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“When I can, everybody can! Do not think so much where you wish to arrive, simply enjoy the journey!”

MARIA JOÃO NEVES

I was born with serious medical problems in my legs, knees and feet. At the age of 13 I was submitted to several surgeries that didn’t go the best way. My left leg was to be amputated and I almost died. Doctors thought I would never be able to walk properly again. That was a time of strong physical pain and mental suffering. On the positive side, I learned form an early age to turn my attention inwards and find strength in there. I decided to fight for my health.

I left the hospital in a wheel chair and made all efforts to start walking again. I did not stay within prescribed physiotherapy. I did that and much, much more! I explored my body and trained patiently and intensively. Despite the limitations on my left leg, the metal in both knees and the scars over legs and feet, one year later was walking. I learned how to balance despite not feeling part of my left leg and having lost part of my anterior tibial muscle.

Years after I was a gymnastics champion in acrobatics, after that I was trained as a modern dancer and then... I discovered yoga! I understood by then that yoga was all I was looking for, for so long! At the time I had finished my degree in Philosophy and continued studying. I earned scholarships, went abroad, wrote my Ph.D thesis and became an academic, a professor and researcher at the university. All these time I practiced yoga with passion! For every moment of pain, of tiredness, of  discouragement, yoga was always there for me.

Slowly I started teaching yoga, by the side of my academic life. This passion continued to grow. I had a studio at home for my private practice, but people started to appear asking for help with their physical issues. I indulged in sharing what I had discovered with my own problems. Despite our  limitations there is always something we can do to improve!

10 years have passed and my home studio is a place to share this “therapeutic yoga” with everyone that wishes it. I also teach group classes. When my students feel discouraged, I sometimes show them my scars and say: “When I can, everybody can! Do not think so much where you wish to arrive, simply enjoy the journey!”

               

  MJ

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