"You know when I first came out from the hospital, I couldn't even lift my little mug of tea off the ground. So I think it's patience, perseverance. You also have to have, I suppose, a little bit of belief that you will get it back. You have to have the motivation to get back on your mat. You just need to do a little bit every day. And it's amazing how much of a mental lift it as well as being physically helpful for your rehabilitation." - Kevin Brackley.
Because of where the fracture was, they couldn't put a cast on it. They just put me in a sling which was trying to force the two halves together. The fracture started to improve, it got about 10% joined, but then it stopped healing and they couldn't work out why. And then they, at this point, they decided that I was gonna have to have surgery. There was no way of avoiding it.
The first one, they took a graft, a bone graft from the top of my pelvis to actually fill in the gap between the two bones. And the second surgery was a big metal plate with some screwed-- five huge screws that actually join the whole thing together which forced two bits of bone together. Along with that they had to unattach the muscles. I've got them back. I could feel it at that time, I had like that little rope plugs that you put in a rope to put a picture frame of it. I had three of those screwed in the bone that had a little loop on it. And from those that they actually then sewed the muscles back to the humerous. So I was in a sling like this. I wasn't allowed to move outwards because I would've snapped the work they've done.
I wasn't allowed to move. I was having weekly physio therapy. And it was keeping in touch with the community as much as anything that was the encouragement to actually keep. Believe that yoga and my practice would at some point come back. But Louise Newton was actually brilliant. She let me come to the shala. She just said "Do what you can. I'll help you with what you can."
"Do what you can. I'll help you with what you can." - Louise Newton
I think with Louise's help I've got back most of my primary series. But I still lacked the strength. And the main thing I lacked, really lacked, was range of motion. So this point I went back to the surgeon. And he said, "Well the option really is to take the metalwork out." And I went back to the shala. First time I went back. I got some plaster. I actually just put a cover on it. Just a big long plaster to keep it covered up.
Urdwha Dhanurasana was a bit of a problem. I'd completely lost the strength in my arm. The other thing I didn't appreciate how much I lost, was the stamina. And I had to learn to actually use my energy more wisely. Relearn almost every posture I had to think about almost every posture before I did it. So gradually I put the practice back together and Louise would help me with the postures I couldn't do. But it was the stamina. Louise got my postures back but my body took months and months, really, to get that level of stamina back. And on those days when I thought I've never get my practice back, or I've never be able to move my arm, it was the motivation of the practice that kept me going.
Back to the magic...
So, here we are. You know, it's February 2015. I'm back in Mysore. I'm practicing with Saraswathi this time which has been absolutely fantastic. She's 74 years old but she got this amazing energy of how she gets around the shala and adjust people and helps people. And after all that's gone before, it's fantastic to be here. I never thought I'd come back. There is such a thing as Mysore magic. People talk about that. But I think it exists.
You just need to do a little bit everyday...
You know when I first came out from the hospital, I couldn't even lift my little mug of tea off the ground. So I think it's patience, perseverance. You also have to have, I suppose, a little bit of belief that you will get it back. You have to have the motivation to get back on your mat. You just need to do a little bit every day. And it's amazing how much of a mental lift it as well as being physically helpful for your rehabilitation.
You know, I'm 50, it's not like I am young and came to the practice on my 20's. I've worked for everything I've done with this practice. I've worked damn hard to learn to do back bends. Back bends were my nemesis. But now even with a dodgy shoulder I can do Urdhva Dhanurasana, I can walk with my hands in. I can just about stand up again even if I do look like a giraffe sometimes, with my legs get all over the place I've come up.
Keep trying. Try everyday. You'd be amazed how much one day improves, the next day improves. And suddenly you can do something that seem miles away. And suddenly it will do that and you can do it.
Just have the belief that you'll get back the way you were.
Kevin Brackley lives in London England and practices at Ashtanga Yoga London. He also has a blog where you can learn more about his recovery and Kevin here
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