LIHUE — Garland Hume doesn’t talk too much about her involvement with USA Yoga and competitions.
The owner of Kauai Hot Yoga and a yogi usually just sticks to the practice when students walk through the doors of Kauai Hot Yoga, focusing on growing her studio and offering classes from Bikram to Vinyasa around the corner from Subway and Vim ‘n Vigor in Lihue.
But, she’s actually the president of the national organization, which hosts yoga competitions at the state, regional and national levels. Part of the International Yoga Sports Federation, competitors who win at the national level go on to compete with yogis from around the world.
Not only is Hume in her second year of a three-year term as president of USA Yoga, and a veteran board member of the organization, but she’s also competing — and on her way to the nationals in Virginia in August.
“I’m the first president that’s competing, too,” Hume said, sitting behind the welcome desk of the Lihue studio.
She became a board member about four years ago and before that, was a volunteer.
As a veteran competitor and teacher, Hume says she understands why some people pause at the idea of a yoga competition.
“Yoga (traditionally) is about escape from competition, the ability to let go and just be yourself,” Hume said. “Holding a posture still while breathing, focus on connecting the body with the breath and meditating.”
That’s what happens during competition, she says, it’s just amped up a bit.
Competitors are allowed three minutes to do different poses, holding each for five seconds. They start with a score of 10 and points are deducted if poses aren’t held accurately or for long enough, if competitors fall or are shaky, and for a long list of other details.
It’s basically judging people on their ability to reach that meditative state under pressure, and perfect the poses while doing it.
“For me, it motivates me in my practice and keeps me inspired,” Hume said.
She started competition 10 years ago as a new teacher at the suggestion of one of her own respected teachers — Esak Garcia. Garcia also introduced Hume to Kauai.
“I loved him as a teacher and I started training with him, intensive trainings all over the world, where you’re doing yoga for like 10 hours a day,” Hume said. “I continued that for six years until I moved here.”
The past couple of years, Hume has been training on her own and attending workshops, but has been focusing on setting up her own studio.
Now, he’s hoping to rally a few more competitors from Kauai and get more Hawaii representation in the USA Yoga competitions.
“It’s like a big yoga party,” she said. “We love getting together and supporting each other. There’s vendors and kind of a festival atmosphere. I’d like to see it grow.”
Jessica Else, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0452 or at email@example.com