From Athlete to Judge: Kim Tang

Kim Tang has participated in yoga sport as an athlete, coach, and judge. Here’s why she thinks judging is most important for “giving back.”

Kim Tang was no stranger to yoga sport when she began judging competitions in 2015. She felt like her time as a competitor had given her a clear understanding of the rules as they evolved throughout the growth of USA Yoga.  She further refined this knowledge as a coach, and felt compelled that judging would give her an outlet to “give back” to the USA Yoga community through a consistent, fair, and comprehensive understanding of the rules and scoring.

As she explains, “I love the event, I love witnessing the essence and personal growth of each competitor in the execution of their routines, and I love the idea that they feel supported and upheld by a familiar face whom they know has personally experienced each aspect of the event.”

The knowledge Tang has gained from her time on stage well-positions her to give advice to competitors. For both first-time and long-time athletes, her advice is the same: “Enjoy this! Whether you know it yet or not, it can be deeply  transformational in the scheme of your life regardless of the outcome.”

However, she also offers more actionable advice to competitors trying to maintain their balance on stage:

Before executing a balance posture like standing head to knee, standing bow, or dancer on stage, athletes should first lock their knee and set their gaze!

Also, Tang reminds athletes hoping to compete in Regionals that the fullest execution of a lower difficulty-level posture may yield a higher score than lesser execution of a higher difficulty-level posture. Chose proficiency and mastery: “Select postures that you have nailed down. If you fashion a routine that demonstrates postures you are quite proficient in, not only will you feel more confident and less nervous on stage, but you are far more likely to deliver a clean routine, advancing to the next level!”

While Tang is known for her own deep backbends, Goodbye Pose, One Arm Bow Legged Peacock and Bow Legged Mountain, which is why they hold  a special place in her heart, she is hopeful that she will see someone attempt One Legged Chakrasana, a pose she says she has yet to witness being held in stillness on stage.

Tang also caught up with us about the video qualifier submission deadlines that are approaching for athletes. Tang explains that video submissions are a great way for athletes to gain experience with their routines, but to make sure they practice their routines in front of an audience many times before the live regional event.

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