Where would I be without yoga?
"Yoga brought me back to life, for that I'm eternally grateful.
I learnt to never give up and have patience when I needed it most.
I now want to make sure that all who need it can have access to it on their terms."
— Jessica Gracie, CEO of Yogassential
WHERE WOULD I BE WITHOUT YOGA?

It's a question I ponder sometimes. I imagine the answer is probably still limping and suffering the after effects of a shattered ankle. It was during my yoga practice I started to see signs of improvement and light at the end of the tunnel.

This experience inspired my sister and I to start on a journey to bring yoga to all who could benefit on a personal level. I credit yoga to giving me a renewed sense of life and belief at a time when I needed it most and want to make sure others are able to have that same opportunity.
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

As you can probably tell in the picture, my ankle's been through quite a bit.

A year ago on August 19th I fell from my horse at a showjumping competition and shattered it on impact.

The immediate diagnosis was poor; doctors didn't expect me to back on a horse for at least a year if ever and that I may always have a limp. As a very active person this was a depressing diagnosis to say the least.

Fast forward to 3 months later and the cast was off and my ankle had changed, it seemed beyond recognition. I could no longer tell it to move, every step caused me pain and my previous active life seemed far beyond my grasp

REDISCOVERING WHAT WAS LEFT

Before yoga the only way I knew how to destress or relax was by going horseriding. It's a sport that requires an incredible amount of focus as horses can be unpredictable, you have to be ready for anything, always. Hence, you naturally find you can't afford to think about much else and everything drops away but you and the horse.

Before my accident I had rediscovered my love of yoga through a local private teacher, Tabitha. Previously I'd always been put off when I attended classes and found them difficult to follow and relate to. However, for me a private lesson was ideal to highlight the areas I needed to work on as well as providing tips for my own practice.

Picking up yoga again after my accident was tough. Whilst my right (uninjured) leg was incredibly strong now and able to balance, my left was weak, stiff and limiting. I struggled with frustration at my inability to do the easiest of things - even child's pose seemed a challenge as my ankle was unable to bend underneath.
THANKFUL FOR YOGA

I grumbled though my first few sessions complaining "I can't do it" and "it's not going to work" then, slowly, we definitely started to see improvements. That pose I couldn't even attempt before started to become reachable. That feeling of an unstable joint started to lessen as the ligaments tightened and the ankle strengthened.

Yoga pushed me to places I didn't always want to go yet I kept pushing through the pain to gain some semblance of my previous ability. Eventually the pain abated and I started to love my practice again. Given horse-riding was still not wise I clung onto my regular yoga practice to keep me limber and centred.

Within 4 months, January 2017 my ankle had recovered enough that I felt ready to get back on the horse.

HOW DOES YOGA FIT INTO MY LIFE NOW

I'm fortunate enough to able to say yoga is a part of what I do. Even so, the reality of being CEO of a busy, young startup is time is a precious commodity and it's easy to put off 'me time'. However, I make sure that I allocate that time in the evening to laying out my mat and giving that time to me and my body.

My experience has taught me that I should treat it well and be very grateful for its service. I'm amazed at continued progress of my injured ankle most days. Given it's now titanium it still holds up to long dog walks, horse-riding and yoga almost like before.

Despite being told this would be a life-changing injury. Thanks to yoga I actually think this could be a life-change for the better.