Cori Crawford Van Oss: A Beautiful Practice

Cori Crawford Van Oss, the Adult 50+ Women’s Gold Medalist for the Southern States Regionals, is looking forward to her first USA Yoga Nationals competition. Age 54, she has practiced yoga for 12 years and is now ready to showcase her skills. “For me, the competition gives me a goal to work for so I’m taking my body as far as it can go in a healthy way,” Cori says.

Cori began practicing while living in Budapest, Hungary where she learned Hot Yoga in both Hungarian and English. At the time, she had many injuries including herniated discs and knee issues from running and snow skiing. She loved the yoga from the first day as it helped release tightness in her body and heal her injuries.

Today she practices at Bikram West Orlando as well as Hot Yoga on the Island with her coach Suzanne Elliott. Cori got to know Suzanne after a car accident in 2009 when Suzanne’s teaching really helped her to heal. In 2016, Cori tried her first local competition, but decided to practice more before attempting Nationals.

Cori also loves outdoor activities such as biking and being on the water in sunny Florida. In addition to her Hot Yoga practice which includes Intermediate and Advanced classes, she practices Vinyasa for upper body strength and both teaches and practices Yin Yoga for additional flexibility. She also follows the Franklin method which helps her cooperate with her body and use muscles more effectively.

I have a wonderful husband who’s a “yoga widow,” she jokes. “He’s been super supportive! Yoga, work, my church activities and my husband are my main life emphases.”

Cori works for a Christian non-profit in fundraising for Christian outreach and has a background in coaching and spiritual formation. She oversees staff internationally and lived in Eastern Europe for 16 years. She travels extensively and enjoys mixing with different cultures and religions.

Cori follows a Paleo style diet and, as she has many allergies, avoids gluten, sugar and carbs. “Understanding what my body needs and paying attention makes a big difference,” she says.

To prepare for Nationals, she is practicing yoga every day that work allows and performing her routine. She is experimenting with a couple of poses, especially related to strength, and looks to her fellow Florida competitors for feedback and support.

“The biggest challenge in competition is the gap between what you know your body can do in practice and what you can do on stage when the lights are on and the nerves are on,” she says.  Her advice to fellow competitors? “Get comfortable with coming on stage and doing a little less than you know you can do in another setting.”

Cori really focuses on why she does yoga. “It’s not worth losing the joy of the practice to earn a medal, she explains. “I want my practice to be beautiful and be a space where I experience God even in during competition.”

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