Onward and Upward




On the 4th of November, 2006, I left for work and on the way I wrapped mycar around a telegraph pole and was airlifted to Royal Brisbane Hospital with a few different injuries including damage to my right brainstem, resulting in paralysis to the left side of my body. I wish I could be dramatic about it but in all honesty, it didn’t seem that bad… I had amazing support from my family and friends…. I just woke up and that’s how it was. I spent the next 6 months or so between hospital and in rehab with a ward full of stroke and brain injury survivors. We were all pretty messed up, but we were ok and celebrating each other’s leaps and bounds in recovery while we learnt to do cool things… like swallowing without choking and sitting up ha ha. I met the most inspiring people in rehab who had acquired profound perspective.

Three years after my accident I stumbled across yoga,  and from the moment I started I felt energy moving through my body in ways I was lead to believe it never would again. I was hooked! 

I remember when I started how many props I had to use just to be able to get my body in to poses. I’m so grateful to my yoga teachers, for making yoga accessible to me and for the way they emphasized that yoga wasn’t about how the poses looked from the outside, but that I had the lines of energy moving inside, the importance of the inside out story. Feeling this transformation taught me that it was only through my perfect self-acceptance of where I was, that I could move beyond my limitations and re-train my brain. I learnt the power and perfection in starting where I was.

As I progressed I watched the props I was needing fall away, and what was more important was the confidence I was gaining on my mat started to ripple out to become confidence off the mat. As my balance improved I started walking through the forest and visiting waterfalls again, climbing over rocks and through streams. I could take the self-awareness I was developing and apply it to everything I was doing, my life became my practice- how am I walking, holding my fork, how is my foot in the stirrup while I’m riding and in what subtle ways can I move my body to allow more of a free flow of energy in every moment?

For me, rehab is an exciting and evolving process. The first three years of doing yoga, I moved to a small yogic community on the Sunshine Coast where I focussed on yoga, pranayama and meditation, it was quite a solitary but crazily fulfilling journey as I learnt to just get back in my body! My journey now is becoming more playful with others, which is fun! I’m doing more technically refined horse riding, starting to play with acro-yoga and looking to start massage training next year to take my rehab to the next level. I agree with the quote that life begins at the edge of your comfort zone and I’m usually looking for mountains to climb (metaphorically), to grow and extend my self to be the best version of me that I can be, for the benefit of others. 

I constantly bow down to the feet of my ‘accident’. It has taught me things in the most grounded, embodied, experiential way and really put me on my path. Life has crafted my journey and prepared my dreams, allowed my inner world to merge into my daily actions and taught me the strength that lurks beneath the façade of limited dreams. 

I am so thankful for my challenges; grateful for the amazing support I have had along the way, and look forward to the unveiling of future chapters!