Vice-Chair, Pain BC
“In August of 1986 I was involved in a serious single vehicle motor vehicle accident. As the lone occupant of the car and a young and inexperienced driver, I wasn’t aware that I could fall asleep while driving but that is what happened. As a result, my car left the highway and rolled end over end down a bank. As an older model car, I was only wearing a lap belt (no shoulder restraint) and as a result of falling asleep, I had slipped down in the seat and the seat belt was across my stomach and not my hips. While I was restrained in the car, as a result of the rolling action and the belt location, I was torn through my abdominal wall, internal organs to my stomach, suffering traumatic and life threatening injuries.
This accident led to multiple abdominal surgeries in order to repair the internal injuries as well as multiple surgeries over the years for complications and pain control. My injuries and the multiple surgeries ultimately led to chronic abdominal pain and while I tried various pain control treatments, such as nerve block injections, nothing had a lasting effect. The pain had a significant impact on my quality of life, affecting my ability to be active and healthy.
In 2005, I received a neurostimulator, an implanted battery that is connected to my spinal cord that is used to help manage my pain by stimulating the cord with electrical voltage. While this has been the most effective medical procedure in helping me manage pain, I still continue to deal with and manage my pain.
Knowing that healthy movement is an important element of effective chronic pain management, late last year I started investigating yoga as a chronic pain management tool. After researching this, I learned about a seminar that Joga Ambassador, Bianca d’ Errico, had arranged for people living with pain. I contacted her, explained my situation, asking her if she would be willing to work with me. My request was met with an enthusiastic yes!
My wife, Barb, I met Bianca to discuss my limitations and what I was looking to get out of yoga. It was at this point that we learned about Joga and the personal, incredible benefits that Bianca recognized as a result of her own injuries chronic pain. Meeting with Bianca was an incredibly positive experience; she was so compassionate and understanding and was confident in her ability to work with me so that I could realize the incredible benefits of Joga without causing pain. After our first one on one session, Barb and I were hooked. Not only did we enjoy the physical benefits of Joga, we realized the mental and spiritual benefits as well. As we continue to work with Bianca, we continue to enjoy her amazingly positive attitude, her strength of spirit, and her dedication and commitment to helping others with pain. I do not feel it is an overstatement to say that working with Bianca and Joga has been transformative. Enjoying the amazing support of my wife through all of my health issues, Bianca has become an incredible and important part of our lives and we feel that we were meant to meet and work with her.
Joga has become a key element in my chronic pain management and health and I look forward to what more I can do through the incredible teachings of Bianca.
My thanks to you for developing Joga and for teaching and mentoring Bianca.”* This is Keith Meldrum’s personal story and not a representation of Pain BC.
“Having lost 172 pounds, fear of regain motivated me to seek out something different than a regular gym routine. I found Joga by accident after joining a local gym and was immediately hooked because I was determined to correct my biomechanics and erase the years of poor posture that accompanies being an obese 320-pound person. Joga has been key for me in three vital areas: weight maintenance/loss, building lean muscle mass and symmetry. Joga is really the great equalizer as I participated in classes amongst professional athletes and Olympians; all of us sweating and working on our weaknesses to become better in our lives and chosen paths. I am internally grateful for having been introduced to Joga and to Jana, and will continue to be a follower of her series as a way to celebrate my choice to live a healthier and more peaceful life.”
Dr. Cristina Caperchione
School of Health and Exercise Sciences
University of British Columbia
“I have to say that I was a bit of a skeptic when a friend of mine first suggested we try yoga. Like many I didn’t think a “stretching” class was going to be the best utilization of my time, however I quickly realized just how wrong I was. After a few yoga classes I become interested in learning more about Joga, as it really focused on an athletic style of yoga. My first class with Bianca was challenging to say the least but so much fun! It pushed me to my limits and made me realize how weak I was in certain areas, especially in areas where I suffer from injury and pain, such as my lower back. Just after a few weeks I started to notice the positive effects that Joga was having, not only was I stronger but my injuries and pain became less and less. I have tried many things over the years, and have had little result until I started coming to yoga and in particular Joga! In addition to building strength and reducing injury, Joga has also helped me with my other sports. I feel stronger and more efficient in the water, on a run or on my bike, and recovering from a hard training set is much easier these days! I highly recommend Joga for all athletes as a cross training alternative to building strength and sport specific efficiency! However, I should also state that the other great thing about Joga is that there are so many modifications, making it appealing to everyone not just athletes. Anyone could participate in a Joga class, no matter your skill or fitness level! Over the past 4 months I have seen so many people around me improve from Bianca’s Joga classes, a true testament to her endless enthusiasm and personal attention to each and every one of us. Bianca’s classes are a great way to get started as you can start with the basics and build on that. If you are an athlete or someone just starting out, I highly recommend trying one of Bianca’s Joga classes, not just for the challenge, but just for the fun of it!”
University of British Columbia Okanagan
“I was first introduced to yoga because I had heard from friends that it can help relieve pain in addition to offering mental relaxation. I used to be an athlete and have suffered a broken neck from a mountain biking incident and injuries from being hit by a car. My university degree can also be stressful so I thought yoga might be good to try. When I did, I wasn’t all that interested in it. I found some of the poses difficult and there weren’t sufficient modifications or poses for the injuries my body has incurred. As an ex-athlete it’s difficult mentally to be strong, yet unable to do simple poses. When Bianca told me about Joga, I was skeptical because of my yoga experience. She believed it would help me and explained that it is accommodating for people who are not terribly flexible, the way I was. I finally gave in and tried it. After my first class all I could think was how hard it was…and how good I felt! My body and mind responded so well to the program that I kept going. When I first started I was hardly able to do the stretches, now my range of motion has increased so much that stretches are beginning to feel restorative. My physical pain continues to lessen, I am stronger and my balance is much, much better! I have even replaced some of my gym days with Joga! I don’t lift as often, but am able to exercise the same weight with higher repetitions. Bianca’s classes have been incredible for me! They’re very challenging, but even more rewarding. She teaches in a supportive manner that makes you believe in yourself. She makes it possible to find strength within that you never knew you had. My health is much improved and I am very thankful for Joga and very importantly, Bianca’s teaching.”