Finding Her Light Within

Arthritis Today|Winter 2019-2020

Finding Her Light Within
YOGA HELPED EUGENIA ESQUIVEL COPE WITH RA. NOW SHE TEACHES OTHERS HOW IT CAN RESTORE EVERY BODY.
Michele Cohen Marill

A couple dozen people in the yoga studio lie back on bolsters, their eyes closed and their arms resting loosely by their sides. “Give yourself permission to be supported,” instructor Eugenia Esquivel says gently. “Give yourself permission to rest.”

Those are sentiments Eugenia takes to heart. The mindfulness she gains from yoga helps her cope with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And the lessons she’s learned from her journey with RA shape her approach as a yoga instructor.

Yoga can seem intimidating when it is portrayed by photos of people in formfitting clothes doing backbends or headstands. But Eugenia assures her students that yoga isn’t a competitive sport; it’s a personal practice. No matter what physical limitations someone has, poses can be adapted, and there should be no pressure to fit anyone else’s expectations.

“Yoga is for everybody. It doesn’t have limits of age or size,” she says. “It’s a practice that is for any- and everybody, any ability.”

A PATH TO HEALING

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Winter 2019-2020