The USA Yoga Championship is comprised of an adult and a youth championship. Individuals who participate must be members of the USA Yoga Federation. The adult division is open to all individuals 18 years and older. The youth division is open to all individuals 11 to 17 years old. There are two groups divided by gender for both divisions.
First and second place winners from every State of each category (adult and youth) are eligible to compete at the USA Yoga National Championship. The third place winner in all categories will serve as an alternate in case the champion and/or runner up is unable to compete in the next level of competition.
The USA Yoga National Championship is an invitational championship. 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, where there is no USA Yoga Championship.
Eligibility to Represent States in USA Yoga Sanctioned Competitions
To enter a Regional USA Yoga competition, or the USA National Competition, participants must be active athlete members of USA yoga.
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 or Sanskrit, 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 yrs. and older
Five compulsory asanas and two asanas of the competitor’s choice are to be demonstrated in the following order:
YOUTH DIVISION – 11 TO 17 yrs.
Four compulsory asanas and two additional asanas, of the competitor’s choice are to be demonstrated in the following order:
Each posture will be judged on a scale of 0 to 10 points. In the adult division, 70 points maximum can be given to each competitor. In the youth division a maximum of 60 points can be given.
All seven postures must be performed in the given sequence within 3 minutes. If any of the postures has not been completed within the allotted time, zero points will be given for that posture. If a competitor has completed a posture and the time runs out while the competitor is holding stillness in the posture, full points can still be awarded for that posture.
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.
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.
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.