To many, yoga class is a great time to de-stress, lengthen, and balance one’s body. For 86-year-old Anna Pesce, yoga class is an opportunity to do all that, as well as gain more mobility and, in effect, more freedom.
Though present pictures of Pesce reveal her looking limber and smiling, she wasn’t always able to carry herself so confidently. For decades, she suffered from hunchback posture – the result of a herniated disc, scoliosis, and osteoporosis.
With a painful curve in her spine, Anna often had difficulty moving around. In fact, in November 2014, she fell down while attempting to climb a set of stairs. She informed the NY Post:
I had this horrible pain shooting up my back. I had to be carried up the stairs and put into a wheelchair for the rest of my stay.
Though she had “tried everything: acupuncture, a physical therapist and seeing a chiropractor,” to alleviate the pain, little seemed to help her long term. Fortunately, that all changed when her daughter introduced her to Rachel Jesian, a certified yoga instructor. They started slow and introduced restorative yoga poses and stretches into their one-on-one classes. Incredibly, after just one month, Pesce was able to walk again.
After two months, another big milestone was that [Pesce] knew what poses to do whenever the usual pains would come up for her. For example, if she was having hip pain, she’d sit on a chair and do an ankle-to-knee pose.
Jesian has personally benefited from back-care yoga. In 2010, she was recommended by a massage therapist to introduce it into her practice.
“I had to wear a back brace for five years and went to physical therapy every week, but this was the only thing that worked,” she says.
Her understanding of spinal alignment and back injuries has helped Pesce heal her own body. As the video below conveys, Anna has made incredible progress in healing from scoliosis.
“I feel wonderful now because I can drive by myself and do the things I wasn’t able to do before,” Pesce says. “I would recommend this to other people.”
Following is a video highlighting the 86-year-old’s journey:
It’s not magic, it’s yoga. The best part is that everyone can do it, and it’s relatively simple and affordable to get started. Seek out a class near you if you’re inspired!
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All Images: Kevin Kelley Photography