Participants in the National Yoga Championship stretch while waiting backstage before finding out the judges' results of the Men's, Women's and Youth's Finalist rounds at the Hudson Theatre in New York City on March 4.

Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Competitive zen

Participants in the National Yoga Championship stretch while waiting backstage on March 4 before learning the results of the finalist rounds for the men's, women's and youth divisions at the Hudson Theatre in New York City.

 

The competition, which ran from March 2-4, is sponsored and organized by USA Yoga, a nonprofit that seeks to qualify yoga as an Olympic sport.

 

The final, which showcased the skill of 10 men and 10 women from 36 states, was judged by the level of difficulty for each pose, as well as the poise, grace and composure of the yogi.

 

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Emily Carpenter of Colorado executes a pose on stage during the Women's Finalist round at the National Yoga Championship on March 4.

Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Head over heels for yoga

Emily Carpenter of Colorado executes a pose on stage on March 4 during the final women's round at the National Yoga Championship.

 

In the end, it was Afton Carraway, a former dancer hailing from Orlando, Fla., who reigned in the women's competition.

 

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Joseph Carey of Florida executes the bow pose during the Men's Finalist round at the National Yoga Championship on March 4.

Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Posing to perfection

Joseph Carey of Florida executes the bow pose during the final men's round on March 4 at the National Yoga Championship.

 

New York yoga teacher Jared McCann ultimately won the men's competition. McCann and Carraway will go on to represent the USA in the Bishnu Charan Ghosh Cup, an international yoga competition in Los Angeles scheduld for June.