The Power of Practice

power of practice

This photo was posted on Facebook by Heather O’Hara.  This is a photo of her grandmother before and after she started practicing yoga. The photos were taken less than one year apart.  Her teacher is Rachel Jesien, a Certified Yoga Instructor specializing in Alignment, Backcare & Scoliosis in NYC.

I do not know Rachel, but based on the results shown in the photo she must be a wonderful teacher.  However, it is important to note that these results could never have been achieved without the dedication and commitment of the student.

   No matter how incredible the teacher, if the student doesn’t practice, the student doesn’t change.  

Heather’s grandmother did not take a lesson from Rachel and go home to wait for her next lesson.  She took what she learned and practiced.  In Sanskrit the word for practice is Abhyasa.  It translates to, ‘persistent, consistent effort, practiced over a long period of time’.  It does not mean practice when we find time for it. It does not mean wait until you attend your next yoga class. It is a fiercely focused commitment necessary to create a change.  That’s the kind of practice it took to make this change.  A change clearly seen in the photo above.  We can all learn from Heather’s grandmother.

“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
BKS Iyengar 

About EssentialYoga Studio

Roberta Dell'Anno E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer Owner EssentialYoga Studio. Roberta has been practicing yoga since 1988 and teaching yoga since 2004. She has studied extensively under master yoga teachers Patricia Walden, Zoë Stewart, Sri Arun H.S., Elise Browning Miller, and others. She completed a two year Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training program with Sr. Iyengar Teacher, Peentz Dubble in June 2017. Roberta has studied yoga at the Ramamani Iyengar Yoga Memorial Institute in Pune, India during June 2011, February 2014, attended Abhijata's 2-week intensive in Pune, India, December 2016 and BKS Iyengar's Centenary 10-day intensive taught by Prashantji & Geetaji, December 2018. She completed training and certification with Elise Browning Miller as a 'Yoga for Scoliosis' instructor in 2014, completed a 500 hour Hatha Yoga Certification program with AURA Wellness Center in 2005 and is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500. She has been a Certified Meditation Teacher since June 2007 and an Usui Reiki Practitioner since 1989. The studio provides individual & specialized privates, semi-privates, group private sessions, and yoga workshops. Roberta conducts local and out of town workshops. She specializes in yoga for scoliosis and back care. She uses props to help students and teachers of all levels transform their backbends, twists, standing and seated postures, as well as inversions like sarvangasana (shoulderstand). She also works with individuals who have physical challenges, specifically individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, CMT, Parkinson's Disease, scoliosis, and amputees in private, semi-private and group sessions.​​​
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to The Power of Practice

  1. Gloria Meira says:

    Dear teacherroberta,I am Brazilian and I took my first yoga class with Karin Stephan in 1985.My name is Gloria I have been praticing until now.Karin is very important on my life and also I lived at Tomio Kikuchi(macrobiotic school )I love tocook.I want to back To America .Now , I want to attend Iyengar classes.Say hello to Karin.Roberta ,also Iwould like to sudy atIyengar Memorial Instute.Plese be in contact.Namaste

  2. wradamsfineart says:

    Wonderful! I am going to start NOW!

  3. Sue says:

    What type of classes did she take? amazing

  4. Wendelah says:

    This is inspiring. I am 63 with poor posture and arthritis. I am not flexible and every time I have tried yoga, I injure my back and in up having to quit. How can I find a teacher who can work with someone with so many limitations? I live in Los Angeles, California. I want to get better.

  5. Gail Dickson says:

    I wish she was here in the country at Sale Victoria Australia

  6. graceandoils says:

    I need help severe posture problems!!
    Terrible joints and a Total Thoracic rod!!

  7. lisamarie says:

    Reblogged this on lifeolisamarie and commented:

  8. Jennifer Errion says:

    Very impressive! My husband is extremely inflexible and he is starting to get the bent, old man’s gait. Is there a comparable yoga studio that concentrates on posture and align,ent in Atlanta?

  9. Kamala says:

    Any recommended teachers for Johannesburg, South Africa?

  10. KD RN says:

    I have been a student of yoga for over 10 years and cannot say enough about the benefits I have achieved personally and those of my friends but I must say as a medical professional (an RN) and office manager for my husband’s chiropractic office these results are IMPOSSIBLE and a fraud! The first picture shows an elderly woman with severe osteoporosis who has had compression fractures of her vertebra. In short the bones get weak and the front of the vertebra collapse forming a wedge shaped body of the vertebrae. When one has multiple levels that this happens you see what is in picture one, formation of a gibbis. This cannot be resolved in any way with strengthening of the muscles this is a bony structural formation. Yoga cannot fix this so for what ever reason this person is not telling the truth.

    • Hello KD,
      All I can tell you is, I know the studio where Rachel got her training. It is an amazing, highly respected studio in NYC. If you have questions, I recommend you send an email directly to Heather O’Hara (the grand daughter). Here is her FB account You may also want to email Rachel (the yoga teacher)

      Om shanti,

      • I was wondering the same thing. I have a friend who’s back started this bending in her middle years. She has been doing yoga her entire life and it has not stopped the process… she is also a teacher of yoga and has been living in a yoga community for years as well. She says that the process is being slowed down tremendously “because” of the yoga and she would be in much worse shape if she has not been a student of yoga almost all her life. I have questions as well.

    • Ej says:

      Actually most people with hyperkyphosis have no evidence of vertebral fractures
      See PUBMED for papers published by Deborah Kado

    • Sammy says:

      Please do not make a medical diagnosis from a picture. It just demonstrates your ignorance. This is my mother in law and she is not a fraud. The results are real.

    • Viv says:

      I also want to add to you that (I’m a yoga teacher and an artist) if you look at the pics the woman is posed in a way in the second pic that def. her posture is much better but you can’t see the full degree of curvature because of the angle, she very likely has some curvature still- the angle of her back is disrupted by the print shirt and it’s hard to see where is her upper arm vx. her upper back. So again- I agree with pics that it’s amazing, I’m just explaining to this skeptic that it looks very dramatic IN PART because of way image is done. VERY INSPIRING!

    • Ana Nim says:

      I have to agree.

    • margie says:

      Thank you KD for putting it so well. No way would yoga help that degree of osteoporosis / compression fractures.

    • PhyllisAnne says:

      This is my mother. This is not a fraud. How you as only an RN can even think of making a medical diagnosis without benefit of a Medical Degree and the necessary tests required to make such a diagnosis is preposterous!
      I have seen my mothers back progressively improve as Rachel worked with her. She and my sister are very dedicated to doing her daily yoga exercises.
      Sometimes one needs to think before one types. I find your comment very reactive and defensive. I am a big fan of Chiropractic Care but it does not always work for everyone. Results from both are not the same for everyone. That is the wonderful thing about this world we are all different.
      Thank you and have a Blessed Day!

    • Adam says:

      Your on the right track because results are atypical only. Why couldn’t she improve? She may not have fractures or ankylosing spondylitis but the picture should state that her results are not expected in these cases.

      As far as your call to authority that you are an RN that works in your husband’s chiro office: chiropractors have no evidence behind the practice of spinal manipulation and if he relies heavily the practice along with snake oil modalities and “muscle energy” tests to show imbalance like many still do, you have no leg to stand on.

      Nurses know very little when it comes to Ortho issues as well.

      Most of my cohort physical therapists are stuck the old modality model as well.

      Give this post the benefit of the doubt before calling fraud.

      I see that she ate better, is wearing a larger shirt and is “hanging on her y’s to stand more upright. Either way yoga and weight training is good for her while chiropractic “treatment” is not.

    • Hi! would you be so kind as to tell me what kind of treatment, if any, would be indicated to improve this advanced state of deformity?
      thank you.
      dina yardley

  11. Wonderful!!
    Thank you.

  12. Simply astonishing!! Kudos, Grandma, for your perseverance and what a fantastic teacher Rachel must be!!

  13. DebbieP says:

    Any thoughts on practicing yoga with ganglian cysts in the wrists. I love yoga, but I cannot bend my wrist to bear weight on it anymore. I really want to continue, but I can’t do down dog or any weight bearing hand balances. Frustrating.

  14. Gale says:

    I would like to look into this for my mom in Spokane, Washington. What would I search for in looking for someone ? Thank you. Truly amazing.

  15. Green Minimalist says:

    WOWWEE! So inspiring. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos and your helpful comments on “practice”.

  16. Wow, what a thoughtful article! Thank you so much for taking the time to share Anna’s transformation. She and her family are truly a pleasure to work with. Each week, I gave her a specialized back care program that she would work on every day. Truly an A+ student! Because of her dedication, and the support of her lovely family, she began to see results immediately. It’s such a blessing to be able to share this work. Thank you again!

    Rachel Jesien

    • Thank you so much for reaching out! ❤ It was wonderful to see this photo on FB! It is such an inspiration to my students (and now an inspiration to students around the world!) 🙂
      Om shanti,

    • Laura Blanciforti says:

      Rachel, I shared this with my Gentle/Seniors class and they loved the transformation. They wondered which asanas she was doing. I hope you can let me know.

  17. Suzy says:

    How old was she when she started plwase

  18. Susan Muik says:

    God Bless her! And you for your teaching and help! Can u recommend someone in CT to help me! I’m desperate. I wore a brace for Scoliosis for 9 years, still ended up with 12-level fusion. And 10 years later exercising and doing fairly well I got a Lyme Disease & other co-infections. I’ve been left in great pain and and lay in bed most days as walking hurts so much even on morphine/muscle relaxers/NSAIS for inflammation. I need help or I’m headed back to my wheel chair which I cannot bear to think about. I’m hunched over though not like your dear friend but enough to cause serious pain when I try to walk more than around the house. I need help other than my pain Mgt medications and shots. I want to go to the YMCA pool but driving is difficult too! If there was someone like you here, my wonderful hubby would drive me or I’d get an uber driver. My email is! Thank you for your time. Sue

  19. Chrys says:

    Hello, do you have a recommendation for yoga in Puerto Rico? Thank you!

  20. Maureen says:

    It is tempting to look at others, but focus on yourself, what can YOU achieve without pain or strain. Looking inwards is probably more beneficial than striving to look like someone else. Build your confidence in small steps achieved in your practice. Good luck, stay with it, breathe & relax. It takes time to change…

  21. Robin Maupin says:

    Can you recommend a book on yoga or even more specifically on this type of yoga? My mother is 92 but still in very good health. I think this would benefit her greatly, but she would like to know more about it and she doesn’t get online.
    Thank you.

  22. Jo White says:

    KD RN … you are a nurse! Please refrain from making a diagnosis that you are not trained to do so! How insulting to everyone concerned…Chiropractic/physio/osteo/yoga/pilates whatever!…. the whole point of this discussion is this lovely lady was given a tool to work with, and she used it, persistently. We can go to the professionals for treatment, but the healing can only be achieved by doing the hard yards… in this instance, Yoga.

  23. bohovalley says:

    I live in an isolated spot with really bad roads – is there an on-line teaching site you could recommend? thanks

  24. Belinda Leandro says:

    Is this a common yoga especializing for the back. I live in Silver Spring Md.

  25. Deanna Burke says:

    Hi I live just north of Toronto Canada in Newmarket. I would love to find a practitioner of this type of yoga for my mom

  26. Jodie Myers says:

    I sent this article to my mom who lives in Clearwater FL. She’s in her early 70s, and very round shouldered. Combination of untreated scoliosis and kifosis, I’m sure. I have the same, but wore a Milwaukee brace in my teens and have dipped into Yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi, so I’m in much better shape, but definitely inspired to be more consistent now!
    My question – is there someone you can recommend in the Clearwater area that my mom could go to? I’ve got loads of contacts here in Los Angeles, but not tied into the yoga community there. Thanks! Jodie

  27. Mona says:

    Amazing. Any ideas about using yoga to help with bunions, by chance?

  28. Jules says:

    Hi there from Australia!
    It’s the any chance you know of anyone working down in Hobart, Tasmania…….the island at the bottom of Aussie? I have severe hypermobility at 44 and am already very round shouldered. Being very bendy and flexible already, do you think yoga could help strengthen and straighten me up? My biggest concern is that my mum looks like the lovely lady in the pics and my 11 year old daughter is already looking like she’ll have our posture (my daughter, my mum and my grandmother are also hypermobile). If anything i want to find something to prevent my gorgeous girl from ending up like us.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for reading this and i hope you have a great day.

  29. ashleyhertz says:

    This is amazing!! Thank you for sharing. Yoga truly is for any person, of any age, from any place in life.

  30. samika says:

    Is there any places in the Portland, OR area?????

  31. Thanks for inspiring to practice and highlighting the reason we return to the matt for life

  32. Pingback: October 2016 – You are worth it, Trust me.

  33. Monique says:

    This is so awesome! I love yoga

  34. Kayla Evelyn says:

    This is truly inspirational! Thank you for sharing this

  35. Myrthe Naparstek, says:

    This is MYRTHE Naparstek. 75 years old. I have osteoarthritis and a bad back .I am looking
    For a yoga studio in Ann Arbor , MI. My husband , Rod Doll, 89, has severe balance issues and difficulties walking. Any recommendations for a specialized Yoga teacher?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s