Jennifer Fivas wanted to get to know her sister-in-law better, so when she invited Jennifer to a Bikram Yoga class, Jennifer decided to try it out--even though she knew it would be hard. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 18 months old, Jennifer was used to things being hard, and she never let that stop her.
Jennifer's sister-in-law thought the heat might be good for Jennifer's stiff muscles, and she was right. What neither she nor Jennifer anticipated was that Bikram Yoga actually benefitted Jennifer in many other ways as well. "Throughout my life I've done all kinds of therapies," explains Jennifer. "And they've all helped a specific aspect of my CP, but nothing helps all of it. Until now. Everything has improved--my balance, flexibility, strength, fine-motor skills. . . everything. Nothing has ever helped my balance before. I deal with severe depression and anxiety too, and I feel so peaceful now. I'm off medication and am not feeling anxious. I'm absolutely thrilled!"
Jennifer has spent her life inspiring others, and her influence at Bikram Yoga at Brick Canvas is no different. "The fact that Jennifer does yoga is in itself wonderful," says Joanne. "But the way she does it is even more amazing. She's gracious and generous and kind and filled with gratitude. She makes everyone in the studio feel better--and happier. Nothing stops her!"
For the longest time, Jennifer didn't realize anything should stop her. Growing up, she thought everyone faced the same challenges she did. "I didn't notice that other people weren't struggling; I thought we were all the same. Plus my mom told me all the time, 'You're not disabled--you can do whatever you want.' "
So Jennifer has. "I love doing what people don't think I can do," Jennifer continues. "That's all I need to hear to push me. And if I can do it, anyone can! That's what I tell people about Bikram Yoga. Yes, it's hard, but my body feels so good afterwards! I wish I could find the neurologist I had as a child and tell him that all of his patients have to try this. Everyone needs to try this! It's awesome!"