One of my best friends, and road biking buddies was hit by a car on her bike. I got the daunting news of the accident from her 17 year old son.  When asked, I was afraid to hear the sentence that would follow the question, “Is she okay?”

I was home to Boise for the weekend. We had Saturday plans to take a yoga class and go for a walk. It was unusual to be so late in the day and have my texts and voice messages unanswered. My concern was growing.  I finished the pizza I was having with my son and his dad and called my bestie. To my surprise her son answered the phone, which immediately put a knot in my belly. When I asked to speak to his mom, he said she was in the hospital and told me she was hit by a car on her bike earlier in the day. A chill went up my spine. She was hit on a road we used to bike together, often. A million thoughts went through my mind.

Luckily, the pizza place was less than a mile from the hospital and I drove there immediately. When I arrived, my friend was conscious and lying flat on her back with a plastic neck brace holding her head still. She was speaking concussion talk. Repetitive nonsense. There was not a hair out of place or a scratch on her face. Despite our concerns, she was smiling and trying to make the rest of us feel better.

Her injuries included a fractured pelvis, vertebra, and  ankle. Her shoulder was badly injured and she had a severe concussion, sprains, road rash and multiple bruises. She remained in the hospital for weeks. Her body was badly injured but the long term recovery looked long – but good.

It was hard to watch from afar. As much as I wanted to be a good friend, 550 miles is a long ways to be of much help. She shared what she wanted, and I tried not to press. She was using a walker, couldn’t drive, had daily headaches, and had to ask others for help. The accident took her off of work for months and there was a schedule full of rehab sessions. Healing requires energy and she slept and rested a lot. Self care was her focus and  she worked to keep a good natured perspective.  I imagine she cried more tears than any of us will ever know. Her whole life had to change, including work and mothering. 

Over a year later, she came to Whitefish to visit. She asked me to teach her a private yoga class. We did yoga. The kind of yoga that is the true meaning of yoga – to yoke. We connected body to mind, to breath, to intention, to emotion, to spirit, and all of the combinations in between. It was cumbersome for her to get up off of the floor. Her movements were limited because of her ankle, shoulder, and pelvis. However, she has a seasoned yoga mind. Her patience with herself and her desire to be on her mat created a beautiful experience for both of us. For the first time in a year she was doing yoga. We did meditation, easy stretches, used props and felt our way through movements that could feel good. Tears of appreciation welled in our eyes.

Unexpectedly, a memory of that practice imprinted on my core. I witnessed her journey from hospital bed to yoga mat. I realized how much we need a space to heal, maybe more than traditional therapy can provide. There was still fear in her body. She didn’t trust her movements completely, and there was pain, frustration and unwelcome limits. Our friendship allowed her to be real with me in that one on one session.  I saw a more complete picture of the desire for the mind, body, and spirit to return to health.

It solidified something  in me that I didn’t know I needed to know. One, how you feel about recovery or perceive your limits and possibilities determines everything. Attitude directs and influences the outcome. Two, there needs to be more emphasis on recovery and allowing it beyond the last day of physical therapy and beyond physical healing. Three, I wanted to use my understanding of injury and yoga and create a space to help healing at another level.

This experience is the reason I decided to offer a Yoga for Health Recovery class.

This class is dedicated to my friend Jen. In honor of her journey. Which, may I add, includes riding a bike again and going to the scene of the accident to further heal. She is a warrior in every sense of the word and conquers fears in order to live courageously and beautifully. She makes time for herself to heal because feeling good, physically and emotionally, matter to her. This woman is an inspiring soul and I am honored to have her as a close friend.


Our lives and bodies are frequently in a state of construction or reconstruction. Whether recovering from an injury, a surgery, pregnancy, an event, a stressful circumstance, overdoing it, a loss, autoimmune disease, a new or chronic health condition or simply aging- we are changing. 

Change can be demanding. Recovery takes time, energy, and is often a form of rehabilitation and self-care that we have not had to do before, which makes it even more difficult and more stressful. Without a plan, direction, a program, we are too often left to our own devises to figure it out if we want to get better – completely better – as good it as it can get better.

This 6 week yoga restorative/beginning yoga class offers a space for recovery, attention, time, and thoughtful knowledge based instruction to help you with your recovery. It is for those who are ready to feel better and move towards healthy recovery and more vitality.  It will provide a space, a direction and openings in mind, body and spirit. 

Classes are in a semi-private studio with thoughtful instruction by Dr. Erika Putnam, Chiropractic Physician, 500 RYT. She brings her experience of injury, healing, clinical care, rehabilitation and philosophy to a personalized class setting. She believes mind, body, and spirit all play a part in health and wellness. She is inspired to teach this class after sharing the recovery process with a close friend while she regained her health and happiness after a severe accident. That experience along with stories of her own patient’s health restoration opened her recognition to the impact of pain, and the physical and emotional disability that can improve given time and attention for healing.  

The Bend, 245 2nd St. W., Whitefish, MT 55937

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