Yoga class offered to handicapped

Dharma Studio offers special class for people who suffered traumatic brain injuries, strokes

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COCONUT GROVE, Fla. - A yoga studio in Coconut Grove offers a special class for those who suffered a traumatic brain injury or stroke.

"As you exhale, I want you to reach forward, reach for the floor," said the instructor.

The class has been offered since March at the Dharma Yoga Studio at 3170 Commodore Plaza.

"We're offering this program in the community as a gentle form of yoga for people to come in and stay active and to promote health and wellness," said Kelly Messett,, a recreational therapist at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

The class isn't considered therapy, but instead an alternate form of yoga which unites patients outside of the hospital setting.

"Now, the patients say, 'I can go some place safe. I'm meeting everybody. We're all the same. We feel normal.' And, it's just a beautiful, restorative practice, yoga," said Messett.

The practice helps address balance and coordination, key areas for people recovering from traumatic brain injuries or strokes.

"Many of the patients will say they're moving better, that actually at home they're more active, that they're doing things they weren't doing before because they're just starting to feel a sense of strengthening," said Messett.

Rocio Lake recently joined the class. She suffered a severe brain injury after a car crash three years ago.

"Unfortunately, when this thing happened to me -- after doing, being there to help others, then it had to be somebody help me please," said Lake. "All of this helps me realize and understand that I can -- I can walk again. I can do things again."

Right now, classes are held once a week. Classes may soon expand to twice a week and include people who suffered spinal cord injuries.

The program is funded by Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital's Woody Foundation. The Adaptive Sports Miami also contributes to the program.

Click here to learn how you can donate to the yoga program.

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