Thursday, July 30, 2015 12:00 AM

Summer Membership Challenge 


The USA YOGA Federation is challenging you, our members, with a reward of a Yoga Workshop from one of our 2015 National Champions

 We are rewarding the person or organization who refers the most members during our summer membership drive from now till August 31 with a newsletter profile, social media shout out, and a Yoga Workshop from a current USA Yoga Champion. 

 You can help increase the awareness and popularity of yoga in our culture by becoming a member.

 Your support helps USA Yoga to raise the awareness and acceptance of yoga through public events and the promotion and marketing of those events. 

 If you are passionate about yoga and would like to see more people incorporating yoga into their lives then please join USA Yoga. 

The United States Yoga Federation welcomes students and teachers of all yoga lineages to join and support us in our goal of developing yoga asana as a sport.

USA Yoga provides events in which to compete, verifies judges for such events, and decides the content for participants in the sport.

If you are currently a member, then your membership will expire on June 21st, since we have moved to a seasonal membership model. Please renew here. 

Please click here to join and choose your membership.

New USA YOGA Board Members

The USA YOGA Federation recognizes with great pride the two newest members of our Board of Directors, Suzanne Elliott and Lynn Whitlow. Our newest board members have been a part of judging and coaching within USA Yoga since its inception. We are very excited to collaborate with them as we move towards our goal of raising yoga sport to an unprecedented level.

Lynn has been teaching yoga all her adult life and first studied yoga in the 1990’s after a devastating car accident. She owned and operated seven successful yoga schools in the San Francisco Bay area, including the well-known Funky Door Yoga Chain.

Lynn has been instrumental in helping with the development and expansion of the International Yoga Championships and USA Yoga. In addition to teaching workshops to the general public Lynn also consults with studio owners on a variety of different areas. She helps studios improve their business practices with focus on working with teachers to develop and strengthen their teaching skills. Lynn is unique with her no-nonsense, clarity, and methodical teaching style. 


Suzanne has been involved in health and wellness for almost 40 years, with degrees in Physical Education, Biology, and Counseling.  She was a Counselor and Coach for 20 years at the secondary school level.  Suzanne has earned certifications in Toastmasters, Vegan Nutrition, Life Coaching and several Fitness, Yoga and Yoga Therapy courses.  She has been a state and national award winning competitive cheer coach at the high school level, and a regional, national and international competitive yoga coach and judge every year since the inception of USA YOGA.

 Suzanne has practiced yoga for over 20 years and is excited to be a USA Yoga Board Member to help with the mission to increase awareness of the sport of Yoga Asana. Together, we can connect all ages and all styles of yoga and host events that will help us promote and continue our mission.


  2015 National Championship

The USA YOGA National Championship in Binghamton NY last month was a great success. We had athletes from all over the U.S. demonstrate their passion for yoga by living through their body, mind and spirit in 3 minutes. Each athlete owned their own meaning of strength, willpower, determination and control. Through concentration and breath, their routines were spectacular to watch. 

Inspiration was at its finest with an amazing Senior and Youth division. These categories showed committed effort and enthusiasm to share what these athletes love to do. Practice Yoga.

USA YOGA introduced a new national format to the platform which showcased the athletes ability to tell the story of their spine in a beautiful way. The National finals' format gave each athlete the freedom to preform 7 postures in 3 minutes, which included a backward bend, forward bend, traction, lift, inversion and 2 optional postures.

 This year we congratulate:

Adult Female Champion, Andrea Nicole Ortiz
Adult Male Champion, John Schoggins
Senior Female Champion, Michele Trufant
Senior Male Champion, Scott Marin
Youth Female Champion, Annie Yanofsky
Youth Male Champion, Aiden LeMay



 Every one is a champion. In your own right, you are the champion of yourself. Your every moment mastered by your willingness to make a difference for yourself, which has inherent impact on the world around you. Thank you to all the athletes for your time and efforts to make this a memorable year. thank you to Roxanne Janecki, Marc Hocking, Ainslie Faust, Mary Jarvis, Joseph Encinia and to all the judges who made this event a success!

After moving to New York and taking my first yoga class, I was immediately hooked. Yoga made me feel free. I was encouraged to take a 200 hour Vinyasa teacher training. In my training I met Jared McCann, and he discovered I'm a back-bender. He was the one who encouraged me to do the yoga competition. When I started practicing yoga I was like a rubber band: hyper flexible but with zero strength or stability.  I was able to develop physical strength in my body and inner strength as a person. Yoga constantly reminds me that my body is a bridge to get to something higher; each pose has the ability to take us to that perfect stillness where time and space stop and everything just is. Yoga, this union, is so beautiful because it puts body and soul together. As humans we feel so broken sometimes, but through this practice we can join our pieces back together and realize we are and have always been whole and complete. As whole beings we are able to connect with others, with nature and with god, and realize we're all part of something bigger and far more beautiful.
Yoga heals. I originally started yoga due to a back injury. Years of heavy weightlifting with little regard for form led to an L5/S1 disc herniation in 2005. The pain was excruciating, as was the emotional toll. I took medication, did some physical therapy, and went right back to lifting. After re-injuring it in 2007 I heard yoga was restorative, so I decided to try it out. I practiced a Vinyasa flow for almost two years before attending my first Bikram class in 2010. It was hard and I didn’t think I was going to make it.  After class, however, I felt amazing. Over time, my spine started to heal and my mind started to clear. Early in my yoga practice, I learned about yoga competition and was intrigued. Since then, I have competed in three New York State Regional, two Texas Regional, and two National Championships. Perhaps the greatest lesson I have learned through competitive yoga is the ability to maintain a mind-body connection in the face of multiple challenges—judges, spectators, time constraints, etc. Yoga asana truly becomes the present moment.
  A Message from the new USA YOGA President

To the members of the USA YOGA Federation, it is my great honor to be of service as the new Board President of USA Yoga. It is my strongest desire to serve our athletes, members, and board of directors to the fullest of my ability. This sport has given me many gifts of health, wisdom and opportunity which I hope to return to others as President.

USA Yoga's mission is to inspire others take up the practice of yoga and build our athletic skills through yoga sport. This is a personal mission I have followed as an athlete, coach, and judge for the last 10 years. It is my honor to continue this as the new board President. Through right efforts and actions, along with the guidance of all of our supporters, I aspire to bring USA Yoga to the highest level of recognition within the national yoga and sport community. 

Competing and progressing through the many levels of competition as a USA Yoga Athlete and Champion has given me excellent experience to lead the Board of USA Yoga. From the time of placing last in the 2005 Texas Regional to my first National title in 2008, the USA Yoga Federation has taken my health stricken body and trained it through discipline and sportsmanship to become the International Yoga Sports Federation Champion in 2011. Thank you athletes, members, and supporters for your support and commitment to USA Yoga as we work together in our continued acceleration of our shared goal of raising yoga sport to an unprecedented level.

With Respect,

Joseph Encinia

New Regional Competition Format 

One posture from each of the four Compulsory Categories and two Optional Postures of the Athlete’s choice are to be demonstrated in the following order:

The new format for the competition is designed to demonstrate the unique strengths of Yoga. There are 4 postures covering 4 compulsory categories to demonstrate the basic range of motion of the spine. 

Furthermore, there are 2 postures, covering the combination of characteristics of skills of Strength, Balance and Flexibility. 

The routine consists of 6 postures to be performed in 3 minutes. 

Each posture must be held for a minimum of 5 seconds for no deductions. A 4 second hold will receive a 1 point deduction and 3 second holds will receive a 2 point deduction. If a posture is held for less than 3 seconds, no score will be given. 

In order to increase the participation of the competition, both for spectators and for different types of yoga competitors, choices of postures of the 4 compulsory categories have been separated into 3 different difficulty levels. 

The first difficulty level are all floor postures that demonstrate primarily flexibility and the degree of difficulty multiplier is 6.

The second difficulty level demonstrates primarily balance and the degree of difficulty multiplier is 7.

The third difficulty level demonstrates a combination of skills and all come from the current Official Approved List of Postures in the SR. The postures in the third level have a degree of difficulty multiplier of 8.