Yoga is for every body and can vastly improve someone's quality of life. This is true for even after life-altering injuries or body changes, as my work with Rhonda demonstrates.
I first met Rhonda, an open-minded and resilient 79-year old, three months after she had her right leg amputated due to diabetic complications. In the weeks after her operation, her days were filled with specialist appointments and rehabilitation. While intense at first, her rehab ultimately slowed as she had fewer and fewer sessions. As a consequence, she was ultimately forced to move out of her home, where she lived independently, and was placed in a retirement home as she learned to live with her new body. Although Rhonda’s benefits were running out, she still had work to do to adapt to her new body.
Rhonda’s daughter, Sherry, attended my corporate yoga classes regularly. One day, after a particularly calming meditation, she stayed after class to chat. She was convinced her mother would benefit mentally and physically from yoga with me, and put us in contact.
I knocked on her retirement home room door one morning. After discussing her goals and challenges, we got to work. As Rhonda sat in her wheelchair, I guided her through some breathing exercises, neck movements, shoulder movements, and spinal movements. Thanks to some hard work with a physiotherapist, Rhonda was able to stand with the help of a walker, so she stood and we continued our practice. I guided her through modified chair pose, working on her knee flexion. She was exhausted. I helped her into her bed for a few hip and low back postures and ultimately to prepare for a satisfying savasana, a deep final relaxation pose. Our first session was an absolute success!
Rhonda did her first yoga class at 79, and couldn’t wait for the next one!
Rhonda and I worked together for a year. At the start of our sessions I saw her regain mobility in her upper body - she was able to put on her vest more comfortably. With the help of some experts, she learned how to use her prosthetic leg and we then explored some more standing and balancing yoga postures as well as postures to deal with the pain the prosthetic caused in her hip (basic prosthetic legs can be heavy). Perhaps most exciting, was learning how to roll over on her abdomen, unassisted, to practice back strengthening yoga postures. Her yoga practice was reinforcing the work she did with her specialists and kept her feeling great as the physiotherapy appointments grew more scarce. She was able to stand taller, roll over in her bed at nighttime, get out of bed, go up and down stairs, and happily move back into her home! All while maintaining a positive outlook on life. This was a great recovery, and Rhonda’s daughter was immensely pleased and proud of her mother’s progress.
For Rhonda, personalized one-on-one yoga classes weren’t a luxury.
Our sessions were a crucial part of her rehabilitation, complementing the work of her health care practitioners and accelerating her healing. If Rhonda, who is missing a leg and could barely stand, can practice and benefit from yoga, you can too.
Rhonda didn’t wait until she was feeling better for yoga, she let me show her how yoga could make her feel better and help her NOW. Let me show you too how yoga can help compliment your current treatment regimes and improve the quality of your life.