“Something that I can’t feel anywhere else”
LoveYourBrain was founded by two brothers, one of whom, Kevin Pearce, was an elite snowboarder and sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in a snowboarding crash. Kevin states the challenge of this often-invisible injury: “TBI is complex and leads to whole person challenges—physical, psychosocial and emotional—making it difficult to return to ‘normal.’” With support from his brother Adam, Kevin discovered that community and resilience were critical to not only his own recovery but to healing from TBI in general. This realization inspired them to create their foundation to help others.
Yoga is at the center of the work they do because Kevin found that the practice was uniquely important to supporting his healing:
I do feel that yoga allows me to feel something that I can’t feel anywhere else. Everything is able to become more calm and just a little bit more easy. It empowers me. It makes me feel so able and so good about myself and that allows me to accept this new person that I am.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a blow, bump, or jolt to the head is a surprisingly common injury that affects all aspects of a person. (Concussions are a kind of TBI.) As a result of many of these injuries, people spend significant time in the hospital, yet as Kevin Pearce noted, once you go home much recovery and work remain to renegotiate almost every aspect of your life. This is where yoga can be an important therapy. Similar to the story we published about managing brain cancer, limited support exists to help people manage the physical, emotional, and mental work left to be done after they are well enough to leave the hospital.
In addition to supporting people healing from TBI in the months and years after their injuries, LoveYourBrain supports research on TBIs and yoga. The evidence shows that yoga can
- improve attention skills;
- augment memory;
- enhance self-esteem;
- reduce mental fatigue and stress; and
- increase strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility.
Brain injury impacts the whole body—the physical, the emotional, and the social. The unique part about yoga is that it also focuses on the whole person. It really gives people the ability to connect with the mind, connect with the body, and connect with the spirit. And I think it’s an incredible pathway to healing.
The basic principle of mind-body therapies is that our physical health—the part of our health we can quantify and measure—is affected by the less-tangible aspects of our systems: our emotions, cognition, social connections, spirituality, behavior, and more. Health is creating and maintaining balance and integration in each aspect and for our entire system as a whole. Especially when there has been significant injury or illness, we can feel broken in many ways, not just physically. Yoga has many (thousands!) of practices that emphasize the integration of these aspects of ourselves.
To find an IAYT-certified yoga therapist who can guide you through practices to support holistic recovery, access our searchable database of professional yoga therapists.