Yoga After Reconstructive Surgery – Featured Yogi

This month’s Share Your Story featured yogi is Yoga Medicine’s own Operations Manager, Tami Apland from Portland, OR. In her story about yoga after reconstructive surgery, Tami discusses the impact yoga has had on her life.  Tami began her yoga practice after a severe dance injury to her ankle prohibited her from physical activity. After reconstructive surgery and physical therapy, Tami turned to yoga in hopes that it would help her deal with the subsequent pain and depression she was facing as a teenager. Read Tami’s full story below and follow her on Instagram.

Headshot of Tami Apland

Yoga After Reconstructive Surgery

Yoga was initially nothing more than a means to move my body after no longer being able to dance due to an injury. When I was 14, I tore ligaments and tendons in my ankle on a trampoline that resulted in reconstructive surgery and subsequently, physical therapy. In addition to the normal angst that comes with being a teenaged girl, I also felt betrayed by my body and just angry in general. I didn’t do my physical therapy exercises at home and pretty quickly found myself dealing with a painful, sensitive and wickedly stiff ankle that I couldn’t do a whole lot with. Even the way my socks rubbed it was painful and irritating. With dance no longer an option, and me not being particularly athletic or social enough to get involved in sports, I decided to buy a yoga DVD. As a young girl who was brand new to the practice, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life.

13 years ago in Virginia, yoga wasn’t mainstream like it is now. I wasn’t motivated or influenced by fancy poses I saw on magazine covers or social media. My intention was simple and pure. I just wanted to be able to move my body again in a way that felt natural and good. Since I didn’t come to the practice looking to heal my ankle, its progress wasn’t something I was monitoring. I did, however, start noticing that it was getting better, little by little. Once I noticed the progress, I started doing things to focus more specifically on my healing. Eventually, after lots of practice and patience, the pain and stiffness that once ruled my life had been completely eradicated. To this day, so many years later, I am 100% free limitation in my ankle.

A Fix for More than Just my Ankle

Over the years, I have used yoga as medicine in many different ways. I have used it to cope with depression and heartbreak. It has strengthened weak muscles and lengthened tight ones, creating balance in my body. I have used meditation and pranayama to taper my anxiety and stress-levels, creating balance in my mind. I have also used yoga as a way to test and push my physical boundaries. This, in turn, has built mental strength and instilled a genuine sense of confidence in me. While this particular story is about how yoga helped me recover post-surgery, it has truly created a shift in all areas of my life. Yoga is without a doubt, my medicine.

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