A couple months after my accident (click here if you don’t know my story) my surgeon sent me to physical therapy to learn to walk again. I had been in a wheelchair for two months and my once strong legs were in a state of severe atrophy. My ligaments and tendons in my ankle were all stretched to their capacity and extremely unstable. Couple that with the throbbing pain I was still experiencing from having all my cartilage in my ankle blown out (think bone on bone) and the sheer trauma of the injury, I had a long and uphill recovery and was very concerned I wouldn’t be able to hike again.
I endured a couple months of physical therapy which got me from the wheelchair, to crutches, and then to walking, albeit with a severe limp and lingering pain. I was so happy for the progress, but knew I needed something more, something that could not only further my healing physically, but mentally as well. No one talks about how difficult an injury like this is mentally. I was depressed, hooked on pain killers, and needing something else. Throughout my journey, I wrote a blog (see my blog here) that really helped expel some of the darkness I went through, but I was ready to move onto something that would connect my body and mind in unison healing.
So, I joined my local yoga studio, Sage Yoga. I had practiced yoga years before and remembered how amazing it felt physically and mentally. It seemed like the perfect solution- and it was. I started easy and had the most amazing teachers who helped me modify the poses that adapted to my ankle’s abilities. I started building strength and balance again and felt 1000 times better mentally. One of the most important things yoga brought back in me was my confidence. Confidence to go on my first hike again. It was short and slow and I was kind of scared but after that hike I knew I would be ok.
I directly attribute yoga to my ability to hike again. I am sure without it my recovery would have been much longer and harder and I may not have ever reconnected that part of me mentally that had also been damaged. Since then, yoga is still a big part of my life and continues to heal my body and mind. I continually torture my body with hiking- strained legs up mountains, tight hips from heavy packs, weak knees from downhill movement, and fatigued feet from miles upon miles of hiking. The one thing I have found that snaps my body back the fastest- yoga. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Some of my favorite yoga poses for post hikes are butterfly pose (hips), rag doll (lower back/Quads), pigeon (quads/hips), toes pose (plantar fascia- great if you have plantar fasciitis), dragonfly pose (hips), and any twist (multiple body parts).
So, I literally thank the universe for this every time I hike in the form of a yoga pose on my hike. It’s me honoring myself for taking care of me. So if you see me on top of a mountain in tree pose, you’ll know it’s my heart giving gratitude for the path that led me to being able to get to the top of that mountain physically and mentally and to be present in that moment to enjoy it for all that it is.