Yoga instructors help people with traumatic brain injury – because they #NeverStop and #ConquerABI

Local yoga studio Hot or Not Yoga NM just wrapped up its first Love Your Brain series. It’s a free, six-week program for anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Four instructors from the studio recently traveled to Phoenix to learn some of the techniques used to teach Love Your Brain classes.

“There are different methods that they use to help us from getting dizzy and falling,” said Judy Chavez, who completed the series in September.

Chavez was shopping in a department store six years ago when the water-logged ceiling came crashing down on top of her.

“I had no idea what had happened to me,” she said. “All I know is that I was drenched with water.”

Chavez tried a regular yoga class after her injury, but couldn’t keep up.

“I couldn’t perform as the other students did,” she said. “I’d get dizzy and it was hard for me to be around other people that didn’t understand what was going on with me.”

Orlinda Martinez has been living with a TBI for about five years. She had a blood vessel malformation that caused a bleed in her brain.

“I woke up one morning and couldn’t function on my whole left side of my body,” she said.

TBIs are often invisible, and both women say they found much more than a place to work out in the Love Your Brain series.

“This was not only the experience of yoga but, you know, somewhat of a support group,” Martinez said.

“We all understood each other and it was no judgment,” added Chavez.

Chavez and Martinez plan to participate in Hot or Not’s second Love Your Brain series that starts Jan. 20. It’s free for anyone who has suffered a TBI and their caregiver, though they can’t have more than 13 people in the class due to the calmer, slower method of teaching.

Anyone interested in participating can register here by Jan.18.

“I gained some strength, you know, physical strength and I think also just emotional strength,” Martinez said.

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