How she got rid of her hunchback – Best Article from New York Post !

Article Re-Posted from https://nypost.com/2016/08/08/this-85-year-old-proves-yoga-can-keep-you-young/

When Anna Pesce was visiting her children in Wagener, SC, in November 2014, the then-85-year-old Orangeburg, NY, native almost collapsed trying to climb a set of stairs.

“I had this horrible pain shooting up my back,” Pesce tells The Post. “I had to be carried up the stairs and put into a wheelchair for the rest of my stay.”

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Anna Pesce suffered from back pain and hunchback posture (left) until yoga back-care specialist Rachel Jesien began treating her (right) in late 2014.Kevin Kelley Photography: www.kphotok.com (inset); Stephen Yang

For the past few decades, Pesce suffered from hunchbacklike posture — the result of a herniated disc, scoliosis and osteoporosis, which weakens the bones and can lead to curvature of the spine.

“I tried everything: acupuncture, a physical therapist and seeing a chiropractor,” Pesce adds. “You feel good temporarily, but [I’d be] in pain again soon after.”

Three months after her South Carolina visit, she began working with certified yoga instructor Rachel Jesien, 28, who also suffers from scoliosis — a curvature in the spine that usually develops during puberty — and specializes in back care. Pesce’s granddaughter, also a yoga teacher, introduced the two.

Jesien visited Pesce in her home once a week, teaching her restorative poses and stretches such as child’s pose and chair savasana, in which Pesce would rest her lower legs on a chair while lying on the floor with her knees slightly bent and a strap around her thighs. After one month of sessions, Pesce was able to walk again.

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Anna Pesce (left) uses props such as bolsters and slings to practice yoga with Rachel Jesien.Stephen Yang

“After two months, another big milestone was that [Pesce] knew what poses to do whenever the usual pains would come up for her,” Jesien says. “For example, if she was having hip pain, she’d sit on a chair and do an ankle-to-knee pose.”

By her fourth month, Pesce could do a modified headstand, with her back against the wall and her feet parallel to her head in an inverted V-shape.

“[Pesce] was timid at first, because just moving caused her so much pain,” says Jesien, who received her yoga and back-care certification from the Yoga Union center in Chelsea in 2011. Luckily, the 86-year-old was a quick learner, and they still continue to do weekly sessions after nearly two years.

Jesien says that yoga, done with the guidance of a back-care specialist, can strengthen bone density and muscles and alleviate back pain caused by osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and other conditions that affect the elderly.

She discovered back-care yoga in 2010 upon the recommendation of a massage therapist. “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,” says Jesien.

Dr. Houman Danesh, director of integrative pain management at Mount Sinai Hospital, agrees that doing yoga poses can help some people manage painful back conditions.

“Doing weight-bearing exercises like squats and lunges can definitely increase bone density,” says Danesh. “Yoga poses can be easily extrapolated to have the same effect. Physical therapists have been incorporating yoga stretches into their sessions as well.”

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“I feel wonderful now because I can drive by myself and do the things I wasn’t able to do before,” Pesce says.Stephen Yang

While Danesh recommends that people go to a physical therapist first for a proper diagnosis, he stresses that one-on-one care with a specialist is key.

“I would rather patients see a great physical therapist over a great yoga instructor,” Danesh says. “But what’s important is that people get individual care and attention.”

While older people may feel intimidated by yoga, Jesien says it’s worth seeking out a certified back-care instructor, and Pesce agrees.

“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.”

Pesce’s daughter, Rosemary Pitruzzella, says she’s definitely seen a change in her mom’s demeanor.

“My mom is a lot more independent, and even how she carries herself — she just seems a lot happier and brighter now,” says Pitruzzella, 57.

Every day, Pesce practices a series of poses, from pranayama breathing exercises to a supported downward dog achieved with the help of a sling.

“She’s a tough cookie,” Jesien says. “Before we were working together, [Pesce] was so down about her condition, but now she has such a different outlook and feels so much better about her life.”

Meta-Yoga– A way of life

Meta-yoga is a way of life in which one becomes alive to all realities. Swami Dayananda’s essential message was to expand awareness such that one’s essential experience of life is transformed forever.

Meta-yoga involves a method of expanding your awareness that shifts your relationship both to yourself and your world. Realities of life are defined in three categories: the absolute, objective and subjective. They are discussed in great detail in the Vedanta scriptures, i.e., the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. Distinguishing and applying these realities forms a context for realizing what it means to live a fully satisfying life.

There is a time tested method to elevate yourself to a higher awareness, when you sharpen your observations, your life experiences are heightened. Meta-Yoga is a way of life that gives you clarity about how to obtain joy when it is otherwise hoped for but seems unobtainable.

This deepens your relationship with yourself whereby this ancient method of contemplation and meditation points to your own presence as a source of stability. As the observer you are the one present to everything– the world, your body, your breath, even your thoughts and emotions. As an observer, you are basically your own stable presence, not even your mind engaged in relationships, etc. How does this alter your awareness? You are the heart of heart behind your relationships with your world. Everything passes through your stable awareness, like clouds in the sky. As awareness you are the stable witness of your life. In meditation, your stable awareful presence is a profound and fulfilling topic to meditate upon. The mind can finally rest in the ground of your own present awareness.

The phrase “be present to what is” has deeper implications– the more self-aware, the more inner joy. The more you connect with your own awareness you find more tolerance for everything else. This gives a new level of trust in yourself and your perceptions. And when you see others perspective, it is with compassion for their humanity, not by losing yourself or resisting views of others. Simple transparency and acceptance about the human condition is so freeing.

With increased clarity it feels more normal to be with things as they are without reactions of anxiety, fear, anger, etc.A first step is truly noticing that you are centered in yourself without needing the world and your life to be different in any way. You are not your desires! You are the one who is present to them; you are the one who is aware of them. These are not mere empty words; this is a living experience that you can choose to own up to. You can become truly self-empowered person with the help of a knowing guide.

I invite you to be more at peace and centered in your self, your life and your relationships through Julia’s life coaching sessions and guided meditations. This ancient method of gaining clarity is practical at all levels of experience.