Below is an article I wrote after winning the 2018 USA National Yoga Championship to capture the moment in time, and to pass it along to different news papers. Along with it is a fundraiser link to help me get to the International Yoga Championship in China the first week of December. There is no pressure to donate. Below is the fundrasier link, and the Championship article.
The 2018 National Yoga Champion from New Albany Indiana
The Monona Terrace was a magical setting for the 2018 USA Yoga National Championship on the first weekend of July. This convention center in Wisconsin was designed by the world renown architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and the structure is hard to describe outside of that it reminds you of something out from the Jetsons, or Star Wars. Glenn Brown came to the event thinking of it more as a family vacation with his wife & son, even though him & his wife were both competing. His wrist had become sore the week leading in so he had to change his routine, and had no expectations of winning even though he was ranked first in the nation. At this point, after 15 years of competing he continued just for the personal motivation, constructive posture criticism, and community.
Upon seeing the scores after the finals he shrieked like a surprised child, and then raced out of the auditorium to find his family. It’s hard to keep a 7 year old boy cooped up in an auditorium all day, so his wife was entertaining their son, Rumi, with the escalators, and big open lake view rooms. He couldn’t immediately find his family, so he ended up texting his wife “ I WON ! “. A 5 character text it took 15 years to earn. As a 37 year old man, he was shocked to have finally won. There are moments in life where we can see that all of our work & struggle can lead to such beautiful moments. Where every move expresses thousands of repetitions, every calm breath is in place of millions of labored breaths that led to that moment, and every interaction can lead to a lifelong friendship. It is hard to wrap up a 37 year journey into one paragraph, so here is a little glimpse of Glenn’s road to becoming the 2018 USA Yoga National Champion.
Glenn Brown moved with his family to New Albany, Indiana when he was 6 years old, and it is still his home. As the last of 6 kids he attributes sibling rivalry to the beginning of his competitive edge. He began practicing yoga as a 17 year old as a complementary practice for meditation & kung fu. Finding his way through depression in high school he shifted his focus from swimming & wrestling to art, music, kung fu, yoga, and meditation. He decided then he wanted to work toward being a teacher of kung fu & yoga, and be an artist & author. His search for a school, teacher, and work was difficult, but full of great life lessons. He finally met his Kung fu teacher, Sifu Keith Dwan of the Red Dragon School of Martial Arts, while Keith was visiting Louisville from England with his school for a Martial arts tournament. Glenn expressed his interest in form over fighting, and was invited to a Hsing-i Kung Fu, Qigong, and Acupressure training, which he attended in England in 2001.
In the spring of 2002 he went to his first Bikram Yoga class at Bikram Yoga Indiana where he met the woman who would become his wife, Ayanna. She was the only teacher at the time, and the co owner. She believed in his potential, and the studio sponsored him to go to Bikram Yoga teacher training the same year in the Fall. Glenn has taught at Bikram Yoga Indiana from 2002 to the present. He fell in love with yoga because of its similarities to kung fu & qigong, and its amazing diversity of postures & styles.
The day of his Teacher Training graduation he & Ayanna were invited to be competitors in a mock yoga championship at a judging & coaching clinic for the Bishnu Ghosh Cup International Yoga Asana Championship to be held in 2003. That experience lit the competitive fire for Glenn again, and he has competed every year except for one, taking a year off to focus on coaching, and is the 14 time Indiana men’s Regional Yoga Champion. He also continues his work as an artist & author, and self published his first book of poetry & art “ Four in the Fire “ in 2007. More work is coming soon.
After 8 years of teaching primarily Bikram Yoga he started teaching more private lessons based on his private practice. His kung fu teacher had encouraged him to continue developing his home practice so he could lead a personalized warm up & warm down for Kung fu students. Over the years this developed into his own method of qigong & yoga blended together. In 2010 Glenn founded Lionflow Progressive Yoga & Arts LLC , and has focused the past 8 years on practicing, teaching, and training teachers in Lionflow Yoga.
He feels Lionflow Yoga benefited his championship routine by teaching him to express where he is in the moment without heat, extra time in the pose, or intense breathing for body heat. The style focuses on calm intentional motion, breathing, and short holds in stillness. Learning to accept where you are today, and to have a conversation with your body instead of an argument. Also learning to grow by grains of sand as opposed to straining for progress right now. He still loves hot yoga for its intensity & cleansing, but can see the purpose of each style on his journey.
In 2016 Glenn began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Southeast, and also earned his certification in Sun style Tai Chi. At IUS he teaches accredited Yoga & Tai Chi classes about history, method, and different styles of practice. In 2018 inspired by his college course he transitioned his Yoga studio from “ Lionflow Yoga Studio “ to “ Array Yoga “ to open the doors to more styles, and teachers with a new yoga studio mission. To be “ The Gallery of Yoga Styles “, for both classic, and modern styles, and other movement & meditation arts.
It has been a long journey to this national victory, and it indeed took a village for this to happen. Glenn looks forward to competing, coaching, judging, and helping USA Yoga continue this tradition for the generations to come, and to seeing his son have an opportunity to take part in it in the future. He also wants to express the deepest gratitude to his wife Ayanna Brown for supporting & believing in him always, through every up & down. Also to his son, Rumi, for challenging him in ways he didn’t know he could be challenged, his parents & siblings for the family love that is so valuable & enriching, and to the communities of Bikram Yoga Indiana, Array Yoga, USA Yoga, and New Albany & Louisville’s rich art & yoga cultures. “ It is an honor to be part of this community, and a life goal to offer it my best. “
Written by : Glenn Brown