National Yoga Champions Celebrated at San Antonio’s Aztec Theater

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More than 150 yogis from 36 states participated in the 2014 National USA Yoga Asana Championship at the Aztec Theatre last weekend, March 14-16.

The results were announced Sunday evening to a full theater:

Youth

#1 (Male) Alankane D’Quebec, CA
#1 (Female) Shannon Price, AZ

Seniors

#1 (Female) Clare Nelson, Austin, TX
#1 (Male) Craig Culbertson, FL

San Antonian Katherine Mondloch-Seavey performs one of the five compulsory asanas, "The Bow," during the 2014 National USA Yoga Asana Championship at the Aztec Theatre. Photo courtesy of USA Yoga Federation.

San Antonian Katherine Mondloch-Seavey performs one of the five compulsory asanas, “The Bow,” during the 2014 National USA Yoga Asana Championship at the Aztec Theatre. Photo courtesy of USA Yoga Federation.

Adult Men

#1 Zeb Homison, PA
#2 Jared McCann, NY
#3 Joseph Encinia, NY

Adult Women

#1 Gloria Suen, NY
#2 Gianna Purcell, IL
#3 Lauren Martone, CA

Each competitor executed seven postures – five compulsory, two optional –within a three-minute time limit.

Judges looked for balance, strength, flexibility, well paced timing, and appropriate breathing while in each posture.

Katherine Mondloch-Seavey was the only female from San Antonio to compete in the Nationals. She was on stage Friday, and ranked high enough to compete again on Saturday.

Yoga is not reserved for the young as demonstrated by Head Judge Emmy Cleave, who is in her 80s.

Originally from Latvia, she has been teaching yoga for about 40 years, and was at The Union studio in Hollywood Park Thursday evening and Friday morning conducting a master class.

On Sunday, she chatted with San Antonio’s own senior yogi luminary, Esther VexlerVexler was honored, Sunday, by USA Yoga Federation.

“We are all unified by the body, mind and soul,” Vexler said to a full-house.

 Head Judge Emmy Cleave and yogi luminary, Esther Vexler chat during the 2014 National USA Yoga Asana Championship at the Aztec Theatre. Photo courtesy of USA Yoga Federation.

Head Judge Emmy Cleave and yogi luminary, Esther Vexler chat during the 2014 National USA Yoga Asana Championship at the Aztec Theatre. Photo courtesy of USA Yoga Federation.

USA Yoga Founder, Rajashree Choudhury, is based out of California. She moved the competition to San Antonio as Texas has a large yoga population, and it’s in the center of the country. The competitions were held in San Antonio with the help of Lisa Ingle-Stevens, owner of The Union, a studio with three locations in San Antonio.

Choudhury was a five-time winner of the All-India Yoga Championship from 1979-1983. She later went on to receive her certification in Hatha Yoga Therapy for chronic diseases and disorders at Gosh’s College of Physical Education and Yoga Training Institute.

Speaking about yoga and competitions, Choudhury said,”Yoga gave me so much. I want to give back. It takes you to a level of understanding within yourself.” Choudhury starting her own yoga training at the age of four in India.

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