50: Stronger After Surgery: Community Conversations with Alice Blunden

At some point all of us will experience an injury, perhaps significant enough to disrupt our work or lifestyle. There’s no doubt the process of being injured and healing can bring up challenges—pain, limitations on our independence and enjoyment of life, feelings of loneliness and the need to assign blame—but there’s also potential for us to emerge on the other side stronger and wiser.

This week’s guest, Alice Blunden, talks host Rachel through her experience of that process, and what she has learned from its ups and downs. Alice is a Yoga Medicine therapeutic specialist and primary school teacher based in London, and has undergone two major hip surgeries to combat long-standing pain stemming from undiagnosed hip dysplasia.

In this episode, Alice shares the personalized practice of joint stability, myofascial release and pranayama (which she has dubbed “physiyoga”) she relies on to prolong the life of her hips and manage pain. She also talks about the how lonely the healing process can be, and which themes she explored in meditation and journaling when physical practice was not possible.

Listen to this episode to learn about the transformative power of curiosity, why studying anatomy can helping us understand our experience of injury and surgery, and the role acceptance can play in our recovery.

“If you really become curious about it, from my experience, that helped so much.” – Alice Blunden


“Find someone to speak to about it… because it’s a very lonely experience when you’re living in pain.” – Alice Blunden

Show Notes:

  • Experiences with pain and injury are not immediately visible from the outside [3:37]
  • Alice’s “clicky hips” [4:51]
  • Defining hip dysplasia [9:00]
  • Reducing hip dysplasia symptoms with improved muscular stability [12:14]
  • The journey to surgical intervention [17:08]
  • Healing from total hip replacement and PAO (periacetabular osteotomy) [19:45]
  • Lessons learned from a previous back injury [25:43]
  • “Physiyoga”: learning about and supporting our own anatomy [28:01]
  • How curiosity can transform the experience of persistent pain [31:33]
  • Pain can be lonely; the importance of supportive relationships when living with pain [33:28]
  • Finding opportunities to escape from pain, including service to others [37:22]
  • Helpful themes for meditation while injured and healing [40:48]
  • The power of patience and self-compassion [43:17]
  • Comparison as the thief of joy and mini-goals to counter that tendency [46:49]
  • Gratitude puts everything into perspective [50:13]
  • Final thoughts: nothing lasts forever and there are positive actions you can take [52:58]
  • Alice’s upcoming classes on Yoga Medicine Online [54:16]

Links Mentioned:

Instagram | Alice Louise Yoga | Yoga Medicine Online Guest Teacher

“Working on self-compassion was fundamental, too.” – Alice Blunden

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