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Competitive yoga is a serious sport

STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - At center, Angela Patrick, owner of Bikram Yoga of Happy Valley and West Linn, is hosting the Oregon Regional Yoga Asana Championship to take place Nov. 15 at Oregon Golf Club.

Competitive yoga sounds like an oxymoron but it is a serious sport, one that Angela Patrick, owner of Bikram Yoga in Happy Valley and West Linn, hopes will become as common as diving or skating. To further that cause, she is hosting for the second time the Oregon Regional Yoga Asana Championship to take place Nov. 15 at Oregon Golf Club.

“Competitive yoga does sound like an oxymoron,” Patrick said. “It’s new to us, but has been going on in India for hundreds of years. People demonstrate their strength of body and mind in the competitions. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of hatha yoga so that eventually it will be recognized as an Olympic sport that is judged on the purity of form in motion, much like diving or solo skating.”

There are different styles of hatha yoga including Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Bikram. Those competing need to demonstrate their mastery of physical strength, stamina, balance, flexibility, breath and concentration.

In preparation for the Oregon competition about 20 dedicated yogis-in-training are practicing three times a week in Patrick’s studios, under the careful eyes of Patrick and Sheryl Miyashiro, the manager of the Happy Valley studio, who holds championship titles from both Hawaii and Oregon, and recently placed 13th in the National USA Yoga Championship. Thirteen of the yogis are from Patrick’s studios.

In last year’s competition four yogis, coached by Miyashiro at Patrick’s studios, place first and second in their divisions.

The competition is held on behalf of USA Yoga, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and promoting yoga asana (postures) as a sport. Competitors must perform six postures in a three-minute routine.

“The first four postures are compulsory,” Patrick said. “The last two are optional. It is pretty amazing to see my students compete.”

Categories include youth (ages 11-17), women’s and men’s adult (ages 18-49) and senior (ages 50 and older).

The event will be held from 1-4:30 p.m. at Oregon Golf Club, 25700 S.W. Petes Mountain Road in West Linn. Admission is $10 at the door or $8 in advance online at bikramyogawestlinn.com/events.

Vendors will be present at the event selling yoga clothing, mats and accessories as well as food and beverages. Raffles will be held for a variety of prizes. Proceeds from the event will be used in part to send the winner to the national competition.

Patrick purchased the Bikram Yoga West Linn location about five years ago and opened the Happy Valley location. Bikram Yoga was designed by Bikram Choudhury to systematically stimulate and restore health to every muscle, joint and organ of the body. Patrick said the system was designed specifically to address the American cultural issues of job stress, overeating, bad posture and fast-paced lifestyles. Participants of all ages and fitness levels notice an increase in energy, strength, balance, flexibility and mental focus, she says.

“To truly understand the magic of Bikram Yoga you must experience it firsthand — please come join us in a class,” she said.

To learn more about Bikram Yoga and to purchase tickets to Oregon Yoga Championship, visit BikramYogaWLHV.com.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Competitive yoga coach Sheryl Miyashiro, center, leads a group of yogis-in-training through poses they will have to perform during the competition.