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.”
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.
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Hi, I shared the Power of Practice with my Gentle/Seniors class. They loved it. They were wondering what specific exercises the lady had been doing. Thanks in advance for letting me know .
My students do believe in the Power of Yoga too! This photo is awesome.
Some were very curious. Most are in their 60’s & 70’s.
Hi Laura, I missed this comment. Here is a follow-up showing some of the practice Rachel did with Anna (her student) http://nypost.com/2016/08/08/this-85-year-old-proves-yoga-can-keep-you-young/
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
I know Karin and have taken many classes with her. She is a wonderful teacher!
When I see her I will tell her you said hello.
Wonderful! I am going to start NOW!
Let the great desire for yoga you feel now be your first step to finding it, do not hesitate start to study up about yoga and start a class s quickly as you can.
What type of classes did she take? amazing
I believe the teacher got her certification from Alison West in NYC http://www.yogaunion.com/#!blank/cee5
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.
There are incredible teachers at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angelos. http://iyila.org/
I see they have a course for people with medical issues but oddly enough I would already have had to practiced Iyengar yoga in the past. That rules me out. But I’ll give them a call on Monday. Thank you.
Wendelah, I’m not sure what area you live in, but there is a great group of teachers in LA. I would recommend contacting Julian Walker or Hala Khouri about working with your limitations, if they can’t help you or if they are not in your area, they are connected to other yogis across the city who can. http://julianwalkeryoga.com/ http://halakhouri.com/
Your desire to find a yoga teacher who can help you heal, will open a door, but you must step through it.
I wish she was here in the country at Sale Victoria Australia
I need help severe posture problems!!
Terrible joints and a Total Thoracic rod!!
http://bksiyengar.com/modules/teacher/teacher.asp. I don’t know where you are located but here is a link of certified Iyengar Yoga teachers.
If you are in NYC I know some wonderful teachers who work with thoracic rods. I know teachers in the Boston area as well.
Reblogged this on lifeolisamarie and commented:
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?
Any recommended teachers for Johannesburg, South Africa?
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.
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 https://www.facebook.com/hjohara?fref=nf. You may also want to email Rachel (the yoga teacher) https://www.facebook.com/YogaWithRachelJesien/.
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.
Actually most people with hyperkyphosis have no evidence of vertebral fractures
See PUBMED for papers published by Deborah Kado
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.
Thank you for responding Sammy.
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!
I have to agree.
Thank you KD for putting it so well. No way would yoga help that degree of osteoporosis / compression fractures.
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!
Thank you for responding Phyllis! ❤
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?
Hello Dina, that would depend if it is a functional or structural deformity. More can be done for a functional deformity.
Simply astonishing!! Kudos, Grandma, for your perseverance and what a fantastic teacher Rachel must be!!
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.
Hello Debbie, Don’t give up on your practice. Use props to allow you to work on the postures you love. I use quarter round blocks when I am having problems with my wrists. I use them for downward dog, handstand, back bends etc. I also use a chair. Above I included a link showing the use of quarter rounds in half handstand.
Here is another link with numerous photos of my practice using props. I hope this album will give you an idea of how to modify your practice. https://www.facebook.com/EssentialYogaStudio/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10150099070980765. Let me know if you have any problem opening the links.
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.
Hello Gale, I found a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher in Spokane. http://sunfloweryoga.net/about-the-instructor/
WOWWEE! So inspiring. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos and your helpful comments on “practice”.
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!
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!) 🙂
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.
How old was she when she started plwase
My mom was 86 when she started Yoga with Rachel. She is now 87.
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 email@example.com! Thank you for your time. Sue
NYC Backcare and scoliosis teachers
USA scoliosis teachers
Worldwide certified Iyengar Yoga teachers
Hello, do you have a recommendation for yoga in Puerto Rico? Thank you!
This is the only studio I could find with a teacher with an Iyengar background in Puerto Rico. http://www.lapazrincon.com/teachers/
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…
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.
Hello Robin, Books are wonderful, but in the beginning it’s best to have a teacher to guide your mom in the right direction. Here are some links that may help you find a teacher:
NYC Backcare and scoliosis teachers
USA scoliosis teachers
Worldwide certified Iyengar Yoga teachers
I know this is an old post, but I’m just now seeing it. We live in California, so these suggestions don’t really work for us. LOL. But there are some good yoga teachers locally. Thank you.
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.
I live in an isolated spot with really bad roads – is there an on-line teaching site you could recommend? thanks
Rachel, the yoga teacher who worked with Anna (shown in the photo) mentioned that she works with students online. Send her a message on her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/YogaWithRachelJesien/
Is this a common yoga especializing for the back. I live in Silver Spring Md.
There is a wonderful Iyengar yoga studio in Bethesda MD. http://www.unitywoods.com/about/what-is-iyengar-yoga/
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
Hello Deanna, Here is a link to all of the Iyengar Yoga teachers in Ontario. There are quite a lot of them in the Toronto area. http://bksiyengar.com/modules/teacher/teacher.asp?Country=Canada&State=ON
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
Hi Jodie, Here is a link of all the Iyengar Yoga teachers in Florida. https://secure.iynaus.org/search?IYAUS_Data_users0first_name=&IYAUS_Data_users0last_name=&IYAUS_Data_addresses0city=+&IYAUS_Data_addresses0state_id=16&IYAUS_Data_teachers0assessment_level_id=3MpIEBUF3Ya3A2iaYE-jxA%7CN%3B&IYAUS_Swat_Button1_x=35&IYAUS_Swat_Button1_y=11&_swat_form_process=form&_swat_form_serialized__swat_form_process=ecoNRJftCjBpoNCWIr1pVA%7Cs%3A4%3A%22form%22%3B&_swat_form_hidden_fields=fDk71VXcXJddn45%2AbdDhwg%7Ca%3A1%3A%7Bi%3A0%3Bs%3A18%3A%22_swat_form_process%22%3B%7D&page=1
Amazing. Any ideas about using yoga to help with bunions, by chance?
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.
Hello Jules, There is an Iyengar Institute in Hobart Tasmania. They have a back care course on Saturday mornings. Here is their website: http://hobartiyengar.com/
This is amazing!! Thank you for sharing. Yoga truly is for any person, of any age, from any place in life.
Is there any places in the Portland, OR area?????
Follow-up by the NY Post https://www.facebook.com/NYPost/videos/10158071523840206/
Thanks for inspiring to practice and highlighting the reason we return to the matt for life
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This is so awesome! I love yoga
This is truly inspirational! Thank you for sharing this
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?
Helo Myrthe, Here are a few Iyengar Yoga Studios in your area. I haven’t met these teachers, however Iyengar yoga teachers are highly trained and work with an array of student challenges.
Iyengar Yoga at the Ann Arbor YMCA: https://www.annarborymca.org/portfolio/iyengar-yoga/
Ann Arbor School of Yoga: http://www.annarborschoolofyoga.com/
The Yoga Space: Most of these teachers have been studying/teaching Iyengar yoga since the 70’s. http://yogaspaceannarbor.com/
Yoga Focus: Another very experienced Iyengar Yoga studio. http://www.yogafocusannarbor.com/index.shtml
Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.