My name is Eileen Garney, and I am very excited to be presenting Yoga for All at the upcoming Amputee Coalition National Conference. I became a below the knee amputee three years ago. In 1998, I was in a caving accident where I fell fifty feet and shattered my ankle. After twenty years and multiple fusions, my surgeon told me it was time to consider amputation.
The beginning of my journey as an amputee was difficult. I struggled with the decision, because my surgeon could not guarantee that the amputation would alleviate my pain. I lost my job shortly after telling my employer about my upcoming amputation. I struggled with feelings of fear, anxiety, and hopelessness both before and after my amputation.
A few months after my surgery, I decided to try a mindfulness app. I had always been skeptical of mindfulness (even as a mental health professional!) However, it turned out that having to lay on my couch was the perfect opportunity to begin practicing. Mindfulness became instrumental in helping me adjust to life as an amputee. One of the most major areas in which I found it useful was in allowing myself more time to do things. I moved into practicing Yoga for the first time in my life. Not only did Yoga improve my emotional health and stress management, but it also helped me physically with my balance, flexibility, and strength. I have found that Yoga is an incredible tool for improving one’s quality of life-ESPECIALLY for us amputees who face a unique set of circumstances. Anyone can begin practicing Yoga and incorporating into their lives-whether it be 10 minutes in the morning, a computer break, or an evening stretching routine.
Choosing amputation was an amazing, life-altering decision. To go from spending years of working to function in debilitating pain to being pain free profoundly changed me as a person. Yoga has been invaluable along my journey. Through the help of the wonderful Challenged Athletes Foundation, I was awarded a grant which I used to become a 200-hour certified Yoga Teacher.
Please join me on August 11 from 10:45-11:45 for my Yoga for All session. I am looking forward to discussing how incorporating Yoga can improve the quality of your life. We’ll practice a few Yoga poses as well! 🧘♀️I cannot wait to meet everyone! 😊