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Alrighty, my coaching tips. :

  1. First, I feel that it is very important that you chose your coach wisely then stick with them! You will make yourself crazy by asking for tips from everyone you meet. Pick a coach, whether you are working in person or via video, who knows the current rules and has experience coaching.
  2. Train with proper form and alignment. Otherwise you are harming your body instead of healing and opening it.
  3. Be realistic about your goals for this year! If you have never done a head stand, do not tell your coach you want to do tiger. :).
  4. Finally, to keep this short, because I could talk about this forever, train hard, eat well, and take one day off a week. You also need to rest.
Best of luck,

Make your routine fun to watch.

Think about what you tell well-meaning, but perhaps, skeptical friends when they ask about competing.  “Really? Yoga competition? Why would you do that?”

You might share that your routine is about measuring you against you; that it is about sharing the results of your efforts to develop balance, strength and flexibility.  Or, maybe you talk about how much you gain from the preparation, the coaching and the pride in demonstrating a posture that may once have seemed impossible to you.

Those are your reasons. Now consider USA Yoga’s reasons for promoting yoga championships—to inspire yoga practitioners to improve their practices and encourage newcomers to take up the practice of yoga and the sport of Yoga Asana.

Instead of thinking about how difficult it is to take your personal practice onto a stage to be judged (and it is difficult!), try thinking about the experience of those watching.

Can you inspire a child to start a yoga practice? Can you kindle the courage in a reluctant yogi to enter a regional competition? Can you delight the audience rather than have them be terrified for you?

Make your routine fun to watch.  Do the most difficult postures you are prepared to share with confidence and joy. You just may inspire a future champion.

Sarah Gnerre has been practicing for over a decade at Bikram Yoga Portsmouth. She has been competing in the senior division for three years. Her nephew David has declared her a “winner!”



Another video tip from the fabulous Sara Curry on choosing your routine, it's a numbers game.




To train and participate in the asana championship is to be a yoga ambassador.  In the championship, your body speaks of your practice.  The noble goal is to inspire others to practice yoga.  Off the stage, be prepared to describe why you participate.

At one regional championship, after I finished my postures and was leaving the stage, the emcee stopped me and asked "Why do you do this?"  As I looked at the microphone, my mind was in tell-only-the-truth yoga mode.  A clever answer would have been, "It's always been my dream to stand on my head on the stage."  But in a quivering and somber voice I blurted out, "Because it's fun." And the answer seemed to surprise the audience as much as it did me.  Evidently the emcee was satisfied.  He let me exit the stage and I began to ponder what made those words come forth.  I smiled and was content when I realized that at age 63, standing on my head gave me the same joy as when I was 10.

When another yogi disapproves and says "yoga is not about competition", acknowledge that the asanas are only one of the eight petals of yoga and that our demonstrations are intended to inspire people to practice yoga.

And also know that the great yogi Iyengar endorsed asana championships!  Have you studied the letter from Iyengar on the USA Yoga web site?  He says, "I wish all the participants good luck by keeping up the commands as advised by our great sage Patanjali in their presentations."  Patanjali had advice for yogis doing public displays of asanas.

Encourage other yogis to participate, but accept that each path is unique and that we share a common goal.  

When someone refers to one of your postures and says "I could never do that", tell them how yoga has changed your body and mind.  Yoga practice is a work of faith.

That's the truth.


Be coachable.

Assuming  you selected a coach you believe in. You should then trust their advice. Weather it be what postures to do,  adjustments in your postures or adjustments  in your  habits. You should just take the advice and grow with it.

Try and remove personal feelings.

Feeling sorry for yourself or thinking you know better than, just gets in the way of your success.

You see your coach has your best interest in mind. Just think..... you are their business card!

If you fail so does your coach. (Nobody's really failing of course.)

The coach has the best perspective of you, a birds' eye view, if you will.

So go ahead and sallow your pride and make the necessary changes that are asked of you. Take a leap of trust towards your coach and your Yoga! And success will surely follow!


Have a count!  There is a timing judge at each event with a timer making sure you are holding the poses for at least 5 seconds. 

When I train, I practice holding for 10 seconds because on stage it is very normal for competitors to speed up the timing.  So once I'm in the posture, I count down from 10. 

The count will assure that you don't lose points on time (or worse, get a zero!), and also keep your mind very focused on what you are doing. 

Once you start your count, DON'T MOVE!! 

If you move, the timing judge starts your time over, so you have to be still. 

I hope this is helpful!!  Good luck with your training!
Garland Hume


We are coaching our Yoga Sportsters to prepare for the Southern States Super Regional, one month away, with a focus on repetition. With one month away, we encourage athletes to focus just on their 3 minute choreographed routines. Athletes are coached to create their final routine and repeat their 3 minute routine 10 times a day. Five times on each side for double-sided postures. Each routine performed during the repetition must be done clean. If the Posture is not done correctly, it must be repeated, to end with your best muscle memory. 

In these practices as coaches, we can nitpick each posture in the routine and adjust the athlete's choreography to make the best use of their time in the three minute routine. It is highly recommended that athletes at this stage have someone watching and timing their routines to be critiqued and coached.

We coach athletes to perform their routines in front of others as much as possible and to get their timing consistent. This gives the athlete more confidence to perform on stage giving them a higher chance of success of performance.

Good Luck!

Suzanne Elliot

One of my favorite coaching tips is planning to reduce your stress level before your competition season. It will help you to perform calmly and focused on stage and to enjoy your experience.  For example, training your mind and body to create consistent muscle memory on daily basis will reduce your stress level on stage because you are no longer thinking about it. You are just executing. Being a planner is an advantage so allow yourself to add it into your daily yoga practice.

Rola Khwais

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