Competitive yoga: Murray Bridge man Garry Palachicky enters unusual national championships

Reflecting on his progress: Garry Palachicky performs a spine twist, a yoga position, as he trains for Yoga Sports Australia's national championships. Photo: Supplied.
Reflecting on his progress: Garry Palachicky performs a spine twist, a yoga position, as he trains for Yoga Sports Australia's national championships. Photo: Supplied.

Yoga is best known as a peaceful exercise, the pursuit of individual tranquility in body, mind and spirit through stretches and meditation.

But it can also be competitive.

Enter Garry Palachicky, the Murray Bridge man who is preparing to compete at the Yoga Sports Association Australia's national championships in Canberra next month.

He will have to perform six postures in three minutes.

Different poses carry different difficulty ratings, and are multiplied with judges' scores to produce a final score.

The 51-year-old described himself as a non-competitive person, but did not see any reason to say no when an instructor at Adelaide Bikram, Amy Kremenski, suggested he enter.

“My response was ‘that sounds scary ... I like scary … let me think about it’,” he said.

It took some time for him to decide to go, but he figured she would not have asked if she did not have faith in him.

He described his discovery of yoga two years ago as the highlight of his life, “the greatest, most exhilarating thing I have ever done”.

He had dreamed of being able to imitate the manoevres of Olympic gymnasts after becoming interested in strength and stretching.

Finding out about Bikram has been the highlight of my life.

Garry Palachicky

A chalk board advertising a class run by Cristy Coates was enough to draw him in.

He soon found the strength, discipline and meditational skills he had developed as a martial artist were similar to those he would need in the heated room used for Bikram yoga.

"This competition to me is a perfect way to grow and mature my yoga practice, and at the same time help to establish a bonding with my fellow students and instructors," he said.

"It is an honour and a privilage to represent Adelaide Bikram in this competition.

"It makes me proud to be given the opportunity."

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