This is a part of the Hot Topic podcast series from the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center on Exercise After Burn Injury. Joy Greene, Burn Survivor, discusses Getting Back to Yoga Class.

Joy Greene

Sustained a Burn Injury in 2011

When I decided to go back into exercise, especially yoga, I had to think about what it was gonna be like for me. I didn't sweat like I used to. Burn patients, we don't handle heat anymore. We don't regulate. Our sweat glands are completely different. And I thought to myself, I'm not gonna be able to wear long pants. I'm not gonna be able to wear the exercise clothes I wore before. I'm gonna I have to wear shorts, loose shorts, and everyone's gonna see what I look like.

And I wasn't sure if I was gonna be able to do that. I wanted to feel good, but I didn't want people staring at me and making me feel more insecure than I was feeling. Insecurity was something I never had before my accident, and now, it was something I totally understood, what it was like to be fearful of exercising in front of people, especially people I didn't know. But I decided to do it.

And I got very cute shorts. I was the only one in shorts at yoga, and I noticed that, and I felt more different than ever. And I didn't want to feel that way. I wanted to belong, kind of be lost in the crowd, but that wasn't going to happen. And I felt that first time, doing yoga, I knew all the good things about it.

I knew that it didn't help you only physically. It helped you spiritually, mentally. I thought it would help with my brain injury. It would help with my broken bones, my muscles, my burns, everything, internally organ damage I went through. But how was I gonna do it? How was I gonna get through an hour class? I didn't know how it was gonna happen in these shorts that no one else was wearing. And I was scared, and I didn't do too well in the beginning.

And I gave up many times. I decided not to go back. But then I would try it again. And every time I gave up, I felt defeated. It was like, you survived the worst thing in your life. You can survive this class. But I didn't know how to do it. But I kept trying. And yoga reminded me that it wasn't how incredible my dancer pose was. It was that I was there, and I was breathing and doing that powerful ocean breath.

And I was holding poses I never thought I could ever do again. And it was calming my mind and bringing peace to a brain that had been so shattered and a body that had been ravished. And I started to understand the magic of yoga, and I'm still learning about it today.

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