

Part 2: My Senior Moment: My First Competition(s)


How can I describe the excitement and joy as well as the calm and self-realization of being on stage? I was excited for my first competition, but I was not nervous. I asked myself why. I realized that I was looking forward to showing the world what I could do with my body and mind and soul as a 55-year old “senior.”


Arriving at the competition venue with my crew from Pure Om Fairfax, I wondered what the day would entail. I soon learned that it was all about supporting your fellow competitors. Everyone I met that day was so positive and encouraging. Competition is not a “me versus you” thing; it is about encouraging your friends to do their best. I went to competition with friends from my studio, and I left with new friends from all over the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Read More