1. Eligible Persons
USA Yoga competitions are divided into youth, adult and senior divisions. All individuals who compete must be members of the USA Yoga Federation. The adult division is open to all individuals over the age of 18. The senior adult division is open to all individuals 50 years and older. The youth division is open to all individuals 11 to 17 years old. There are men’s and women’s categories for each division.
An athlete is eligible to compete in any state or regional competition provided he/she has maintained his/her primary physical residence in that
state or region for a minimum of three (3) months prior to such competition, and has not competed as a resident of a different state or region
during that competition season. Evidence of residency may be required. In cases of hardship, an athlete may apply to USA Yoga for an exception to the residency rule. Non-US citizens may compete in state competitions, but are not eligible to compete in the National Championship.
2. National Competition
The USA Yoga National Championship is an invitational competition. Eligible first place winners of adult and youth categories from each state are automatically invited to compete at the USA Yoga National Championship. Second place winners may act as an alternate if the first place winner is unable to attend the national championship, or may be invited to the National competition based on overall score. All other competitors in all categories, as well as the senior winners, may be invited to compete in the next level of competition based on the overall score a competitor receives. The number of invitations issued will be decided by the National competition organizers, once venue and scheduling information becomes available.
If you reside in a State that holds no regional championship, you may be invited to participate in the USA Yoga National Championship if you travel to and participate in a championship in another State and are approved by the Head Judge. In that case, the qualified Head Judge will evaluate your posture demonstration and determine whether or not you are qualified to represent your State.
Even if an athlete has received an invitation, entry deadlines still apply, so it is up to the individual to act on this information within the registration period.
3. Age Determination
• An athlete under the age of 11 will not be permitted to participate in the Age Group Competition Program under any circumstance. He/she must turn 11 years of age before he/she may begin competition.
• The competitive season is defined as June 22 – June 21. For all aspects of the program, an athlete’s competitive age is determined by his/her age on August 1st at the beginning of the competitive season.
• An athlete is allowed to move up one year in age for competition. He/she may move the one year based only on his/her age as of June 22. (Example: an athlete is 16 years old June 21, and turns 17 years old June 22, he/she may compete as an 17 year old, but he/she may not compete as a 18 year old because he was not 17 years old on June 22.)
- Any stimulating drug or alcoholic beverage must not be used before or during the competition by any competitor and will be treated as violation of the rules. Contestant will immediately be disqualified.
- Female contestants must not be pregnant.
- No contestant can participate as a judge at any regional championship. Athletes who are also registered and certified USA Yoga judges can serve as a judge once their involvement as an athlete is complete in any given year of competition.
- An athlete can only compete in one Regional USA Yoga Competition in any given year.
- No watches, clocks or timers are allowed on or near the competitor during their asana demonstration.
- Competitors are to maintain good conduct and proper discipline during competition. The USA Yoga Federation Board of Directors reserves the full right to suspend a competitor at any time.
To enter a Regional USA Yoga competition, or the USA National Competition, participants must be active athlete members of USA yoga.
- Join USA Yoga as an athlete.
- Once your membership is complete you will be given a user name and password that you will need to enter your regional competition.
- Visit the Event Calendar page of www.usayoga.org and select the regional competition you wish to enter.
- Fill out the athlete entry form and pay the $25 entry fee.
- An electronic Waiver of Liability is part of the on-line entry form. The name of the parent or legal guardian must accompany the Waiver of all youth division contestants, and the electronic signature must be that of the parent or legal guardian, as stated on the entry form.
- Participants must bring a copy of a photo ID with proof of age, or a birth certificate, to present when checking in.
Female: One or two-piece swimsuit, leotard, or exercise outfit with open arms and legs (no bikinis). The outfit should be elegant and modest.
Male: Speedo style swimsuit, or tight fitting shorts. Participants should minimize accessories and should not wear headbands or bandanas. Unobtrusive jewelry is permissible. The attire should not be overly revealing.
When a competitor’s name is called he or she will walk to the middle of the stage, face the judges, bring hands to namaskar (prayer position in the center of the chest), bow to the judges and the audience and then release the hands to the sides.
Instructions will then be given by the words, “Start please,” for the competitor to begin. Each competitor will have three minutes within which to complete seven asanas (postures).
The three minute timing will begin as soon as the competitor makes his or her first move into his or her first posture.
Each posture is to be announced, in English by the competitor before beginning the posture. If a competitor falls out of a posture or fails to complete a posture, he or she is allowed a second chance to attempt the same posture. If the competitor again fails, he or she must move on to the next posture.
All competitors should consult with a coach, judge or someone who is familiar with the USA Yoga Asana Championship procedures prior to entering the competition so as to assure a smooth and well-presented demonstration.
For details and photos of the compulsory postures please see the document titled “Adult Division Compulsory Postures” or “Youth Division Compulsory Postures.”
ADULT DIVISION – 18 - 49 yrs. SENIOR DIVISION - 50 yrs. and older
Four compulsory postures, and three optional postures are to be demonstrated in the following order:
(Pick one of three for each line of the compulsory postures.)
- Balancing Forward Bend: Balancing Stick (6.0), Crow (7.0) and Standing Forehead to Knee (8.0)
- Balancing Back Bend: Split Arm (8.0), Standing Bow (8.0) and Dancer (8.0)
- Spine Flexibility Option (Seated): Spine Twist (6.0), Bow (7.0) and Rabbit (7.0)
- Stretching/Traction: Standing Separate Leg Stretching (6.0), Stretching (7.0) and Upward Stretching (7.0)
YOUTH DIVISION – 11 TO 17 yrs.
Four compulsory postures and two additional postures, of the competitor’s choice are to be demonstrated in the following order:
- Half Moon Pose with Hands to Feet Pose (4 parts)
- Fish Pose
- Stretching Pose
- Spine Twisting Pose
Each posture will be judged on a scale of 0 to 10 points.
All seven postures must be performed in the given sequence within 3 minutes.
Time Called During Posture.
- If time expires prior to the completion of the posture, or if time expires after the completion of the posture but before the competitor is able to hold the posture for at least 3 seconds, the score is zero. For example, a competitor enters palm tree and holds the balance for 1 second before time expires – because the competitor does not have enough time to demonstrate that he/she can actually hold the posture in stillness, the score is zero. The Head Judge shall make a final determination of whether the posture was held long enough to receive a score.
- If time expires after the competitor completes and holds the posture for 3 seconds, but has not exited the posture, there shall be a 1 point deduction from the score for failing to complete the performance within the allotted time.
- If time expires after the competitor begins exiting the posture, but before the competitor returns to a neutral standing position, there shall be a 1/2 point deduction for failing to complete the performance within the allotted time.
- In paragraphs 2 and 3 above, notwithstanding the fact that time has expired, the competitor shall be required to exit the posture and judges may make further deductions based on any errors in such exit.
Judges will look for balance, strength, flexibility, well-paced timing and appropriate breathing in postures. Full points will be awarded if the competitor achieves the maximum expression of the posture and is able to demonstrate control of the body and breath while in the posture. Five seconds of stillness with controlled breathing in the maximum expression of the posture is recommended to demonstrate control. Points can be deducted, in whole or half point increments, for the following: wobbling, or lack of stability, hesitation or reversal of motion once the posture has begun, lack of proper alignment, poor timing and flow of posture, lack of stillness or lack of control once in the posture, falling out of a posture, uneven or forced breathing, etc.
1. Any of the following shall be considered a fall:
a) Any premature and complete loss of a grip (e.g. losing the grip on the heel in rabbit so that the hand separates from the foot and must be replaced)
b) A limb or foot prematurely coming out of a tucked position (e.g. foot coming out in bowleg or leg coming out of lotus)
c) Any body part touches the floor (i) prematurely or (ii) when touching is not a feature of the posture or its entry or exit (e.g. toes retouching the floor when attempting to enter peacock but before completing it, or hand retouches the floor after lifting it to enter mountain but before completing it, or foot touches floor when ‘weaving’ to enter Om)
d) Touching the floor with any body part, even if required by the posture, if the contact is uncontrolled (e.g. dropping to the elbows in full wheel or coming down from an inversion, so that the contact with the floor is hard, making a loud noise)
e) Any uncontrolled exit from a posture (e.g. dropping the held leg when coming out of standing head to knee or standing bow, or coming down from an inversion in the wrong direction or without landing on the feet)
2. If a fall occurs prior to completion of the posture, there shall be a deduction of 50% of the point value of the posture, and the competitor shall have a second chance to complete the posture. It is not required that the competitor return to the starting position to attempt a second chance if the character of the posture remains intact (such as a fall described in 1(c) above), nor is the competitor required to announce a second attempt. If the competitor fails to complete the posture in the second attempt, the score for that posture is zero.
3. If a fall occurs after the completion of the posture, judges may deduct 0.5 to 2 points depending on the severity of the fall. For example, if a competitor is exiting a standing forehead to knee pose, and has nearly completed the exit but loses the grip at the last moment before putting the foot down, a 0.5 deduction may be merited. As another example, if a competitor is balancing in handstand, and when exiting loses the balance and falls the wrong direction or without landing on his feet, a 2 point deduction may be merited.
A maximum of 5 points can be given for any posture that was attempted twice. Judges may consider body proportion and body type to determine how difficult a posture is for each participant. Judges will also consider the degree of difficulty when giving scores for the choice postures.
1. A competitor or the competitor’s coach may appeal the scoring of such competitor’s performance by notifying any of the judges of such competitor’s event no longer than 10 minutes after the public posting of such competitor’s score. 10 minutes after the final score in the event is publicly posted, the results of the event are final and are no longer subject to appeal for any reason.
2. A competitor or the competitor’s coach may file an appeal only with respect to such competitor’s performance and not with respect to any other competitor’s performance.
3. An appeal may be based upon (i) failure of the judges’ panel to apply correctly a rule not relating to the judges’ evaluation of the technical merit of a posture or routine, (ii) an error in applying the correct degree of difficulty point value as listed in these rules, or (iii) a computational error. Under no circumstances may an appeal be based on the judges’ failure to properly evaluate the technical merit of a posture or routine. For example, a competitor may not appeal a score based on having received a deduction for failing to touch his/her forehead to the knee, even if the competitor believes he/she did touch.
4. Appeals shall be evaluated by the technical committee or its representative, or in the absence of any technical committee representation, by the Head Judge. The Head Judge may consult with other judges in order to complete the evaluation. The result of the evaluation of the appeal shall be final and unappealable.
USA Yoga Federation must approve all selected judges. Judges must not be constituents of the same yoga organization as the contestants being judged. Judges should preferably be from outside of the contending region. Relatives of a judge cannot participate in a competition the judge is officiating. Judges who are also coaches should not officiate at a competition in which one of their students is competing.
The USA Yoga Federation will not be liable for any injury to a competitor sustained during or as a result of the competition. Competitors will not be allowed to participate with out submitting a Waiver of Liability. The USA Yoga Federation Committee reserves the right to add, alter, and amend the rules and programs at its sole discretion without prior notice. If a rule is changed, competitors will be fairly informed before their posture demonstration.