Yoga and Adventure in China
Community Ambassador Victoria Gibbs shares a recap of her adventure in China representing the USA in international yoga competition. Before embarking on any fitness regime, contact your doctor. You may also find helpful resources on the National Resources Center on Lupus.
I’m back from China and words truly can’t express the amazing adventure that I experienced. My trip began with my arrival in Beijing at 5:15am where I was totally overcome with excitement. Once clearing customs, I made my way to the Nuo Hotel and quickly became acquainted with the area, all while preparing myself for athlete registration. My trip was centered around my competing in the International Yoga Sport Federation Championship as a representative of the USA, a huge honor to qualify, and for me, was a life changing experience. Needless to say, while overjoyed to be competing, I didn’t exactly set myself up for success based on my bodily needs, which is 100% comprised of rest. Moreover, arriving Friday morning while having to compete the following day left me a bit exhausted and totally jet lagged.
All of that aside, I wasn’t nervous. I took the stage and performed a very solid routine; it was smooth, graceful, I hit all of my postures, but I didn’t finish my routine in the three minutes that is allotted per competitor. Consequently, my score wasn’t as high as I would have liked but I still managed to finish 18th out of 40 women. When I got off that stage, I smiled. I knew that I was out, but I was so proud of myself for having come this far. Making it to internationals is not something that I had ever pictured for myself, it was something that I hoped for but never thought that I could achieve. Participating in the competition was the most beautiful and enlightening experience, and I fully intend on returning knowingly capable of winning and confident.
Once the competition concluded I packed my things and headed to Shanghai which left a very big impression on me. Shanghai is full of energy and life. I made many acquaintances during my time there and thoroughly enjoyed visiting the various sites. I got to see the beautiful Shanghai Museum, the peaceful Yu Garden, the ornate City Temple of Shanghai, enjoyed shopping on the famous Nanjing Road, took pictures with many of the locals, and indulged at some of the Michelin Star restaurants in the area. I wish I could have spent more time in Shanghai; there is a warmth and energy unlike anything that I’ve experienced.
Part three of my adventure took me to Hong Kong! Another amazing city surrounded by water with so much to see and enjoy. I stayed right on the water at the Harbour Grand and had the most breathtaking view of the city from my window. I only had 36 hours there so instead of embarking solo, I signed up for a city tour where I got to see beautiful views of the city from the highest point in Hong Kong, which is fittingly named Victoria Peak, ventured to the sandy Repulse Bay, went shopping at the famous night markets, learned about jewelry making which is quite big there, meditated at the Tin Hau temple, and of course, indulged in some of the amazing local cuisine.
Traveling alone for most is daunting, but it’s something that I truly love. However, when you add lupus into the equation it complicates things. The weeks leading up to the competition I didn’t get to prepare like my fellow competitors. I spent most of my time resting and even after I landed, the jet lag felt impossible to overcome and all I wanted to do was rest. Also, while I found places to eat, it was still hard finding vegan-friendly restaurants. Most challenging was keeping up with taking my medication at my routine time. The first few days I missed my scheduled times to take my medication which I felt the effects of immediately. So, while traveling is fun, there is so much to consider when traveling with lupus. Despite all of that my solo adventures allow me the time to move at my own pace, cater to my lupus needs, and spend some much needed time with myself. Visiting Asia was a great way to conclude my year and has left me excited to see what 2019 has in store!