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Local Yogis Prepare for the Big Day

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While many of us stuffed our faces and drank to our hearts’ desire over the holidays, the students of the Folsom Bikram Yoga studio were training and preparing for the ninth annual Northern California Regional Yoga Asana Championships on Jan. 14 in Folsom.

This year, the championships are being held at the Three Stages theater at Folsom Lake College. The event will feature competitors performing a series of yoga postures also known as yoga asana. Although the judges will be looking at particular physical skill, participants will also be judged on their emotional demeanor, mental tranquility and spiritual presence.

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Each competitor is required to perform seven postures in three minutes, a feat that last year’s women’s champion winner Hillary Stein of Folsom easily accomplished.

Many students at the Folsom Bikram Yoga studio are competing in this year’s challenge. Nicole George, 29, of El Dorado Hills, is in her second year of competition.

“To help get ready, I usually do extra back bends,” she said.

George started her training about three months ago. Others like Matt Guyton, 35, of Citrus Heights, said he has been training since last year’s competition.  In addition to the physical training, Guyton said other keys elements help him prepare as well.

“My diet does change some, just to see what works,” he said.

“I think I am most nervous about falling out of standing head to knee,” said first-year-competitor Vic Clement, 43, of Sacramento.

Many of the yoga asanas challenge a person’s strength, breathing and balance. Aaron Hutchinson, 41, of Folsom, said Bikram Yoga has helped him in training for his triathlon.

“All the elements work together—focus, balance and breathing,” he said.

All yogis (yoga practitioners) are competing to qualify for the U.S. Championship held in the spring in New York. Qualified competitors from each state are due to attend.

Stein will be the master of ceremonies and the event will feature 2007 Arizona Yoga Asana championship winner Cynthia Wehr as a guest speaker.

Three Stages is located at 10 College Parkway in Folsom. The competition is Jan. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost to attend is $18 person.

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