By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

March 8, 2013

NEW YORK – From standing bow to finger stand, Victoria Gonzales showed-off her winning Asana Yoga poses at the 2013 USA National Yoga Championship in New York earlier this week.

Gonzales is also the 2013 Women’s Division Champion at the California Regional Yoga Asana Championship held in Los Angeles early this year.

“I compete because I believe in myself with this practice, I wanna share it, I wanna inspire people,” Gonzels said, “You can touch someone, or someone can resonate with you, they can decide that I do wanna do the yoga, I wanna improve my life and get these health benefits.”

The 18-year old Filipina yogi has been competing in the youth division for years but this year she has leveled up to the Women’s Championships.

Though she did not make it to the international competition this year, she has been noticed.

Rajashree Choudhury, President & Founder of USA Yoga said, “She joined as a competitor when she was in youth division, now she is in adult division, I loved her postures, very nicely she did her execution, fully executed her routine wonderfully.”

Gonzales started Yoga at a young age and she says Yoga has helped her get thru puberty and got her out of the “teen angst” stage.

Gonzales says practicing yoga not only calmed her down but it has health benefits as well.

Gonzales says she started getting into yoga after her mom’s rheumatoid arthritis was miraculously cured by yoga.

“There was a point in her life where she couldn’t move, she couldn’t get out of bed, she couldn’t even drive a car because she had rheumatoid arthritis, Gonzales said, “After she’s been going to yoga and she’s been moving more, I realized that she’s had the ability to do these normal things again.”

Three-time International Yoga Champion Joseph Encinia was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when he was eight years old. He underwent two knee surgeries and survived a heart attack at 13.

At 19, he started practicing Yoga.

Encinia said, “Through yoga, thru the practice of yoga, I was cured. I’m in remission from the arthritis and my heart’s in a pretty healthy condition, and I lost over 50 pounds. It was the competition that facilitated that, because the competition gave me goals.”

Gonzales says she has not given up on her dream of becoming an International Yoga Champion someday.

For now she will continue to teach yoga and enjoy the emotional and health benefits she’s getting from it while training to become the next International Yogi Champ.

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