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Yoga instructor with Down Syndrome reopens yoga classes in Santa Barbara


SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Jessica Parsons does the super hero during her yoga class in Santa Barbara.

For many, she is a super hero of sorts.

When asked how yoga makes her feel, she replied, "powerful!"

Like with just about everything, Parsons closed her yoga class for two years due to the pandemic.

Now she says couldn’t be happier to finally reopen the popular class.

"I’m super excited for everything," said Parsons.

Parsons is considered the first female yoga instructor with Down Syndrome in the nation.

And Yoga is her way of bringing people from all walks of life together.

"I really enjoyed it … it’s open toward special needs … its open to everyone … it’s amazing how they include everyone … it’s just very powerful to see everyone working together as a team … most people have a hard time finding things like this," said yoga student Ryan Frykman.

"It’s awesome because it’s an opportunity to come together and do yoga and everyone at all levels is met .. so it’s accessible which is nice for everyone in our community that might not get the opportunity to do," McKenna Robles of Alfa Resource Benter.

Now that yoga classes are back, Parsons says she’s looking forward to a busy year with her students.

"We love her it’s a unique program whether you have challenges or not … you love yoga or you love Jessica ... people love coming to this class," said senior rec supervisor Jason Bryan of the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department.

"}I hope everyone will sign up for my yoga class," said Parsons.

Jessica Parsons is a yoga teacher with Down Syndrome in Santa Barbara.

Her classes resume Wednesday, Jan. 25, and will take place on Wednesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Carrillo Recreation Center:

Click here to sign up for a class.

Parsons, coming from a family of yoga teachers, has been teaching yoga since she was 12.

At 16, she started teaching classes for other people with special needs through the Down Syndrome Association of Santa Barbara.

The yoga instructor said she has been teaching “Inclusive Yoga” ever since.

In addition to her passion for yoga, she loves helping others stay strong and healthy.

She believes inclusive yoga is a fun, accepting and accessible practice, and it can be for students with all skill levels and all walks of life, including those with disabilities.

Parsons hopes her class will help students get into yoga, exercise and connect with other students.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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