I have practiced yoga passively for a long time. I went to yoga classes with my mom in high school and taught myself sun salutations in my 20’s. I would practice at home once or twice a week. I would occasionally go to classes at my gym (Shapes) but they were usually a combination of yoga and cardio so my practice never really expanded much. I knew the superficial benefits of yoga, flexibility, core strength and balance but I didn’t have any idea about the deeper benefits of yoga.
In 2011 I was in a car accident. A “lucky to be alive” car accident. I don’t remember much of it. I have dreams about the impact though. I was in and out of consciousness for about a day. I would wake up for a few seconds here and there. I remember unlatching the sunroof so my passenger could get out (he walked away with barely a scratch). I remember the EMTs ripping off the car door so they could get me out of the car. I remember screaming from the pain when they pulled me out. I remember flashes of being in the ambulance. The EMTs talking to me and working on me. I woke up in an MRI. I woke up with a cop screaming at me. I woke up when my “Uncle” Joe showed up. My folks were across the state and it wasn’t until the next day that made it to the hospital.
At the end of everything, I had a bad concussion. I broke my pelvis in three places. I broke my tailbone. I had a ton of nerve damage in my legs. I ended up in the trauma ward. There’s not much you can do for a broken pelvis. You can’t put a cast on it. Sometimes they can put pins in them or screws or plates but I was lucky enough to not need anything like that. Or maybe I was unlucky. Hard to say. They had me walking and starting physical therapy after about 4 days. I was still really weak and in a ton of pain. On day 6 I finally had a blood transfusion which significantly helped. After 8 days I got to go home.
I spent the next 8 months in bed. I was able to shower and eat and walk around with a walker. I was never able to get comfortable. I was bored and in pain. I went to a chiropractor three times a week and had an hour long massage every week (that part wasn’t so bad) and went to physical therapy. My physical therapist taught me a few basic yoga postures. I started practicing those poses and others I learned through YouTube.
After about a year I was walking relatively well and able to exercise regularly. I was practicing sun salutations every morning. This was pretty much the extent of my yoga practice until a year ago. I heard about a yoga studio that had opened near me and I decided to check it out. I hadn’t gone to a formal yoga class in years. My first class at Koa was with Jenna Anticola. I was hooked. I signed up for an unlimited membership and started going to every class I could. My practice improved significantly and I started to reap the deeper benefits of yoga. I’ve been practicing at Koa for over a year now. When I can I go to anywhere between 3 and 8 classes.
I’m still recovering. Every day I try to help my body heal. This past year has been difficult because I’ve had a few surgeries on my left leg. I developed a lipoma from the impact of the crash on my left thigh. It was unusually large so I had to have it removed and then I had to have a couple follow up surgeries. My most recent surgery was December 14th so I’m still in recovery now. I’ve only made it to one class since then but I have been practicing at home. This has been a difficult time for me. I haven’t been feeling well and I’ve been in quite a bit of pain.
Yoga has improved many aspects of my health and wellbeing. My flexibility, core strength and balance have significantly improved. My ability to calm my mind and my ability to concentrate have improved. My breathing has improved and as a result my cardio endurance has increased. My overall fitness level has improved. I’ve also seen improvement in my mental health. I am able to relax and meditate more easily and more deeply. My sleep has even improved. Every time I come to the mat I reap the benefits. That’s why I yoga.