Adult 50+ Competitor Roxanne Armstrong: No Limitations

Women’s Adult 50+ Bronze medalist Roxanne Armstrong sees getting older as an opportunity, not a limitation. The devoted yogi, Bikram yoga teacher and yoga competitor practices and teaches at Hot Yoga Pasadena, where she learns from both students and teachers such as Jeff Rangel, a former USA Yoga Federation champion.

Roxanne has been practicing yoga for 15 years and teaching for 8 years. Two years ago, at age 52, she decided to try her hand at competition. “I wanted to give myself a goal, push my practice a bit and see what I could do,” she says. In her first two competition seasons, she kept the same routine, finding that the repetition, holding postures in stillness, and practicing mindfulness all contributed to gradual improvement.

Roxanne placed first for Senior Women (now Adult 50+) in her home state of California in both 2016 and 2017. Her first year at Nationals she did not make finals, so of course, she set a goal to make finals in 2017. “I like to be accountable for what I do,” she explains.

Her strategy was repetition and focusing on the details of the postures. She practices six days a week and tries to do advanced class weekly. In the beginner 26 and 2 class, she often does the advanced posture in her second set. Roxanne also gets to class early to do hip and shoulder openers and back bends.

Interestingly, she does not have a coach, but uses her mindfulness to focus on the details of each individual posture, ensuring she holds each posture in stillness. Roxanne says: “I’m not that person who does my routine over and over again – I do the postures over and over again but not in the form of a routine.”

Her devotion to a regular practice paid off, as she not only made finals but placed third for Senior Women at the Nationals in Grand Rapids, MI. Her goal for the 2018 competition season is to continue to challenge herself by developing a new routine, learning new postures and incorporating mindfulness in daily practice.

In addition to teaching and competing, Roxanne is a massage therapist and personal assistant to an active 91-year old gentleman. She loves to hike and garden, and has been a vegetarian since age 21. As she gets older, she tries to listen to what her body needs, living her life from that place of mindfulness.

“As for practicing as a 50+ athlete, I don’t think of any limitations, I just always knew it was possible,” she says. She advises older athletes: “If you go too far, back off and be more mindful. Don’t push as much, breathe more.”

Her positivity and desire to inspire others is evident in her advice to fellow 50+ yoga athletes: “Go for it, have fun! Don’t be too hard on yourself.” She also believes that competition is great for personal growth and learning more about yourself.

“They key is practice – if you want to improve, you have to practice.” Roxanne says.  “It is not a fast process, it is a slow process, especially as you get older, but things will change and will happen for you.”

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