By Amy Zellmer, Editor-in-chief
Yoga is often misunderstood by many, with the thought that you must be flexible and able to contort your body into crazy positions while standing on one toe. This simply couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yoga is amazing for the body, spirit, and mind. Similar to meditation, it brings awareness to your breath while your movement coordinates with your breathing. Truly an individual activity, you only do what you’re able to do at the pace you’re able to do it.
After my accident, I dealt with a lot of physical injuries in addition to my TBI. I knew yoga could help me get my balance and flexibility back, but I just couldn’t figure out how to do poses without feeling dizzy or falling over. My yoga instructor helped me figure out how to modify my poses with a chair, so I had something to hold onto for extra reassurance.
ALL poses can be modified. Many can be done from a chair, and some can even be done lying on the floor — or bed!
Within several weeks of doing FIVE simple poses every single day (about 10 minutes per day) I noticed my balance and flexibility slowly but surely coming back.
I do NOT recommend walking into a group yoga class for anyone who sustained a TBI …. unless it is specifically for individuals with disabilities (LoveYourBrain has a great yoga program). There’s a really good chance it’s going to be too overwhelming for you.
I DO encourage you to find an instructor informed of accessible yoga and disabilities who can help you create an individualized flow doable from the comfort of your own home. It’s not about doing a big pose, it’s about getting movement and breath into your body … even if you practice it seated in a chair.
Yoga has an amazing way of helping calm the central nervous system, therefore helping with anxiety. It is a great way to get some physical movement back into your body, as well as oxygen flowing to the brain.
I know you’re probably thinking, “There’s no way I can do yoga,” but I assure you that you CAN — with the right instructor.
My own experience motivated me to help others experience the power of yoga in their own recovery, whether it’s from a TBI or a different injury or illness. Or maybe they are just looking for a way to de-stress in their busy lives.
Whatever your reason for coming to yoga, I am passionate about helping you realize your full potential and helping you get better tuned-in to your body. Many will not need modifications, but for those who do, I am confident in my ability to help you get the most out of your yoga session.
I invite you to join me on Patreon for weekly brain-boosting yoga classes, for just $10 a month: www.patreon.com/amyzellmer.
I keep my classes slow and gentle, and do not include inversions (which can be challenging for anyone with dysautonomia).
Amy Zellmer is Editor-in chief of The Brain Health Magazine and MN YOGA + LIfe Magazine. Amy has a passion to spread the message that yoga is for every BODY, regardless of size or ability, and a mission to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of TBI. She has her 500RYT, and is certified in trauma-informed yoga, LoveYourBrain yoga, and Yoga For All. She is also a Reiki Master. In her free time, Amy enjoys road-tripping across the country visiting National Parks.