Sunday, August 11, 2013

Competition Recap, or Danielle Should Probably Get A New Computer At Some Point

Hello yoga family,

I wrote you a beautiful blog post.  I shared funny anecdotes about all the concerts I've been to this summer.  I talked about the amazing Mary Jarvis seminars I've been lucky enough to attend.  I described the terrible terrible plague that is heat rash when you're not only a full time Bikram Yoga teacher, but also training for yoga competition...yet somehow, I transitioned the hilarious story of that horrendous plague into a learning experience about new student mentalities, and I tied it into an inspiring tale of one of my 6am students and it was BEAUTIFUL, I TELL YOU.  BEAUTIFUL.

And then my computer froze up, and I had to restart, and Blogger had decided that it just didn't feel like saving my post.  Any of it.

My memory is that of a goldfish and therefore I cannot recapture for you the glory of the hours I spent this weekend writing that post, dear readers.  So I'll just focus on what you're probably most curious about...

Competition Recap 2013!

Training for competition was a blast this year, plague of a heat rash or no.  We had our biggest group of competitors yet, including eleven students and teachers who were participating for the very first time.  It was awesome to watch their progress and share those moments of joy in the first drop back, or the first wall-walk, or kicking up into the first handstand.

Obviously when I clapped for them it wasn't like this.  I just love this gif SO MUCH.
I talked for a long while with a Post Gazette reporter for this article just before competition, and I told her how much I enjoyed being a part of this team.  Given that the only organized activity I've enjoyed that could be considered "sport" is, well...marching band, it's been a new and exciting experience for me.  

Plus, we're all yogis, so we're all so supportive and loving of each other it's probably a little bit sickening.  We may have had a sing-along to Bohemian Rhapsody as we backbended along the wall one summer Sunday afternoon.  Maybe.

And I gushed about how great our fearless leader Zeb was, and I shared the entirety of my marathon metaphor with her (which my students are probably all too familiar competition is like a marathon, you're not in it to win it, but to set a personal goal and then work with a team of likeminded people to achieve your goals together).

Alas, all that made it into Marina's article (which I 100% understand, because she had a lot of material to work with and was also very sweet) is this:

For competitor Danielle Hoffman, who placed fourth in Pennsylvania last year, competitive yoga is just like marathon running.

"You don't usually enter to win it, you enter it to set a really crazy personal goal," said Ms. Hoffman, 32, of Bloomfield. "For me it's like I'm going to balance on my arm with my feet on my head. And that's crazy, but I'm going to do it."

Yeah, okay.  That too.
Speaking of which, I totally balanced on my arms with my feet on my head!
But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Since it worked so well last time, please allow me to walk you through what went on in my head during these three minutes (and what goes through my head watching these three minutes):

:04 I'm really not that nervous.  After the debacle that was 2011 Nationals I don't think I'll ever be that nervous again.  Instead, I feel a little anticlimactic.  This is it?  This is what I've been training all month for?  Well, okay then.  Let's do this.

:26 Remember when this was my most challenging posture? Yeah, me neither.  Yoga rockstar baby!

:52 Speaking of yoga rockstar, Standing Bow? Psh.  Easy peasy.

:53 Wait whaaaaaaaaaaat???

Standing Bow Sidebar:  Remember the Standing Bow Comparison I did last year?  Well, this is how it should have looked this year:

But as you can see in the above video, this is how it ACTUALLY looked:

I'm not sure exactly what happened.  I could blame it on slippery grassy feet (the competition took place in a tent outside during a thunderstorm, believe it or not); or the fact that I decided to switch sides the week before; or that, during my brief warmup onstage, I tested Standing Bow on the wrong foot, looking in the wrong direction; or that I was so focused on staying put in Tiger Scorpion that I got lazy with my mandatory postures; but regardless, I fell out.  I was so surprised that I didn't have time to adjust or recover or try to save it.  I may have squealed.  Oh well.  It is what it is.

1:15  Oh it's on now, yogis.  Bring it.

1:25 I'm pretty happy with this bow.  And I enjoyed how the bow poses all competition were reflected in the poster behind us (except when the poster slooowly tipped over into Myra as she rolled into her rabbit...but she "rolled" with it!)

1:44 This is probably the best rabbit I have ever done. Or done since.  I mean, look at my score!  I scored the same as Lori!  As Leigh Ann!  I'm pretty stoked.  (Do people still use the word "stoked"? I think no.)

1:56 Judge Ainslie leans over to Judge Mary and whispers something here.  I imagine the conversation went something like this:  

JA: Didn't she kinda look like she was doing the worm when she got into that posture?   

JM: Yes.  Yes she did.

2:20 I wobble but I do not fall out.
2:27 I wobble but I do not fall out.
2:32 I sway but I DO NOT FALL OUT.
2:40 Nailed it!  (The smile/grimace on my face here is simultaneously gleeful and a little bit terrifying. I wouldn't mess with me.)

Thanks to Allison for the cool collage!
2:45 KA-THUNK.  I never did nail that landing...sorry Zeb.  Something to work on for next year.

2:53 WHEEEEE bendy spine.  For that I'd like to thank Mary Jarvis and many months of keeping my belly button on the floor in Cobra pose.  It's a pain but it works!

3:09 This is something else I changed in the weeks leading up to competition.  I had planned to do a deeper version of the Full Cobra I did last year, but I mixed it would have been nice if my elbows were just a skotch lower but I'm happy with it.

..aaaaaand we're done!

In the hours post-performance I cheered uproariously for all my fellow yogis; cheered extra loud for Lori, my number one training buddy and PIC, when she won third place in her first year(!) (and check out this great interview on the USA Yoga website); devoured a crepe with nutella and strawberries and bananas (mmmm, gluten); wandered around the Yoga Expo, picking up smoothie samples and freebies and blissing out for a moment in Sweat and Butter's Zen Tent; and last but not least, relaxed by the Point State Park Fountain with some marvelous yoga people.

Watch out.  If you dare Max to handstand photobomb, he will actually do it!
That's right, there were a couple of familiar faces along for this adventurePhil and Max from my favorite guest-teaching spot, the Annapolis studios in Maryland, were here - Phil to provide his eloquent elocutionary expertise as the emcee, and Max to provide support and good humor (and participate in Mary's seminar, of course); and even favorite person Chris from NYC was here - in fact, he took the video on which I've based this whole blog post!

....aaaand the next day we stared at their butts in Mary's seminar.  But those are some fine yoga butts!
There's more of course, but it's now so late and I still have to pack for my mini-vacation to Nova Scotia tomorrow.  I won't let so much time pass before the next post...and I'll make sure to hit that sneaky save button once in a while.

'til then,

P.S.  One last video!:


  1. I was so thrilled and proud to be there. What an amazing accomplishment, Ms. Bendy Spine!!

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for this marvelous account! :)

    And, please oh please share your Mary Jarvis experiences/epiphanies/stories! :)