Yin Yoga after serious accident / multiple surgeries

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claireylane
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Yin Yoga after serious accident / multiple surgeries

Post by claireylane »

Hi there,

I am a newbie yin yoga teacher - and I have a friend who has recently (4 months ago) been in a serious accident, and has had multiple surgeries as a result of it.

Both her feet were crushed in the accident (multiple bones broken), and one foot was "degloved" entirely, as well as broken bones.

The degloved foot is the worst one - they grafted skin, tissue, nerves, veins, artery and tendons from her thigh onto the foot and ankle area. Some of the toe bones have been fused.

The other foot "just" had broken bones - they are now healed, although she has a metal plate and pins in the ankle.

She had no injuries above the ankle.

She is now back at home, using a wheelchair to get around, and is slowly learning to walk again at rehab, with the use of crutches etc.

She is doing well, but has a way to go. She has also suffered emotionally, of course.

We would like to work together using yin yoga to help in the healing process. Other than rehab, she is out of the care of doctors "on her own" as she put it. So I think we are safe to start working gently.

I just wondered if there are any guidelines about using yin yoga with this kind of serious injury / recovery? What poses would / would not be recommended? With someone in this position, how can we tell between the "good" and the "bad" pain of yin? How to know when to go to the next level?

So may questions!

Thank you :)
Claire
Bernie
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Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

Hi Claire - first, it is great that your student is taking matters into her own hands and working to regain her her health and functionality. It is nice of you to assist her, but first and foremost let’s recognize that a yoga teacher is not a doctor nor a therapist. Your student seems to feel abandoned by her primary health care team, but this doesn’t mean she has to be alone. She can and should seek out a doctor who will continue to work with her, not ignore her. You state that she is “in rehab” so it is not like she has no support. This leads me to ask, “what does her physical therapist recommend?”

She could certainly adopt and adapt a Yin Yoga practice to keep the rest of her joints working well: no need for standing exercises in Yin Yoga, so no need to stress her feet while in the yin postures. Almost all the regular Yin Yoga postures should work, with perhaps some padding for the foot when necessary. It should be okay to target the hips and spine, and upper body.

However, if you are thinking of adding some postures to directly target her injured feet, well … that is a different topic: I would be reluctant to offer any advice about that. It would depend upon what her therapists are recommending. Unless and until they give the okay, avoid postures that directly stress the feet: avoid Toe Squat, Ankle stretch and perhaps postures that work the ankles should be avoided for now, like Overstepping Dragon or regular Squats.

You asked about pain: again, if we are targeting areas not including the feet, regular advice still applies. No pain! (See my recent article Good pain/bad pain? . However, if again she is targeting her feet, pain will be natural since this area is damaged. It is up to her and her therapists to distinguish between the pain she needs to experience as she stresses and heals her feet, and the pain that is making things worse. As a yoga teacher, I would default to the old adage: “no pain, no pain!” But again, that applies to the rest of her body. When she works her feet, she will have to learn the difference between healing pain and hurting pain. Not easy, but she sounds determined to heal, and that attitude is one that you can help her foster.

Good luck!
Bernie
claireylane
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia
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Post by claireylane »

Thanks Bernie, that's really useful.

I am seeing her today and we will take it easy with poses like caterpillar, butterfly and dragonfly. She's fairly new to yin, so hopefully this are safe, comfortable poses for her, to allow her to build up some confidence and trust in me and the process.

Thanks a million!
Claire
claireylane
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:35 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Post by claireylane »

Update: We did the poses I mentioned and she LOVED it. She said she could feel her feet in a new way, she found a whole lot of energy coming from deep inside that she didn't know was there, she found a connection with her body that she had been missing without even realising it and found a great sense of relief. Woo hoo! THANKS
Bernie
Posts: 1179
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Post by Bernie »

That is great to hear! Heartening. Congratulations to both of you.
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