TinavsTree 1yr Anniversary

This is going to sound cliché, but stick with me here. One year ago today my world was rocked when, while skiing, I hit 2 trees and was impaled by a branch in the chest. Thankfully the impalement was more of a surface wound, but the accident’s ‘scars’ run deeper than the eye can see; and the lessons learned from that day, and the events following are significantly life altering.

Listen to your intuition; it just might save your life. Seriously, had I not listened to my intuition telling me to ‘slow down’, the higher speed may have flipped me at a fatal angle. Mere inches separated a crazy story from a tragic one. Two inches north would have hit the clavicle arteries. Two inches south could have punctured a lung. Lucky Lady? I think so.

You are stronger than you think, mentally and physically. Somehow I knew that everything was going to be ok, even after I realized I was impaled. Here are my immediate thoughts following the accident: F#*@. Oww! I broke my kneecap. Oww! Where’s Dan? I have a stick in me. Shit. Patrol. Hospital? This is going to be expensive. Just breath. It’s going to be ok. Breath.

When things get overwhelmingly tough, just breath. Once I realized what had happened and knew that I needed to wait for help, I closed my eyes and focused on my breath. Ujjayi breathing (common yoga breath) took my mind off the pain, the situation and the consequences. By consciously monitoring my inhales and exhales I avoided going in to shock. The pain levels, though high, became physically and mentally tolerable.

I might be crazier than the average bear.
Doctor: We need Life Flight!
Me: Really? Are you sure?
Doctor: You have a stick in your chest!
Me: Yeah. I know that. And I’m fine.

You are surrounded by an amazingly supportive community. When friends found out about the accident, and that I did not have health insurance they banded together to start a donation website. TinavsTree.com reached across the country to friends, family and strangers alike; it raised more money than any of us imagined. The response to the site was, and still is, incredibly humbling; I will forever be grateful to everyone who donated their time, resources and money to my cause.

Dedication, perseverance and work ethic are game changers. These pertain to life in general, but these attributes definitely aided me post accident, in dealing with medical bills and recovery. Each day was treated as a new day. The motivation to persevere, jump through hoops, and do the legwork all paid off in the end.

Be thankful for what you have, and what you are able to do. It is easy to take everyday tasks for granted, until you can no longer do them. I was not completely incapacitated, but I was out of commission for a while. Rehabbing from an injury is always difficult, and it makes me thankful for the times when I am healthy and fully able. Not everyone is as lucky as I was. Less than a month ago a family friend’s 15yr old daughter hit a tree across her chest, immediately collapsed her lungs, later she died of internal injuries. RIP Hannah Rudolph.

Today I ask you to take the time to look around, be thankful, and give thanks. Hug a tree. But if you do hug a tree, make sure you approach slowly, they don’t move, and tend to bite at high speeds.


Why do we fall sir? So we might learn to pick ourselves up - Alfred from Batman


Skipping, Singing and Swinging

What do these three activities have in common? You partake in them as a child, and they typically correlate with good times.

Skipping: Lately, on my walks with my dog I've found myself engaging in the school yard activity of skipping. I dare you to go outside and skip without laughing; it's impossible. Seriously even in college when we skipped as part of our pre-sprinting dynamic warm-up it put a smile on my face. Now a days I thoroughly enjoy skipping for the sake of skipping, and I've found myself doing it more and more because it makes me happy. Typically when someone catches me skipping, either they're in shock and stare or they too smile. Word to the wise, skipping is contagious those around you just might join in and you'll all be forced to laugh and have fun.

Singing: I have always loved to sing, and do so loudly and proudly, mainly as solos performed at my house and in my car. Singing is an outlet for emotions, and words unsaid; it is a way to express yourself at your most vulnerable. Words put to music are more than just words, they are poems and stories, that convey experiences that one day the listener either will or will not relate to. These words put to music can have massive emotional ties to the goods times and the not so good times. But I could go on and on about music, I love it. I surround myself with music that portrays my current mood, and I love to sing along, even if I don't always know the words; that's what humming and whistling are for.

Swinging: I feel that this is a lost art. Honestly, other than the spontaneous late night swing sessions in college, who after junior high school gets on a swing? Today I was at the park with my dog and out of boredom with throwing the tennis ball and sheer curiosity I jumped on a swing. I was immediately smiling from ear to ear as I pumped higher and higher. It brought me back to the swing set I grew up on with my brother and sister. I anticipated the centripetal acceleration on the down side and giggled as the chains slacked then caught on the up. I seriously swung for 5 minutes and it was great!

The pure enjoyment and happiness brought by skipping, singing and swinging could quite possibly cure depression, or at least a bad day. So the next time you're feeling down go out and skip, sing or swing. It will make you smile or at the least laugh; at yourself.


Ode to the MAT

Tonight yoga reminded me that no matter what is happening in life, my mat is constant. It is a place where walls disintegrate, and I can simply be me.  The mat will always be there when I'm ready; encouraging me to find me. It's comforting to roll out, and step on to, a familiar mat. It allows the mind to quiet with an exhale and invigorates the soul with an inhale. A good mat always provides stability and support.

Ode to the yoga mat on which I've laughed, cried, sworn and sweat. At home or hotel, on mountains or in the desert, here's to you yoga mat that doesn't judge or play devils advocate; it simply is. And simply being can be the best companion.

I encourage you to roll out your mat in good times and in bad, to practice in sickness and in health and care for it to the end of its days. Namaste


Starting From Scratch

After a ski accident that involved 2 trees, 1 impaled branch, the ER, stiches, and plenty of couch time, coming back to my yoga mat felt like starting from scratch. Determined to use yoga as the main source of rehab, every minute spent on the mat was a challenge. Poses that I had thought as basic had to be modified for shoulder, chest and knee injuries. Every practice became a learning experience, rich in patience and personal acceptance. It made me appreciate the poses that I could still do or had once done with ease. Coming to the yoga mat under the physical circumstances made vinyasas more creative and thought provoking. It made little advances feel like large victories.

The advances in physical recovery encouraged the removal of the pose modifications. One day, about 5 weeks into rehab, my chest and shoulder were feeling strong; I decided to try headstand. Slowly at first, I tested my shoulder and chest in making the triangle base. The foundation felt strong so I continued into the pose. It felt so amazing to be unsupported and fully inverted again! Best of all my body felt great. To this day, and most likely forever, that headstand will stand out as one of the most memorable. A pose that I had always taken advantage of became special because I truly appreciated the time and effort leading up to physically being able to do the pose.

Rarely do we get an opportunity to start from scratch in an activity such as yoga that we've practiced for years. If you are ever gifted this opportunity, embrace it.


Listen to your Intuition, it might save your life

Intuition is a funny thing, some of us acknowledge that we have a sense called intuition, but we don't listen to it. Some don't even know it exists...others live by it.

A few months back I went to an energy worker for some body work, also to learn things about my life and personal energy. A friend mentioned that this lady was amazing, that 'she'd tell you things about your life that no one knew'; she was spot on! This lady told me so so many important things about myself! One important detail was about my intuition, I never fully listened to it. So I decided from that day on that I was going to honestly listen to whatever my intuition told me.

Shortly after that day I was skiing at Snowbird, when I got this odd feeling that I needed to slow down, accompanied by a flashback to mtn biking when I hit a tree. I decided to listen to this odd feeling and I threw in a quick speed check (as much as the tight conditions allowed for). Around the next the turn my left ski went rogue pointing me straight at some trees. I hit the first tree with my knee, it flipped my body perpendicular to the next tree where one of the branches impaled me in the left shoulder. Thankfully the branch only hit soft tissue, missing my clavicle arteries, lung, nerves, muscle, and shoulder joint.

Obviously I am still here, but had I neglected to listen to my intuition telling me to slow down, I could have been flipped at a different angle, potentially puncturing a lung or my arteries. Two inches is the difference between my life, death, and a collapsed lung...

Moral of the story? Listen to your intuition, it might be telling you some very important (life altering) information.


Injuries happen, and they happen to some more often/severely then others. None the less an injury is an injury and they have more then physical impacts on us. Thankfully in the 21st century most people are aware that sports are as mental as they are physical, therefore an injury will affect our mental state as much if not more than our physical body. And the question is how long after our physical body has healed do we harbor these mental injuries? 

Have you ever felt: anxious, hesitant, or fearful post injury when you encounter a situation similar to the one in which you got injured? Who hasn't. This is your mental body interfering with the physical, saying 'what if 'it' (injury) happens again?'. Your injury has left a mental scar that runs much deeper than the skin level. There is nothing to be ashamed of here, anyone who's experienced an injury, then gone on to do that same activity again has felt this, though maybe you weren't aware of it. Over time if you continue to be active without re-injury this mental anxiety, hesitation or fear to such situations will diminish, but like a physical scar will always be there.

Think about a time when you were injured and how you felt when you got back into action, how did it make you feel mentally? Physically? Were you able to continue with the activity, or did you stop? Have you ever put yourself in the same situation since then? If so how did it make you feel?

So get back up and do what you love to do, but sometimes it's a great idea to also be aware of what your body AND mind are telling you. When you should continue, and when you need more time to heal whether it be physically or mentally prior to getting back out there.