While I appreciate the fact that most people who come to yoga, do so for reasons related to fitness, strength building, improving flexibility, and sometimes relaxation, I always think it so important to emphasize that the physical aspect of yoga is really just a very small part of the practice. I know – its GREAT to feel the physical changes in your body when you practice yoga regularly. Who doesn’t love to lose weight, see their body getting stronger, toned, more supple and not to mention being able to physically do things you never thought you’d be able to do. There is a huge sense of satisfaction and reward in that and I don’t want to take away from that element at all. I have personally patted myself on the back a few times for the physical changes that yoga brought to my body– especially during pregnancy – a time when most women have a sense of loss of control over the shape and loss of strength in their bodies.

Looking and feeling physically better is fabulous. But here’s the thing…this is why yoga is so amazing…not only do you look and feel so different – you actually practice things during your yoga that you hardly ever (or never for most of us) get to do elsewhere. You practice attitudes and habits that change your life to a more peaceful and happy place to be.

This is what you really practice when you practice yoga:

1. In yoga you practice ease in body and mind. For most of us, ease doesn’t come ….well, easy. We live a life of tension. We ‘try’ to do lots of things and the act of trying creates tension. We are consumed with thoughts around what we should and shouldn’t do or be able to do, and are constantly pacing and chasing. This manifests in our yoga practice – we come in and try to be flexible. We push ourselves to try to get into positions and postures – still plagued by the thoughts telling us – you should be able to do this – why is this so *&%&^% hard? It’s hard because your body is hard and your mind is rigid. You’re plagued with tension, everywhere.

In yoga you practice to ease up, let go of the tension in your body and in your mind. That’s why you feel so great when you practice yoga. It sets you free.

2. In yoga you practice being curious about your body and your abilities. From a young age we are measured against the developmentally appropriate milestones we are ‘meant’ to reach at certain ages. We are constantly bombarded with – this is what you should be able to do now – this is what good enough looks like, this is what not good enough looks (and feels) like. We learn to look at ourselves in that way. Measuring ourselves against some external source that may well be so far removed from who we truly are, that it really is like comparing apples and pears.

In yoga – once you get out of your mind which constantly harasses you with ‘you should’ and ‘you must’ and ‘you could/couldn’t’, you learn to look at yourself and your body and its abilities with a fresh pair of eyes. Like seeing yourself for the first time you can allow yourself to be curious. The good thing about this is that once you allow yourself to be looked at in this different way – your body just about always blows you away. It surprises you with what it is capable of when you meet it with acceptance and kindness. Your own ability to be open, be different, be fresh, be who you really are, surprises you as its so much better than all the expectations that you place on yourself, which doesn’t really mean anything to you. Being curious, like a child, is a refreshing, and life-altering bonus to what your yoga practice brings to your life.

3. In yoga you practice loving your body and yourself: With the practice of being curious, almost inevitably, comes a new sense of appreciation for what you and your body is really about. As a world of possibilities open up in terms of what you are capable of, both physically and mentally, you learn to appreciate who and what you truly are. Getting to know yourself in a way that is different from how you were ‘brought up’ to think about what is good and bad and correct or not so correct according to society’s rules, is liberating and once the acceptance of the amazing, yet different being that you truly are sets in, there is so much more room to love who you are and what you are about. ‘My body is mine and its not only perfect – its amazing’ is not a common frame of mind in this day and age. In yoga you practice to believe and inhabit that space in your mind.

4. In yoga you practice gratitude: Hand in hand with loving your body and who you truly are, comes a sense of gratitude. You are able to be grateful for your body, how it shows up and functions for you every day – despite years of potentially being beaten up by bad habits or negative thoughts. In yoga you practice functioning from a place of gratitude. Every difficult posture teaches you something else about yourself. These lessons improve your life, it helps you learn about how you can choose to change and improve. You therefore learn to be grateful for the ‘discomfort’ – on the mat and out there in life. The discomfort and the challenges shape you and that’s something to be grateful for. You learn to be grateful when the challenge comes…and grateful when it ends.

5. In yoga you practice being kind: You will often hear sayings in yoga like ‘listen to your body’ and while this is a well-intended saying, it can also serve as a cop- out – a get out of jail card – an opportunity to take it easy. Yoga is definitely not part of the no-pain-no-gain- break-your-body-down-before-you-build-it-up-again-its-cool-to-break-your-body-because-that-means-you’re-working-out-properly mentality. Thankfully. It is also not a place to shy away from that which you really need to face in yourself or in your body. So rather than saying – listen to your body – think ‘honour your body’ – with kindness. Honouring your body puts you in a place of knowing what your body needs, and responding in kindness. Listening to your body might sound like have a big slice of lemon meringue at Mug and Bean (because they are biggest and sweetest), but honouring your body might sound more like stay in side plank for 5 more breaths because you need to wake up the fire meridians in your body to cleanse, detoxify and renew and even transform! You approach your body and its needs with kindness and care. You know this is the only body you have. You know that this body has been there from the beginning and will be till the end. You know that when you love something, you care for it with kindness. This is VERY difficult for most people in yoga to get their heads around, because they are consistently plagued by the mentality of not being good enough, strong enough, flexible enough and resenting themselves and their own bodies for not being able to do things. In yoga you practice the opposite. You practice acceptance, and kindness to yourself – all the time and under all circumstances.

6. In yoga you practice compassion: In order to be kind to your body you have to begin to cultivate the most beautiful quality out there: compassion. We lack compassion so much in our daily lives towards each other, because we lack compassion for ourselves. In yoga you practice being compassionate. Your body is tired today? You’re body is restricted, and even paralysed by tension? You don’t condemn and judge yourself, make yourself out to be less than average. You practice compassion….

Your body has been holding tension for you for years. While you ignored it and pretended it wasn’t happening, your body held onto it for you. Have compassion. Have compassion for yourself. Have compassion and know that everyone out there is fighting and inward battle…it’s not always easy. We all deserve a little compassion.

7. In yoga you practice patience: Yoga postures, and the qualities they aim to instill in each of us who take to the mat, don’t come easy. You will always have good and bad days. You will always with the best of intentions not fully get to where you want to be. You will fall out, your mind will wander, you will get angry when you ‘should’ feel compassion and you will get frustrated by slow progress. Certain postures may elude you for years and you will doubt yourself. In yoga you practice patience with yourself. When you learn to be patient with yourself you become patient in general. The world needs more patience.

8. In yoga you practice being present: any good yoga class invites you to take the time to become still and present. 99.9% of our daily lives is spent either in the future – worrying, or in the past, contemplating. Neither of those (the future or past) serves you, as the past is gone and the future might never happen. Being present is a place of freedom, of joy, of pure and utter bliss and release from tension. Because it is NOW – it is what it is – free from anticipation, regret, or worry. It just is what it is. It’s a funny thing to get your head around and we spend years and years trying to learn and appreciate the value of staying present. In yoga you have a great opportunity to be present. Through connecting with your breath and giving yourself permission to let go of everything else out there, you connect to the present moment. Freedom. You begin to see where your mind goes when it does wander. You begin to feel what it feels like, when you do let go, even for a moment. You create a space free of tension in body, mind and soul for your body, mind and soul to be free to be limitless as they were intended to be.

9. In yoga you practice how you want to be: Bringing your body to stillness and then moving in and out of postures with varying levels of difficulty, and addressing various aspects about yourself, and your life on the mat brings you face to face with what you’re really like. How you respond to challenges, how you respond to failures (perceived or not), and success. What motivates you? Are you driven by what others see in you or can you bring your motivation inwards and be your own driving force in a kind and compassionate way? How do you limit yourself – do you give up before you’ve tried and can you overcome your fear of failure and allow yourself to be vulnerable. In yoga you practice being how you really want to be. A softer, easier, kinder, more compassionate, patient and present person.

Read more:  http://mype.co.za/new/what-do-you-practice-when-you-practice-yoga/34140/2014/02#ixzz3dLaQysHw
In yoga – you should never TRY to be more flexible. It is completely counterproductive. Achieving flexibility comes with letting go – NOT trying/controlling. Trying causes you to tense up. It means you’re holding on inside– thinking that by working and trying so hard – you control the outcome. It’s the furthest thing from the truth…. ever. You will never get more flexible by controlling how your muscles work. You need to let go for flexibility to kick in. I repeat – you need to let go….

The first month of 2014 has held one resounding, persistent, annoying, message for me: too much of my energy is going in to controlling every single detail of my business. Simply put – I am a complete control freak where my business is concerned and while its causing me unnecessary stress, it is, more importantly taking me off my yogic path and not actually helping my business grow in the way that I really want it to.

There I said it.

This last week I reached breaking point and I decided that I could keep going down this route, or do something about it. Simple as that. I have the power to choose right? So this is me, putting it out there – my resolve to journey on the path of releasing my controlling tendencies for the purpose of my own health, happiness and the ongoing success of my business. Putting this out there will motivate me to keep to my resolve and it may motivate one or two others with the same annoying, and very powerfully destructive tendency!

A bit of background to make my case:

I opened up my yoga studio as a tentative venture to see if yoga could take off in the selective and unforgiving market that exists in PE. My one-man-show got off to a rocking start and I’ve been living the dream ever since: no one to answer to, full creative freedom, complete independence. I couldn’t have asked to have it any better.

As life goes though, things change and evolve. The dream of having a proper, big yoga studio, that serves many, many people: with different physical abilities and emotional needs, with different schedules and of different levels, offering workshops and trainings in many interesting and related fields and becoming a household name in yoga communities, was still alive, if a little pushed to the side while enjoying my comfort zone. Just as I started getting really comfortable with where things were at – thinking – I could cruise along like this for ages….things started happening to push me in a different direction:

1. I became pregnant – well that’s quite a serious and strong message along the lines of change

2. Things in my previously calm and comfortable studio, turned what I can only for now describe as ‘psycho’ – and I needed to move – another pretty strong sign that times they were a changing!

I considered moving to Canada and allow my partner to take care of me. I considered kicking back and living a conservative life off proceeds from the UK. I considered packing a backpack and hitting the road until something else popped up as the next thing to get my teeth into. India came to mind as it did lead to life changing events the last time I went – but I didn’t fancy tempting fate with delhi belly while being pregnant.

My responsible side – as well as the fact that I really, really liked having a yoga studio and I LOVED my clients – kept me looking for new studio premises.
It was the only option that brought any peace in my soul.

Bigger premises, that were more beautiful, more accessible with more exposure, with more opportunity to expand and grow into all the areas I had originally envisaged when I manifested this dream to begin with – soon became available. It came easily, without any fuss or battle – just like it was meant to be. It was just waiting there for me to find it…and since I have been there, its welcomed me in every day arrive there. I feel at home – more than I ever did in the seemingly ‘comfortable space’ just around the corner, where this yoga journey started.

With bigger and better – not just in regards to the studio, but also concerning my waistline – came the need for expansion by way of finding the right people to support the functioning of the studio and the expanding dream (aka expanding budget). This was where I hit the brickwall – hard and fast.

I don’t really want ANYONE else around because I don’t really want to relinquish control in that way. This is my BABY after all. My first born and its not even 8 months old. What kind of mother leaves her first born in the care of someone else – even for a few minutes – when its not even 8 months old?

Of course I know I’m crazy – lots of mothers leave their kids – safely – in the care of others…and all entrepreneurs feel like their businesses are their babies…but they too learn to let go for the benefit of the business.

It was when I recognized how ridiculous my thoughts were that I realized I needed to get a grip. I was losing sleep (and weight while I was pregnant) because of all these little irrational thoughts and beliefs about myself, my responsibilities, what I could and couldn’t do, and also the capabilities of people around me.

The time for change is now.

Why we control:

1. We’re worried about what will happen if we don’t control it – i.e control is based in fear
Fear is a very powerful emotion and is always based outside of the present moment. ..i.e. its not real – its perceived. We fear how things may or may not turn out and affect us. Only some, but often none, of our fears materialise. So it is a ‘false’ state of being. It’s energy wasted on something that may or may not happen.
2. We’re attached to a specific outcome, and the way to get achieve that outcome. We think, we what the best route and outcome is for us (as if we always know best).
The reality is that things often don’t pan out as planned – but that they then in fact turn out better. How many times have you had to look on as things – with or without you trying to control them – unfolded as they should and in a way you never ever imagined or fathomed – better than your expectations? Different to what you anticipated isn’t necessarily bad, or worse….it may in fact be better.

3. We lack trust in others and ultimately in the Universe/God.
Lacking in trust that whatever is, is best, is good, is meant to be, is safe and beautiful and perfect for you – is living in a place of fear, pessimism, cynicism, and limitations. Einstein said: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe”.
We don’t expand and experience abundance when we only allow ourselves to trust what we can see and touch …and control. We often learn not to trust right from early childhood and what needs to be addressed here can be painful and complicated. It is worth it though…because the truth is, our lives have the potential to be completely limitless. WE are limitless. We hold the power and freedom to every bit of happiness and success out there – and we hold the keys to lock up that potential forever.

This is some serious stuff.

What I am doing about it:

1. I am going to give everything I can in terms of equipping people with the tools to carry out the business activities in line with my business model, integrity to yoga philosophy and practice– and then I am going to allow them to be free to bring what THEY have. That which is special and authentic about THEM.
My affirmation – the diversity and depth of experience that others bring enrich and grow my business every day.

2. I am going to draw inspiration from and match my thoughts to leaders that I have encountered in real life/literature/movies and whom I admire for their integrity, success, and ability to inspire rather than control
My affirmation – the best leaders out there made it by inspiring rather than controlling. Inspiring leadership has far reaching effects. Controlling leadership has ever tightening boundaries and limitations.

3. I am going to monitor my thoughts and controlling tendencies and open up to understanding where they come from – insecurities, fear, lack of trust etc. I will stay in the present moment – dealing only with what is happening here and now, accept my insecurity and fears for what they are but not allow them to dictate my thoughts and resulting behaviours. One day at a time – one thought at a time, one act at a time.
Affirmation – I am the beautiful product of everything this life has given me to grow and evolve. Every part of what I am has purpose – even the fears and insecurities. I accept them, and I release the need for my behaviour to be governed by them.

4. In yoga one learns to be curious. Curious about your body – what it can do and what the journey to doing things different brings up. I am going to apply that principle to my business and opening the doors to others to contribute and add to the picture. I am going to be curious about different ways of doing things and alternative routes to where we want to be. The most direct or most efficient way might work sometimes and other times the scenic route brings up meaningful and inspiring things. I’m opening up to those possibilities
Affirmation – I am open to suggestions and learnings from others as their ideas are just as useful and meaningful as mine. I accept all offers and stay curious about an attitude of openness can deliver.

5. I am setting out on a journey of mastering the art of Surrender: the complete acceptance of what is and having faith that all is well, even without my input. (My throat slightly contracted even as I wrote that). I have to remind myself that this does not mean – ‘do nothing’. It means – do something from a place of sweet surrender. Doing something without demanding a certain outcome. Doing something without force or feeling like it is a struggle.
Will Blunderfield sings: “There is a river that I’ve discovered. It flows downstream to everything I desire. I paddled so hard against the current, I did not know, that all I needed was to let the oars go, and just flow.
Affirmation: All is well in my world. I breathe and let go of the oars

As I conclude this article I face my first challenge: part of me thinks I can’t submit this because what I am asking of myself here is impossible (i.e. I don’t feel I can control the successful outcome of what I put out there). Funny that. There is another part that just keeps saying – let the oars go…The energy right now is magical….and unbearable. Here goes….

Yoga and meditation has for centuries proved its amazing contribution to healing – physically, mentally and spiritually. Here is the story of a PE women who experienced this first hand.

Lynne Cooper is an amazing woman. I gathered this from brief interactions with her over the first few months I got to know her while she was practicing yoga at my studio. When she left to go on her yearly trip abroad, I never imagined that she would come back being anything other than revitalized and rested. Instead she came back with her ankle and leg in cast, determination to heal that is second to none, and also a peacefulness and quiet resolve to learn the lesson in every moment of the serious injury that she had suffered.

Lynne and her partner had gone travelling around the Channe Islands for seven and a half weeks. The ventured out on adventurous hikes and expeditions as is their hobbie and passion. Six days before returning to South Africa, they had been in less adventurous Eastbourne walking through Gildritch Park – a very typically British Park: very well-groomed, clearly signposted, with clear paths that are disability friendly – no slipping sliding, skidding, or climbing involved. When Lynne was faced with a fork in the road – she decided to – as is her habit – not make too drastic a decision. There was that moment of slight hesitation, a pause, a subtle sense of knowing that something was about to happen. Lynne decided to take the less obvious path….the one that ran in-between the two. There were three log steps on this less than obvious ‘middle path’, and on the second step, she slipped. A sense of nausea came over her and with the impact and severity of the injury, all the energy drained out of her body as her adrenals responded to the shock. She broke her ankle in two places – both the tibia and fibia were broken right by her ankle joint. An injury known as bimalleolar with dislocation. There would only be one injury worse than this bimalleolar fracture. Such an injury would involve the heel and is referred to as trimalleolar.

Lynne was operated on in casualty in England and refused medications offered by the hospital, including morphine to numb the pain. She was adamant she wanted to experience the injury in real time and stay connected to how her body was doing. Throughout the ordeal – during the time in hospital and afterwards all she had by way of conventional medicine was:

  • laughing gas at the time when the dislocation of the ankle took place,
  • anesthetic when the pins and plates were put into her ankle, and
  • Clexane – a blood thinner, which was important for the flight back to South Africa.
Other than that, she took no painkillers, anti-inflammatories or other medications commonly associated with such a serious injury. She had to wait a day after dislocation took place before being operated on and spent that entire time, very tuned in to how she had to hold her ankle so it wouldn’t hurt. She was giving herself no opportunity to hurt her ankle further, by moving it in a way and not feeling the pain due to painkillers.

In England the doctors advised that she rehabilitate herself. That she take it easy and that she shouldn’t expect to be back to normal within four months if not more. Reading more about the kind of injury she suffered, she learned that many end up walking with a limp for about 9 – 12 months after the injury – and some never walk without a limp again. In some cases the swelling doesn’t go down which affects the kinds of shoes people have to wear. There are many, many stories out there about people who have had their lives ruined by an ankle injury and the limitations this kind of injury can bring.

For Lynne – the possibility of her not making a full recovery never crossed her mind. Today – two and a half months later, she is active and walking around – without a limp. She is doing yoga, swimming, cycling and going about her business as she would have if this never happened to her. There is some limitation in terms of the flexibility of her ankle which is due to the pins still being in there, but her ankle is still more flexible than many healthy ankles that pass through my yoga studio. If you didn’t now Lynne had suffered a serious ankle injury, you would never pick that up from the appearance or functioning of her ankle.

This is how she did it:

Philosophy of life and mental attitude:

Lynne firmly believes that things happen as they should and any illness, disease or injury such as hers, is a message to you. A message that tells you that something’s got to change – be that in your physical, emotional and or spiritual life. Lynne broke her ankle less than a 100metres from the maternity ward where she was born. Her operation in hospital took place right on the edge of the neighbourhood where she lived right before she immigrated to South Africa. This was significant and played a part in Lynne’s understanding of the injury. She was being stopped dead in her tracks and forced to take stock, stop, re-evaluate and re-assess. The lesson would become clearer in time and will continue to unfold with time.


Lynne was operated on, on Saturday the 2nd of November and flew back to South Africa on Thursday the 6th. She started private yoga therapy lessons with me on the 19th and continued to have two sessions a week for four weeks. We had these sessions while Lynne’s leg and ankle was still in cast. Her toes were free to move and the cast ended right below her knee. The day after we finished our sessions for the Christmas break, her cast came off.

I was nervous to work with Lynne. She seemed so adamant to get herself healed and functioning as normal again and I was worried that she would want to push her body – when her body has really given her a clear message that it wanted her to stop. I was very relieved when Lynne agreed with my proposal of gentle movement for half the session, and serious meditation and Yoga Nidra for the second half. I believed it would be good to move the body, keep the parts that haven’t been injured open and flexible and strong. In looking at the body as a whole and recognizing that all parts are connected, I wanted to improve and maintain the healthy functioning of the rest of the body, promote circulation and avoid stagnation. Looking after, nourishing and nurturing the healthy parts, would certainly influence the healing potential of the isolated injury in the ankle.

On a metaphysical level, I also recognized that the body and soul were using the ankle injury to get a message to Lynne. This message was what was most important to the healing process. If Lynne didn’t get the message or even attempt to listen – the injury simply wouldn’t heal or it would heal with other side effects to keep the message alive. I therefore thought that the healing meditation and Yoga Nidra would be the most powerful part of the healing process as it would bring Lynne to a much deeper state of awareness and to a place of ‘listening’ to her body. I also believed that through healing meditations the wisdom within her body, her body’s natural ability to heal itself, would take over and literally – the bones and damaged cells and tissue would heal quicker. Lucky for me – Lynne and I were on the same page and she was ready and willing to go on this journey.

During our very first session we recognized that stagnation, tightness and a decrease in strength had already start to set in and while it felt difficult to do basic movement and stretches, Lynne felt good getting to moving again. Perhaps the extent of the work that lay ahead became evident when she saw how difficult she found movements that previously were seen to be so basic..

The Yoga Nidra we did during that first session highlighted to Lynne that her ankle would be fine. The issue wasn’t a physical one. The ankle was just the message. The message was clear already – there was an issue with Lynne’s ability to move forward and a real need to rethink her life and where she was going. Her journey would be an emotional and spiritual one, more than a physical one.

Our physical practice was very much focused on balancing the earth element in her body – grounding, getting back to basics, feeling safe, secure and contained. Given the fact that her injury took place so close to her place of birth and early life, it seemed to make sense to balance earth. The Yoga Nidra however, highlighted to Lynne that there was ‘darkness’ around her spine – which highlights imbalances in the water element – associated with fear, being indecisive, not being able to ‘flow’ and showing a need to become still in order to acquire knowledge about the self.

Lynne and I continued our half our yoga and half hour meditation sessions over four weeks. We made adjustments to postures and used props to make it as accessible and comfortable as possible. Lynne’s body thanked her:

“Not doing anything would have driven me insane! Yoga 100% helped my body cope with spending 80% of the day lying down. I never had any body or back pain and I could feel the energy that needed to move around and be released in my body were given the opportunity to do so, through the yoga. I also thought – I can’t do anything about my situation so what’s the point in moaning – just get on with it”

Lynne’s guided meditations lead her to visit the actual injury in her body and heal it. It also took her on journeys that enlightened her about the reason for this strong message. She met her late dad as a guide in one of her meditations and was often brought back to the message of ‘going back to source’. She was confronted with the question of living an authentic life – being who she really is, doing what she truly should be doing, and living a life in line with her true values. All big questions and big issues – requiring big messages from the body apparently!

Medical Input and Lynne’s response to it

Lynne flew back to SA with her leg in an open cast and had the stitches removed and cast changed to a regular closed cast on the 18th of November. She was able to move her toes and as she knew the ankle was safe in the cast, she moved what she could move – as often as possible. She didn’t take up the advice of the doctors to use crutches, as she didn’t want to mess up her alignment and gait. She focused very consciously on keeping her foot as straight as possible.

“Most people adjust their gait to suit the injury, but then you end up with everything lopsided and out of alignment, which would explain the high incidence of limping. It just means more work to line it all up again.”

“The doctors in England didn’t recommend physio. I know of people who were told by physio to take it easy and not move too much. My theory is move as much as you can. When you feel pain, you know your limit and when to back off. However, most people live on painkillers and anti-inflammatories with an injury such as this – so they don’t know when it hurts, when to stop, when to push and what their body needs.”

Lynne saw an orthopedic surgeon at Mercantile Hospital to assess whether the cast could come off and stay off at the six week mark. This was part of the care plan devised by the doctors in England and she kept to it.

When the cast came off the doctor took x-rays to determine how well the bone had healed and said he would, on the basis of the x-ray, advise as to how long Lynne would need to wait before the foot could start bearing any weight. The X-rays revealed a completely clear and healed bone. The ankle and foot were able to safely bear weight straight away.

Straight from having cast off on the 13th of December, Lynne went to see the chiropractor. “It seemed to make sense – because of the way I have been lying with my leg up for 6 weeks, hopping to toilet, pushing self around on ‘wheelie’ chair and so on, my whole body alignment would be out. I saw Neville Dugmore and he realigned all the bones in the foot, knees, shoulders, and basically brought the entire body into alignment. He said that most people don’t think of coming to chiropractor after such an injury, when really it is an essential thing to do.”
“Energy flows through your body and it is an important part of the healing process. I therefore think it is really important to be aligned.”

“After the cast came off, I used crutches for two weeks only when I left the house, and then started moving without crutches altogether. After a week of no crutches I went to see Neville again as I was now moving around freely without crutches and he again adjusted the bones in the injured foot as well as my knees, hips and lower carriage. He also aligned my ankle joint on this visit.

Alternative input

Lynne believed that both bones and muscles needed to be realigned and put into place after the injury and time spent in ‘compromising positions’. She opted for the Bowen Technique to have all the muscles put back into place. The Bowen therapist focused on the achilles tendons, as well as the muscles in the arches of the feet and Lynne has a follow up visit scheduled. Lynne considers this, again, an essential part of healing process: “I wouldn’t even think of not doing it.”

Reflexology: Lynne had reflexology three times while her cast was still on and twice after the cast was removed. While the cast was still on, the reflexologist worked only on the toes of the injured foot, as well as the whole of the healthy foot. These sessions, while painful due toe crystallization that had occurred in organs, in Lynne’s opinion was also essential to the healing process.

“ The reflexologist worked a lot on draining the lymph which is painful too – but you’re not made of glass… so deal with it. By that stage the bone had healed so the pain couldn’t have been serious!”

Other parts of feet was better in the last visit with reflexologist, showing that the organs were clearing and working better again.

Alternative Medicine:

Lynne isn’t a big fan of conventional medicine and steered clear of anything that wasn’t natural. Her reasoning is that the chemicals in these medicines affect and slow down her organs as they are required to process these chemicals. She wanted her organs and immune system to be free and clear to deal with healing her body naturally, and basically do what it does better than medicine and chemicals do – heal itself

For Lynne a big part of the healing process was getting back into her body. After an injury or accident of this kind it is almost natural to take yourself out of your body in an attempt to cope with the pain. The long flight home was another way in which she could easily become’ disconnected’ from her body and to combat this, she took Melatonin. She went on to take liver detox capsules to rid her liver of the chemicals from the anesthetic. According to Chinese Medicine the liver rules the muscles, ligaments and tendons and so she really wanted her liver to be in top form.
She further took some Bone Knitting Drops to help the bones to heal and Natruflam, which is a natural anti-inflammatory. Her natural products all came from Nature’s Own Health Shop in Walmer.

Lastly she took Arnica – to release any remainders of shock from her body.

Lifestyle and Activities

In keeping with Lynne’s philosophy that moving around in a safe way is good she took up swimming, cycling and got back into gardening. She got in the pool the minute she got home from the chiro on the day the cast came off and found it liberating. She started off by just standing in the pool and then went on to swim breaststroke, made lots of circling movements or just jumped up and down in the water. Crawl was hard at first and she had to constantly remind herself to relax and open – as she does in yoga. The body tries to protect the injury and it is a constant exercise of awareness and letting go and opening up when the body naturally wants to tense up and close off.

Lynne was riding her bicycle two weeks after the cast came off. She just wanted more movement and it gave her a lot of freedom, which, after such a long period in a cast and at home – was also important and liberating. Her ankle didn’t move too much during the cycling, but she just saw it as another way to get more movement in her body going and giving her body healthy and well-deserved exercise.

Lynne got herself some skateboard knee pads to help her crawl around even when her ankle was still in a cast, which allowed her to not only do yoga postures on her knees, but also to crawl around her garden. Gardening is something that she loved doing before the accident, and she wasn’t about to give up all the things that she loved. Staying engaged in this calming and grounding activity was really good for her mental state – apart from bringing more movement to her body.

Lynne returned to yoga on the 13th of January, after a month break and a month during which she no longer had the cast on her ankle. The level movement, strength and flexibility in Lynn’s ankle, already was remarkable. After just two private sessions in which we stretched out the front of the ankle as well as the achilles, tested stability through standing sequences and balances and released the last little bit of tightness, Lynne was walking perfectly normal again with no limp, and she was able to join the group classes again as she needed no particular care or adjustments.
“The more yoga I do and the more active I am the more the swelling has gone down. The pins and plate in ankle is also restricting the movement so pointing and flexing is slightly more limited than other leg. However through a regular yoga practice yoga, it is always improving. “
An amazing recovery indeed.

Personal Journey and Learning

There’s been a lot of learning for Lynne through this experience and she continues to live a life of awareness, listening to what the messages from her body, soul and the universe might be. The accident stopped her dead in her tracks, encouraged her to go back to her source – who she is, what she is really about and has encouraged her to seek the life that she truly wants to live. The fact that this happened to her while in her 50’s, for her, means that she didn’t recover this well because she is so young and fit and healthy. She orchestrated and claimed her health back by being proactive, open and involved in the process both physically and spiritually.

At the moment Lynne works as a Holistic Health Analyst and is connected to Nature’s Own Health Shop in Walmer. She mainly sees people who have been unwell for years and years; those who have reached the end of the line when the medical aid is exhausted and the complexities of issues and illness that need to be resolved are severe. She would now like to liaise with Orthopedic surgeons to get in touch with people who are suffering similar injuries such as she had – and get to working with people to help them access all of the range of alternative approaches alongside the contemporary medicine route to heal themselves. She wants to use her own experience to motivate and help people. Health and wellness is not skin deep – looking at the real reason why the injury took place is vital to recovery – and vital to a good quality of life.

Don’t we all want to live a life of purpose and meaning? Do we even know or realize that when we’re not, our body is trying to communicate that to us through a myriad of ways – niggling feelings, things going wrong, physical or emotional issues, problems, illness, and all those events having you feeling you’re life is a battle. What will happen when you begin to listen and act, authentically in response to these messages? Can you afford never to find out?