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Woman Becomes America's First Zumba Instructor with Down Syndrome

Yulissa Arescurenaga is paving the path in fitness for people with Downs and other disabilities.

In 2008, Yulissa Arescurenaga attended her first Zumba class, and she immediately fell in love. So much so that she dreamed of becoming a certified instructor some day. But that wouldn't be as easy for her as it is for the average person.

Arescurenaga has Down syndrome, but that wasn't going to stand between her and her dream.

According to the Alaska Dispatch News, after six years and innumerable hours of practice and memorization, Arescurenaga became a licensed Zumba instructor in 2012. Originally from California, she regularly teaches classes in San Francisco, but recently traveled to Alaska to teach at the National Down Syndrome Congress held at Service High School.

"She was killing it," a student told the paper. "She didn't miss a beat."

A life skills teacher at the school, Adam Ahonen, couldn't agree more, adding that she is a true inspiration to students with Autism and Down syndrome.

"It just opens up so many doors, to know somebody's out there doing it," he said. "It teaches them they could be the first person with Down syndrome or autism doing something."

And we couldn't agree more. She is proof that you can do anything if you are brave enough to put your mind to it.

Watch Arescurenaga do her thing in this video by POPSUGAR Entertainment.


Faith Brar

Faith is an Associate Digital Editor at Meredith Corporation in Boston. Her work has appeared in Fitness, Shape, Better Homes & Gardens, More and others.  More →

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