Said Ziel: “Yoga has actually been competitive in India for hundreds of years. They’ve only just brought it to America, but they’re working to get it into the Olympics. For most people, it’s competing against yourself and showing everyone what your best is. For me, that’s what it is. I felt like there is no gravity. I didn’t really notice them [the spectators] because I was focused on one point, a sign back there that was white.
“I’ve been practicing yoga for seven or eight months. It’s something that builds up over time. The longer you do it, the easier it is to maintain flexibility. I’m thinking, ‘Hold it, breathe easy.’ You count to 5 to hold it that long. It’s a stretch and it feels good. I’m in the youth division. The first and second go on to nationals, but I know I already made it because there’s only one other girl.”Stan Grossfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.