I do yoga and so can you.

My yoga journey began in 2004 as a student in a therapeutically oriented yoga class. I have a genetic autoimmune disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), which is painful and debilitating. My body was beginning to hunch over and I had totally lost my center of balance. Simple walking in a shopping mall was becoming impossible for me. I was in the process of deciding which cane to buy when I attended a therapeutic yoga class desperately looking for help. There was something totally magical for me in that first class with the wonderful teacher, Heidi Pardue.

After years of asking doctors and physical therapists for help, I finally saw a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. No, I was not (and am still not) cured. There is no cure for this disease. But through yoga and my amazing teachers, I have managed to push back the progress of the disease and to become someone who happens to have AS rather than to be someone who is ruled by it.

My teacher, Heidi, is the one who eventually encouraged me to become a yoga teacher specializing in therapeutic yoga, and who sent me to study with Jenny Otto. Under Jenny I earned my 200- and 500-Hour RYT in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as my Body Balance Yoga® teacher certification. I continue to study with Jenny weekly, as well as take her series of Body Balance Yoga® therapy training weekends annually -- which now gives me more than 1000 hours of training with her in therapeutic yoga in addition to my Master of Science in Yoga Therapy. With more than 2000 teaching hours, I have earned my E-RYT 500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher).

I cannot fail to mention and give credit to the amazing physical therapist, Jon Laking, who Jenny sent me to in 2008. Jon specializes in visceral manipulation and has been literally reshaping my body. He is clear to say, though, that what he does for me (I see him biweekly) would not work without what he calls “Jenny Yoga” as the perfect complement.

Yoga has become a full-time passion for me. I truly love teaching yoga and am always inspired by the determination, courage, and humor of my students. I can now participate in and teach various levels of more advanced yoga classes because I have learned to modify my poses using lots of props. Sometimes there is a pose that I simply cannot do, but I receive all the same benefits from yoga, and perhaps more, as do people with “normal” bodies. Yoga has also helped me to cope with the pain of Crohn's disease, but perhaps more pressing for me now, is that it is helping me to battle a rare and aggressive form of stage 4 cancer.

The magic I felt in my first class in 2004 is what I now know to be the “union of the mind, body and spirit” that yoga offers to us all. This is what I teach my students.

I do yoga…and so can you.

*Disclaimer: The yoga therapy components of my practice are based on my completion of a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy from
Maryland University of Integrative Health, a program which is accredited by the Accreditation Committee of the International Association of Yoga Therapies,
approved by the Higher Education Commission, and from a university accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education,
(as well as the additional experience and training listed on my website), and NOT derived from my status as an RYT® with Yoga Alliance Registry.


Copyright© 2010-2017, Melinda Frisch, MS, MS, C-IAYT, E-RYT500, LVCYT All Rights Reserved,
Columbia and Annapolis, Maryland. email: ucandoyoga@verizon.net
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