Our wonderful Share Your Story featured yogi for the month of December is Sarah Brandle of Simi Valley, California. Sarah is a 200hr yoga certified teacher who is currently working towards her 500hr with Yoga Medicine. In 2010, Sarah encountered a fluke accident with her sister’s horse that left her with a broken cheekbone and eye socket. While recovering, Sarah turned to restorative yoga to help move her body and heal the physical trauma. What she didn’t expect to feel was an emotional shift that lead her to become a teacher. Now Sarah teaches yoga primarily to Senior citizens in her area and loves being able to help others discover their bodies and inner potential. Read more about Sarah’s story below and share yours with us!
A Space to Heal
In January of 2010, I was in an accident. Not a car accident but an accident with a horse. We were walking together and he spooked. I was scared so I held the lead tighter trying to control him. My mistake! In the end, he kicked my face breaking my cheekbone and eye socket (shattering the zygomatic bone). My face and eye were fixed with plastic surgery but my ego was still shattered. This kick to the face turned my life upside down.
I was very active before the injury, running swimming, the occasional sprint triathlon etc. Since I was bedridden for about a month due to the damage to my eye, I was craving some sort of physical activity. Thumbing through a local newspaper I saw there was a yoga studio down the street. I had tried yoga before at the gym, seemed boring. But maybe boring would be perfect after a month of no activity. I decided to give it a try.
From the moment I walked in the door, I felt at home. The first class I took was a restorative class. It was delicious. I immediately felt something inside me start to heal and also a shift in my heart. I began attending every day that I was off work recovering. Then once I went back to work I still made time to go after work. I started healing physically and was able to get back to my normal rigorous exercise. But yoga was what I craved.
Yoga & Mental Health
The mental and emotional shift I was experiencing from my practice was profound. Always a perfectionist and workaholic I found my self-relaxing. Previously, years ago I had taken anti-depressants and the injury to my face and changes caused by it made the depression creep back up. But… this time I had yoga. I used it as my anti-depressant and it worked! I started meditating and practicing harder asana also and didn’t have to take medication to control the anxiety and depression. As I told my husband, meditation is my medication!
The love of yoga helped me heal my body and my mind. I personally feel the mental healing I had to do was harder than the physical. Without the mental healing, I could not have healed as fast physically. The impact this had on me was profound. It changed my life!
I knew that I had to start sharing this with others. In 2011, I became a 200 RYT teacher and I am now working on my 500hr education with Tiffany Cruikshank and Yoga Medicine. I see downhearted and physically injured people come to my classes. After a class, you can see the lightness in their body and in their smile. Through personal attention and knowledge of anatomy, we as teachers facilitate self-healing in our students. Students (like me) become aware of their bodies, learn to move them efficiently and give space for themselves and their bodies to recover.