I am honored to have the opportunity today to talk about YOGA, the thing that, I believe, has given me my life back.
I was in a car accident Nov 30, 2016 where I sustained multiple injuries. The concussion turned into chronic concussion syndrome and dizziness that left me trapped in my own body and mind. I have been riddled with constant horrible headache, dizziness, nausea, that increased in intensity. My parasympathetic system was so sensitive that it caused significant disorientation to the point where I felt I would pass out. I also had numbness, tingles, and pain going down both arms and legs. I had injuries to my neck, shoulders, upper middle and lower back, sides, legs, and arms.
For 14 months I was in a vicious cycle of; medication pain and Gravol, professional treatments to manage pain, fighting with insurance for sessions of physical rehabilitation.
The worst part was feeling like I was losing parts of my identity including; my professional career, my income, and ability to drive my car. I had little tolerance for functionality like getting a simple shower, drying my hair, or putting on my boots. I have been unable to hike, run, participate on my rowing team, take adventures, travel, and any of the things I would normally do a daughter, partner, sister, aunt a friend.
Having to allow people to help me physically and financially was so difficult because I always thought of myself as an Independent woman who didn't need any help. What hurts the most was not being the active self-sustaining independent strong mom that I was used to being. There were many times I felt defeated and beat down. Then, in true Deanne spirit, I would find a way to refocus and try again.
I kept trying to dust myself off, tried to be positive and celebrate small incremental changes in my physical health. I completed physical rehabilitation exercises on my own and would push myself to attend events my children were involved in. I started juicing programs and eating healthy last winter, as well as some meditation.
This past Spring I saw a Facebook post that a lady named Nancy Buckle, who owned a new yoga studio, was offering Free Meditation classes. I was just finishing my 21-day meditation with Deepak Chopra. I felt like this free group meditation may be a gift that I was attracting in my life. I thought maybe when I got better I would try yoga as I felt it would help me but I had no income and so put that on the back burner.
So I walked into the yoga studio that morning and saw a beautiful smile smiling back at me. She was charming, gentle, warm, and naturally talkative (like me - lol). I told her I wouldn't be able to sit up for long and she sweetly said not to worry because she often does meditation laying down. She placed props to make me feel as comfortable as possible. In candlelight she started the music and talked about connecting to breath. As I lay there, I relaxed. When she brought the group out of meditation gently I waited until Everyone left and I thanked her and I gave her a hug. With that, tears flowed and in her presence of friendship, I felt HOPE!
This was also just before Nancy was about to make a huge jump into open a new yoga studio in a different location. I kept in contact through Facebook and one day I saw that she was offering memberships at a discount for her new yoga studio. I inquired about cost and hoped that somehow the universe may help (which I told Nancy). The next day, I open Facebook and saw a status posted by Nancy. It said she was offering five free 1-year unlimited memberships to individuals that really could benefit from yoga and had financial need. Then I saw a message from Her in my inbox. She said, "I Think the Universe has Answered you"!
I couldn't believe it! I couldn't believe that this stranger was so compassionate and giving that she would gift me this.
Little did I know what was about to happen. My first restorative class was just before Christmas. I remember walking into the building and having to stop before I climbed the stairs because I was so dizzy and disoriented. I didn't want to fall on the stairs. Namaste Studios is a beautiful space and I was so excited - but also scared, as I did know how my body would react. Nancy reassured me and made sure that at all times my body was cradled with props to make me as comfortable as possible in the relaxation poses of restorative yoga. My healing begins that night.
That might, I got the energy and courage to start painting again.
As I moved into January I could see steady changes in my body and my reactions to movement.
By the end of February, I could turn from my belly to my back without much dizzy-ness. This meant that I could also sleep at night. I continued to do some of the poses at home every day along with rehabilitation exercises. I also continued to meditate. I was feeling so energized and excited that I felt Restorative Yoga working. After the first month, I asked Nancy if she thought I could start the Beginner Yoga classes. Nancy, in her sweet kindness, gently said to wait another little while and to enjoy the journey in Restorative Yoga.
So I listened to her but by February I asked again and she agreed. I started my very first Beginner Yoga class with Connie Abbas the second week of February. She was incredibly knowledgeable and insured my safety. Every week I felt stronger, more flexible, and my brain felt clearer (not foggy like before). I was less dizzy and therefore less nauseated. My constant headache tolerance steadily improved. I continued at home to do beginners yoga on UTube.
In my 4th week of doing the beginners class, I asked Nancy if I could try more classes - and I did. This past 2 weeks I have attended classes almost every day with instructors Ashley Ryan, Bailey Rempel, Margret Colburne, and Lindsay Billiard. I also continued doing yoga and meditation at home. I got the courage to write again!!! I wrote the first draft of a story on my iPhone and uploaded it to my Laptop to get a word count - It was then that I realized I could look at the computer screen and was less dizzy.
Last week I tried Bliss with Andrea Coombs. Bliss was a class that had a faster pace but in talking to Connie (Beginner Yoga teacher), she told me that she felt I was very body aware and that I could keep myself safe. I spoke to Andrea and sent her beginner videos I was doing so she would get an idea of what I was doing and she agreed for me to try a class.
I was ecstatic! I loved Class with my modifications I was able to enjoy myself and feel accomplished. My Strength is increasing and my body shape is changing. I've lost 4 inches from my waist and I feel energetic.
Yoga and meditation have spilled into my life. I am Re-learning who I am, loving me, opening to what I want in my life and what is important to me. I am experiencing acceptance for what I am able to do at that moment not past or future, but mindfully.
I have started painting, eating a more plant-based diet, contacting friends for coffee dates. I started writing and, for the first time in my life, I wrote a short story for a contest and my first formal story to a publisher. My story even made it into the top 10 choices for the judges.
Today I am off to my bliss yoga class and my restorative class knowing that soon I hope to be able to go to Butti yoga. I am so very honored and humbled to share with everyone that you should never give up hope for healing as you can find healing through yoga meditation and the teachers and mentors of Namaste studios. I hope that soon I will join Namaste Studios and to the yoga teacher training.
I feel more life inside, loving energy that is just growing. I will be paying forward all the kindness that has been given to me. I look forward to passing on on my story of healing so that maybe I can help others feel HOPE just like Nancy did for me that beautiful summer morning.
All My Love to each of the teachers, and to every yoga sister that has given me a smile.