Yoga Competitors Pose to the Extreme

Should the body bend that way?

ByLiz Neporent
September 18, 2014, 5:13 AM
PHOTO: Athletes compete in competitive Yoga events throughout the world.
Athletes compete in competitive Yoga events throughout the world.
Yoga USA Federation

-- intro: If you consider touching your toes a major accomplishment, you’ll be really impressed with the athletes who do competitive yoga.

The sport began in India several decades ago, according to Ainslie Faust, the executive director of USA Yoga, a nonprofit sports yoga organization. It has caught on in the United States in the past few years.

The organization holds 30 sports yoga competitions a year all through the country, Faust said, with the average event attracting about 200 competitors and enthusiastic crowds of spectators.

quicklist: 1category: Extreme Yogatitle: Yoga Is Agelessurl:text: Faust says the youngest competitors are 11. She has seen competitors in their 60s, and one of her coaches is in her 80s.media: 25573550

quicklist: 2category: Extreme Yogatitle: Training Takes Dedicationurl:text: Zeb Homison has won the national competition two years in a row. He won the international competition in London last year. Homison said he trains eight hours a day and eats a "clean" diet.media: 25573242

quicklist: 3category: Extreme Yogatitle: Foundation Is Keyurl:text: Homison said he takes two beginning yoga classes a day.

“You have to keep going back to the foundations,” he said. “That keeps you solid because everything else builds from that.”media: 25573506

quicklist: 4category: Extreme Yogatitle: You Can Overdo Iturl:text: Homison said there’s a fine line between Yoga and contortion. And when you treat yoga as a sport, you sometimes walk that line.

“Yoga should be therapeutic and that sometimes means you need to take a step back and be patient,” he said. “That’s a big part of yoga anyway.”media: 25573387

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