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Meet Success Stories of Yoga Therapy

The final aim in life is moksha, liberation.....

Wendy Russell, Age 57
Client for Fibromyalgia

I had developed severe fibromyalgia causing intense, chronic pain and fatigue all over my body and an immobility and frustration I had never experienced before. My physical sensitivity and weakness made me very resistant to trying yoga because I was afraid it would cause more pain. Even now I tear up recalling the difference yoga made from that very first session. Paula's gentleness, her incredible intuition and knowledge of how the body works, and the way she knew exactly where to begin. I came in distrustful of yoga as a method because, in the past,  I'd associated results with powering through things --sweat, performing at my peak, mastering things quickly, looking good, being in control, perfectionism, and yoga was different. Paula kept suggesting pretty low-key exercise in terms of what I was used to and "maybe more isn't what you need". One day what she meant clicked and I realized that wanting to push myself physically was part of the imbalance, the "disease" going on inside. The real issue was of my inability to genuinely relax, truly let go mind and body.  When I was able to genuinely do that in the sessions, the pain reduced.  I had to really give the healing process time. I had to learn that breathing properly was even more important than "doing" the exercises, and it was when I realized these things that my symptoms really started to change. I began to feel a level of release from pain and relaxation I had never experienced before yoga.  I didn't even realize how I had been assaulting myself all those years by that ignorance and conditioning.  At that point, Paula encouraged me to commit to home practice, only about 10 mintues a day, but more if I felt up to it.  I found myself 'up to' more and more without fatigue, pain, or strain.    After a year of once a week sessions, I began to have long stretches without symptoms. Now, two years later, day to day I'm no longer aware of  this condition in my body.  My energy, stamina, strength, and freedom from pain is amazing compared to two years ago when I had to take naps just to manage.  I have my life back and I feel yoga has improved many areas of my life in the process. I keep up my yoga to maintain the precious health I have back.  It is totally worth the investment in YOU in terms of time and money.  I feel I've learned self-mastery to a point that now, as a mental health therapist, I find myself bringing the benefits of yoga that I've learned to help my clients as well. 

Ed Cohen, Age 89
Client for Scoliosis, HyperKyphosis, Stenosis and COPD

The top and bottom photos are the difference Yoga Therapy one hour a week over two years has made. Before therapy, my height had shrunk from 6'2" to  5'11 due to muscle imbalances and weakness and the consequent compression, shortening, and twisting of my spine.  I had developed lumbar thoracic scoliosis, stenosis, and hyperkyphosis causing my head and shoulders  to be forward of my spine and weaken my ability to  balance.  I had  leg, back, and shoulder pain.  I also had developed COPD with lung capacity of only 50%.  You can see the change that working with Paula is making to my posture. My spinal, leg, and shoulderpain are gone. The other day I noticed another difference. Suddenly Paula appeared shorter because I was standing straighter! Measurement by my doctor confirmed I now stand 6 feet tall and I hope to regain more. My breathing is easier, deeper, much smoother and even. Paula tells me that regular home practice is essential, so I practice religiously, by wearing my yarmulke!

John Smith, Age 68

Client for Managing Cancer

Craig Smith, Age 62
Client for Low Back Pain
and Flexibility

I was one of those people who said, "Why do yoga?"  I was a very reluctant convert who now has become a disciple.  As an executive with a sedentary job and lots of travel, I was beginning to suffer the aches that age, stress, and limited movement bring.  I tried to stay in shape in the gym three or more times a week, but that didn't help my mobility. I had chronic  low back pain and increasing stiffness everywhere.   At the gym, I had seen yoga classes from a distance filled with limber women in poses I couldn't have done in my 20s.  I was never going there! Then my wife convinced me to try Paula at home. Fast forward two years and I can do poses now in my 60s I couldn't do in my 20s, but more important I found a lasting, natural way to reverse the aches and decline. At 62, I am truly better than I have ever been.  I have a daily home practice for prevention and maintenance of my original issues, and am now working with Paula on other issues of my well-being. Back to the original question, Why do yoga?   Each of us will have our own motive, frequently in response to something disturbing that moves us to make a change, and Yoga is often initiated for the physical benefits, as with me.  But it provides much more than just physical benefits.  My suggestion is don't resist like I did, start now, give it a try,  answer with "Why not?"


 Jean Krafsur, Age 90
Client for Strength and Balance after Hip & Knee Replacements 

I have been thinking and thinking about my reaction to my yoga therapy sessions.  I feel that you have emphasized the most important things.  My aches and pains are pretty much gone.  I'm constantly thinking about my posture.  You are very disciplined and I think that is so important. Of course I think that one on one is the best way to go.  Not only that, I have fun. You have a pleasant personality to work with.  What more can I say!  If I were to grade you, you'd get an A+. Much love.

Susan Gemma, Age 66

Client for Anxiety, Vitality, and Post-Menopause Fitness

We all would like to think we know our bodies and how to take care of them, but Yoga Therapy has made me realize we take so much for granted.  Yoga Therapy is an investment in oneself that is worth every penny.  Life-changing!

Ruth Rolfe,  Age 97


Client for Arthritis, MuscleWaste, and Limited Mobility

Paula is a very sensitive, skilled instructor who adapts yoga for each client.  My mother took an interest in yoga for the first time at age 96 and was determined to do it.  We found Paula and my mother's transformation was nothing short of miraculous!   My mother began to regain the use of many parts of her body and she began to improve mentally as well.  She loved playing bridge and maj games but had fallen into a long period of losing.  I noticed that as she worked with Paula doing yoga, she began winning every one again.  She practiced with Paula till 98. Yoga may well have extended her life that long.  It certainly extended her function and enjoyment of those years.   ~Maryl Levine 


 I was recovering after drug therapies that had left me very  weak. Paula was very mindful of my physical limitations. She  took the time to thoroughly evaluate me and listen to my  needs.  She developed a custom therapeutic routine for me and  was very patient and thorough in guiding me through the  various yoga exercises.  I particularly found the guided  meditations, breathing exercises, and gentle asanas effective.  Her instruction gradually returned my strength, stamina,  balance, and energy levels.   Paula also helped me gain a  greater awareness and presence in my spiritual practice and  life  moments, a larger perspective on how to handle the highs  and  lows of living with my illness, and along the way, I came to  see  better what is really important in my life and how to live"  well"  each day.  

Mallory Shibuya, Age 67
Client for Back and Hip Pain, Core Strength, Muscle Balance, 
Structural Alignment 

Since my early twenties my back pain has dramatically affected my life choices.  I've turned to Physical Therapy numerous times , but alone it never resulted in the deep kind of change I was seeking.   FINALLY Paula is helping me understand my back in a new way.

My first Yoga Therapy assignment was recording daily activities to correlate lifestyle to pain triggers.  Paula zeroed in on my unique movement patterns. New awareness is leading to essential changes improving pain, alignment, balance, strength, and well-being for the long term.

I began working with Paula while actively involved in PT.  The combination of Physical Therapy with Yoga Therapy has been very effective.  Exploring each PT exercise in depth as a form of a yoga posture is teaching me to access correct muscles. The result is increased benefits from each exercise.  I have a simple, meaningful, effective daily routine that fully supports my back and all the activities of my life.

Another important aspect missing in PT that I've gained through YT is learning to breathe through my diaphragm. Yoga's breath exercises are teaching me to strengthen  layers of muscles that connect my movement from my core. Every breath and motion thus becomes a core workout in daily activities. This is NOT how I have been moving most of my life so the learning is slow.  Yet, month after month, understanding and improvements are building.  Gradually I am feeling remarkable results.

I know my changes will last a lifetime because of deep understanding and a very personalized practice that fits my lifestyle.  My Yoga Therapy practice can be done at home, at the beach, on the trail, in the pool, even doing tai chi.  Paula is revealing to me how life is one continuous opportunity to mindfully strengthen, balance, and relax into whatever I am doing.  Yoga Therapy with Paula is a very good investment and a gift to myself! 

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