Some people think yoga isn't for them because they're too stiff, too old, or too overweight to try bending themselves into pretzel-like shapes. But the truth is, practicing yoga is a great form of exercise for anyone — just ask Kelsey Koch, a yoga teacher whose left leg was partially amputated when she was just 9 months old.
Koch, 24, says she found yoga just a few years ago, when her amputation contributed to scoliosis. As she favored her right side, practicing yoga allowed her to strengthen her muscles on the left. She loved the effects so much that she studied to become a yoga teacher, and earlier this year, she opened her own studio in her hometown of Grand Blanc, Michigan. Later this spring Koch will begin leading workshops for people with amputations just like herself, called "No Limbitations."
When discussing the complications of practicing yoga with her amputation, Koch told Self.com she initially took classes in her "pretty leg" — her most realistic prosthesis — but found its weight and stiffness prohibitive. She swapped for a blade prosthetic, which is specifically designed for exercise.
"With the running blade, it was a lot lighter so I could do inversions a lot easier," Koch says.
"I'm just really excited to have the amputee workshop to see everything come full circle," she says. Attendees will "see me, and they'll know, 'I can do it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually if I keep trying I can do it.'"