Gentle yoga class is helping Nashvillians with traumatic brain injuries

Posted at 10:33 AM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 11:36:22-05

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WTVF) — If headstands and hot temperatures come to mind when you think about yoga -- think again. A class in Brentwood is helping people with traumatic brain injuries.

Epic Yoga is teaching people with TBIs about mindfulness, breathing and building a community.

"I was amazed that we could make a difference in this little yoga program," said Leanne Woehlke, owner of Epic Yoga.

Epic Yoga is an affiliate of the Love Your Brain Foundation. The foundation advocates for brain health. It was started by the family of snowboarder Kevin Pearce who suffered a near fatal TBI while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"To be in a room with other people that make me feel like my brokenness is okay and it's going to be okay is perfect," said Annette Montes. Montes recently had a tumor removed from her optical nerve and is focused on regaining her balance. "This class is amazing, and it's healing," she said.

Dineen Cottrell was hit by a drugged driver three years ago.

"I'm trying here," Cottrell said. "I have adopted that saying where I just blanket everything with 'I'm trying' because it's accurate and it's appropriate."

Other students agree that the instructors have adapted yoga to their needs.

"Not everyone is capable of doing everything at the same pace they can, but they are willing to try to keep the pace of the class at the pace that everybody can keep up with them," said Greg Crabtree.

According to the Love Your Brain Foundation, more than 2.5 million TBIs happen every year. Falls, car crashes and sports injuries are some of the most common causes.

This is the third time Epic Yoga has offered the free six-week course.