Rita is a 79 year old retired teacher who started practicing yoga in August of 2013 and now practices 3 times per week.
Her story is so interesting and inspirational; grab a seat and enjoy.
When she first started yoga, certain daily activities were fairly challenging. She found it hard to brush her teeth or dry her hair because when she would stand, she would always have to have one hand down to support her to stand up. I know this is far more common as we age than many people would like to admit and I am so impressed that she went to seek out a yoga class and see if there was a chance it could help. These are no longer a problem now after coming to yoga.
Let’s go back a little further and start her story all the way back at the age of 10 years old, when she was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Scoliosis, as far as I am aware, does not have a cure, so this is something that she has had since the age of 10, though she has seen some improvements. Growing up, and all the way up until she retired in 1993, she lived “trying to be normal, with no special exercises.”
At the time of her retirement, she had back pain and felt like her body was not straight (she described it as feeling like a “c”—as in the shape). She had some imbalances that made it so she couldn’t swim, her body would actually flip over to one side any time she tried. She was given a prescription from her doctor for physical therapy at the time and found out that she had a series of muscles from her ankle all the way to her neck that were all tight and causing some of these imbalances. The physical therapy strengthened those muscles so she could swim, which was great, but every 3-4 years or so she would feel tight and sore and the back pain would return and she would have to go back for a physical therapy “tune-up” as she likes to call it.
The last time she went back to physical therapy was the summer of 2013, right before she attended her first yoga class. I remember the first time she came to class, she sat in the back corner of the room and met Donna, who you may remember from our original story. Meeting newcomers in class, I typically get to hear a little bit of their stories…but it is fascinating to me after having someone in class for almost two years to hear the full story of where they came from and what brought them here.
She came to her first class in August of 2013 and noticed that we did things in class that she had learned in physical therapy. She thought “this is what I need” and told me “that’s the reason I come.” She also likes the class atmosphere and being around other people. After that first day, she became consistent right away and started coming three times a week.
She told me that the poses have gotten easier since she started and she feels that the core work and back stretches are the most beneficial to her. When she first started, she would be tired the next day, but now she has found that she’s not as tired (in general) after yoga and that yoga gives her more stamina. One of the other exciting things she has found is that she has not had to go back for a “tune-up” for physical therapy since she started and has not had back pain since starting yoga either!
She had mentioned to me before that in the past, when she would go to certain events she would use a cane and had to sit down a lot throughout the day. But since starting yoga, she has not needed the cane!
Such an inspiration! Rita is a shining example of perseverance and starting something new at any age! I admire her bravery and am thrilled that she shared her story with us. Thank you, Rita, for being a true inspiration! I hope your story inspires others to realize that it is never too late to start something new.
If you liked this story, please share it with a friend or someone who could use some inspiration today!