2012 Champions

Afton Carraway, 2011-2012 USA YOGA GOLD MEDAL WINNER

Afton Carraway is a Florida native.  She grew up in Orlando dancing from an early age. During her career as a professional dancer, a friend brought her to her first Bikram Yoga class.  Thinking that the class would be a ‘walk in the park,’ and that she was “in shape” she had a rude awakening laying amuck on the floor afterwards. As she continued to practice, she began to realize she was flexible in all of the wrong places and owned not an ounce of true strength.  Afton’s daily dance classes slowly evolved into daily yoga classes and three years into her practice, she found herself starting a new career as a yoga instructor.

Inspired by the rigors of the Bikram Yoga teacher training, two weeks after returning,  Afton competed in the USA Yoga Florida regional and won 2nd place.  After competing in Nationals that year, she began to see the championships not as a competition, but more of a celebration of yoga.  Afton has continued to compete every year since then, placing 3rd at the USA Yoga nationals  in 2010 before winning 1st place in 2011. 

Afton has won first place in Florida 4 years in a row and is looking forward to sharing her practice on stage again at Nationals.  Her postures continue to evolve as her love and understanding of  yoga continues to grow.  She aspires to lead by example through her teaching and her practice and hopes her students recognize – just as she did - that the possibilities of what you can accomplish are boundless with a consistent yoga practice. 

Katherine Marshall-Kramer, 2012 USA Yoga gold Medal Winner Youth Division

I took my first Bikram Yoga class at my mother’s teacher training when I was four years old. Despite my mother owning a studio and always being around yoga, I took little interest in it until we hosted the 2005 Midwest Regional Yoga Asana Championship.

After this I practiced sporadically until I went and watched the 2007 National and International Yoga Asana Championships in Los Angeles. I was very inspired by the competitors and when I found out there would be a youth division the next year, I decided, just for fun, to train and compete.

The first year I competed I learned that even at the age of 11, training only a couple days a week, that I felt better if I practiced. I also learned that competing at the yoga championships was the only time I wasn’t afraid of being on stage alone. I continued to compete every year after that.

The people I have met through the yoga and the Championship are a continuous source of inspiration. I’ve found from personal experience that despite being a “competition,” training with the goal of winning will not usually serve one well. Training for the competitions gives me reason to keep practicing, to keep trying, and to keep improving.