The Story of a... Yoga Champion

Being flexible helps Afton Carraway, 30, of Orlando, keep life in balance.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

Yoga is for anyone and everyone. No matter what shape, size or form you are in, the postures at any level are therapeutic and productive. Some people simply don’t have the desire or the time to learn to touch their feet on their head or balance on one hand. Even for those people, yoga can benefit them.

I grew up dancing and danced professionally for quite a few years before I started doing yoga. It definitely didn’t make things any easier, because in my first Bikram yoga class, I thought I was going to die.

Bikram yoga is a 90-minute series. It’s done in a heated room, so it’s really hot and sweaty. The heat is good for flexibility, detoxification, and it opens up the blood vessels.

I was getting sick of my career in dancing. I worked with Disney in Japan for a long time. I lived on a cruise ship. The dancing thing started to wear on me, having to audition for the next job all the time and being really critical of your body. You were either too fat, too skinny or something for dance. One of my yoga teachers said, ‘Why don’t you become a yoga teacher?’

Between strength and flexibility, work and play, vulnerability and sternness, ups and downs—I’ve learned that being too much of one thing can tip the scales and throw you off. Yoga practice can help keep yourself in check so you can manage both difficulties and pleasures in this crazy world.

Getting to my level of ability in yoga is
an equation of time, motivation and devo-
tion to practice. There has to be a will to do
the things that I do with my body and a
significant amount of time put into practicing those things.

Right now I am the Women’s National Yoga Champion. . . . A lot of yoga people get worked up about having competition in yoga because it’s a personal practice and it’s not about comparing yourself to other people. But, if you went out to a competition, you would see it’s more about people coming together and celebrating yoga than people coming together saying, ‘I’m going to knock your knees out so you can’t beat me this year.’

I don’t understand why more men don’t practice yoga. In ancient India, women weren’t allowed to practice it. If you go to a competition and see the men’s division compete, they can do some amazing things because they are so strong.

I’ll be competing in the Internationals in June, representing the United States. The winner travels, teaches and does yoga demonstrations with students around the world. It would be awesome if I won Internationals. If not, I have my job teaching in Orlando. I work at a bar at night. I’ll keep living my life the way it is.

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

2017 Premier Veterinarians

The 2017 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2017

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2017

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2017

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2017

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2016 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Dynamic Duo

Color combinations to try for a beautiful two-tone exterior.

A Bittersweet Adventure

The filmmakers behind "The Florida Project'' tell how they settled on Orlando for a story about scrappy "wefare motel" kids.

Weekend Happenings Oct 13 to 15

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Maximize Your Small Space

Use these ten decorating moves to squeeze more out of a small space.

Weekend Happenings Oct 6 to 8

Find what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.
Edit Module