We were so proud of our much loved member Jamie Summers when he told us he’d won a bronze medal at the UK Yoga Asana Championships 2017. We wanted to find out a little bit about the day and what made him enter the competition
Jamie, what inspired you to enter the yoga champs?
There were two reasons I entered.
Firstly Cintra Brown encouraged me to enter last year and although I said I would do it – I didn’t. Then when it came around this year I wondered what had stopped me last time and it was fear. I wanted to push through that.
The second reason was to show others that the elite club of yogis doesn’t exist.
Sometimes when we are scared of something we can put our own spin on why we shouldn’t do it and for me I was telling myself that The Championships and Advance Yoga was for another kind of person.
It was for the clique – not for me.
Well actually there was no clique – that was just a story in my head, stopping me from trying.
In three years I went from not being able to touch my toes to now competing.
If I can do it – anyone can do it
Which postures did you do and why?
I chose to do Rabbit, Standing Bow, Upward Stretching and Spine Twist which cover the four compulsory categories then my two optional postures were The Splits with forward stretching and drop back into One Legged Wheel.
I specifically chose some of them because they are my strongest postures and others because I wanted to challenge myself, put some hours of practice in and prove that I could do it.
Dropping back into wheel was one of the scariest things I have done, looking back trying to see the floor before my back would let me go any further. Until one day I got angry and suddenly trusted that the floor was still going to be there when my hands touched it – and there it was.
Now that fear is gone.
Were you nervous on the day? If so, how did you calm your nerves?
The advice that I was given was not to watch those who were going on before me but to just focus on my breath and my sequence.
I was excited more than nervous, that was up until the point of walking out on stage when I totally forgot what way to face and what postures I was doing.
It wasn’t until I was coming back up out of wheel that I remembered to do the splits, for about 3 seconds I just hung in mid-air thinking “I’m sure I’ve missed something”.
What was the atmosphere like?
This was probably my favourite bit. The atmosphere was beautiful.
All the competitors arrived at about 2pm and we spent a good two hours warming up in another room together. All sharing stories and tips on how to keep your cool while you’re out there. There were people from all over Europe not just London.
We were making each other laugh and helping to keep each other focused and calm. Even getting feedback on our postures before going out there. It was magical – if I could have bottled some of that moment to keep forever I would have.
How much training did you do? And what did your training involve?
I was lucky enough to be going out on a retreat in India with Naomi Clark for four weeks before the competition. I practiced my sequence every day on the retreat and 3 times a day when I got back. But strangely enough I didn’t get bendier – I got stiffer. After the competition suddenly I must have let go and the bendy old me came back.
The teachers and fellow students at London Bridge were so supportive, I was blown away.
We know Yoga is classed as a sport but many shun competitions as they are not in the spirit of yoga, but how do you feel about this?
Great question and one I think a lot of people will have an opinion on.
Yoga has taught me to face fear head on and show it who’s boss. Fear of a daily practice, fear of bending backwards, fear of heat, fear of failure and fear of success. So my fear of competing had to be faced head on – and it was! But when Ky Ha told me that I’d qualified for the European Championships in Prague this November – it scared me senseless. So now Prague has to be done!
I didn’t do this to get a gold medal but to quietly say to my fear that I won.
Huge congratulations Jamie! Your hard work and dedication has certainly paid off. You are a true inspiration to all of us here at Hot Yoga Society