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Nova Scotia woman with brain injury says yoga was uplifting in recovery

Chloe Luckett holds a pose for a portrait at the Halifax Common.
Chloe Luckett holds a pose for a portrait at the Halifax Common.

The first thing Chloe Luckett remembered was being driven to the rehab centre.

A month before that, Luckett, 24, had been rushed to hospital with three brain bleeds, a broken neck in two different places and shattered cheekbones.

"I really don’t know how I turned out so normal looking," Luckett laughed during an interview on Tuesday.

The Wolfville woman was hanging out with friends on Sept. 12, 2016 when she left around 11:30 p.m. on the bike she had ridden there. As she made her way up Gottingen Street toward Citadel Hill, she was struck by a vehicle that was turning left.

Luckett was rushed to hospital and put into surgery right away. As surgeons cut her head open, it was clear she had severe brain injuries.

"It was really apparent there was something wrong with my brain," she said.

Luckett was in a coma for a week and woke up being unable to walk or speak properly. She was acting strangely, and not like herself.

She was in the infirmary for a month before being moved to rehab, which is when her memories started to come back. She would spend another month there, in a 10 by 10 room with nothing to do.

"It made recovery harder being trapped inside," Luckett added.

Luckett moved home with her parents in February, quickly becoming frustrated with not being able to do things she loved before the incident. She wanted to dive back into her active lifestyle, which had included going to the gym and exercising outdoors.

"I just couldn't do it yet, I wasn't there," she said.

Jill Delaney, a friend of hers who was a yoga teacher at Lahara studio, invited her to come to some classes. Luckett immediately fell in love with it.

"It was so uplifting, and such the reward I needed,” she said.

Luckett began going three to four times a week. Yoga helped her settle down, and allowed her to put the anxious and overwhelming feelings of the brain injury behind her.

Feeling inspired, she signed up for yoga teacher training. Luckett hopes one day she can offer yoga classes in rehab centres like the one she was recovering in. She thinks other people with brain injuries would benefit from yoga during their healing process, rather than having feelings of cabin fever and depression.

"Something needs to change, because if I felt like that I'm sure a lot of other people did too," she said.

For now, Luckett is partnering with a Halifax yoga studio for a 'Mindful May' program that will include free Lululemon classes.

"Yoga was the first thing I felt really positive about. I was like 'I can actually do this!'"

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