Born without a tibia in her left leg, doctors decided to amputate below the knee when Kelsey Koch was 9 months old to improve her mobility later in life. Always an active child, the amputation eventually caused a curvature in her spine. When she was 22, her trainer suggested practicing yoga to alleviate her scoliosis and back pain.
“Yoga makes you work both sides of your body. I’m so dominant on my right side, so I first started yoga to hopefully strengthen out my left side.” (Self magazine story)
2 years later, after over 200 hours of Yoga Teacher training and teaching yoga at a local athletic club, Kelsey opened her own yoga studio in her hometown of Grand Blanc, Michigan – Serenity Yoga. She’s found, however, that wearing her prosthetic which was designed to look as realistic as possible was creating problems – it was too stiff and heavy for practicing asana (positions). She switched to a lighter running blade prosthetic, after having to deal with initial denials from her insurance company. She needed a prosthetic that allowed her to distribute her weight and keep her balance.
Knowing the benefits of yoga, she has developed a yoga program exclusively for amputees, a weekly class beginning in May of this year – “No Limbitations”
“I’m just really excited to have the amputee workshop to see everything come full circle,” she says. “[The people attending] can 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.’ And I can help them, knowing exactly what they feel like going into it and how they’re going to need support or assistance.” (Self magazine story)
Intent on sharing the yoga for amputees experience, Kelsey is on Instagram (@kelseykoch), posting photos of her doing difficult yoga poses with her prosthetic leg prominently displayed. Her posts contain inspirational messages like “You will never influence the world by trying to be like it. Be a limited addition.”
“Everyone’s different. Everyone moves different. Everyone’s body is different. But the effects of yoga, really mentally and physically, it could change your life in ways that maybe you didn’t realize you needed change,” (WNEM TV)
Serenity is committed to teaching amputees how to thrive in life through the healing power of yoga, getting amputees back to wellness and freedom in the body, mind and spirit through the practices of breathing, yoga poses, relaxation, and stress reduction
The main message she wants to give her followers and yoga students: “Every body is a yoga body.”