Yoga Helps Heal Flight Crash Victim

Yoga Helps Heal Flight Crash Victim

“Hey bro, where you going?”
“I’m headed to Bikram yoga,”  Mike said.
“Hahaha, don’t forget your girlie pills,” I replied.
“Just go with me one time, I dare you!” Mike said.
“You’re on,” I laughed.

About a week later on May 3rd 2011, I was standing in my first yoga class. I managed to finish the first two poses before the dizziness and nausea forced me to lie down. I spent most of the class staring at the ceiling. HA! Guess I forgot my girlie pills. The challenge was definitely there and even though I didn’t do many poses, afterward I felt great. That started regular practice for me and over time as with everyone I saw improvement and felt better and better.   I became pretty consistent with my practice, some months 16 classes in 30 days. Not only does it feel incredible physically, but the stress relief is huge. Many days I go into class unable to quiet my mind and when I leave, I am thinking about how nice the weather is or when I can next walk my dog.

11/3/2013 I went to the 9 a.m. class in Oceanside, CA. I am a pilot for fun and later that afternoon flew to Catalina for lunch and crashed my plane while landing. Basically I did a cannonball off a 3 story building onto dirt.   My injuries consisted of a broken nose, an upper tibia plateau fracture, 14 stitches across my forehead and 37 stitches in my left elbow. My spine showed no breaks or fractures, but for sure that is where I was experiencing the most pain. I was unable to lay flat for 90+ days. On 11/26/2013, I received 9 screws and a plate in my right tibia.

On 3/12/2014 I limped back in to yoga class carrying one crutch. (In case I was unable to walk out.) One problem with having a leg in a cast is that you developed contracture. The inability to bend your knee because the ligaments are super tight. The heat works miracles. Back in yoga several times a week, I looked a mess trying to get into the poses and often was unsuccessful at best. Who cares? The recovery was amazing. My surgeon was astonished at the speed of my recovery. He said he planned to recommend yoga to his future patients. As for my practice, the most difficult part is any pose where I have to put weight on my right knee or bend it all the way. The ideal pose? Haha, I am at maybe 30% and that’s probably generous. Who cares!! The benefits  I receive? Wow 100%. Yoga has almost eliminated all back pain and helped me to recover 90% to 95% of the use of my right leg. Today I can complete something that resembles standing bow, almost sit up straight in fixed firm, and have just begun attempting rabbit. In English? I can do almost anything I want. Examples? I walk my dog for miles, plant and cultivate a garden, and have taken up golf. Last week I walked behind my friends in their cart. Carrying my clubs for 18 holes.

Another problem with injuries. One of the best painkillers is apple pie. Yoga is harder when I am overweight. Interesting because that alone is motivation to loose. The cleansing feeling also makes us tend to want to eat healthier. This is coming from a guy who spent his life wrapping his steaks in bacon on the grill.

In general I am a super lucky guy. Lucky to be alive, fortunate to have found yoga, and really grateful for the incredible and patient instructors in north county SD.