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The Splits: Jill Miller On Her Total Hip Replacement And Saying Goodbye To Certain Yoga Poses

in YD News

Yoga keeps growing and seemingly so do the yoga-related injuries. And, surprise surprise, it’s not just students who are getting the injuries—though often we as a community don’t really like to talk about such things, whether the problems come directly from yoga or were exacerbated by the chosen practice. A few weeks ago, Jill Miller, creator of Yoga Tune Up and The Roll Model underwent total hip replacement surgery to the shock of many who know her, mostly because she, and her work, have become synonymous with conscious movement. But if there’s anything we’ve learned, it’s that our bodies force us to keep learning.

Eight days after her surgery, Jill chatted with J Brown for his podcast series. Together they discussed what it was like for Jill to make the big decision, the big announcement, and how being transparent about it all was important, albeit difficult. It’s an interesting discussion and one we feel, like Jill’s recovery, is going to continue to be a learning process. You can listen to the full podcast here.

Jill has been documenting her recovery (aka #therollremodel) on her Instagram. We also encourage you to read her very candid and personal blog posts about her asana practice (you might’ve guessed she is not practicing the above pose any longer), when, where, and why it started and how she got to the point of needing a total hip replacement: part 1, part 2.

Some insight in excerpt:

When did I first feel the real pain? I binged on dessert poses every day…much like I used to binge on food when I was bulimic in my late teens. That hip “pop” was an indicator that I was damaging my hip. I was sliding the femoral head way out of range. It was during that time that I probably began a deformation process that led me where I am today. But my need to stretch and do my routine was my crutch of safety. It dulled my anxiety and acted as a bridge between my eating disorder and owning and sensing my body again. The demons I ran from inside my head told me to fold, breathe, lengthen, pause, breathe, twist, bend over, lighten up, breathe and rest.

We’re grateful to Jill for her transparency and for sharing her educational journey so that we may all learn a little something from her experience. If nothing else, we hope her honesty will remind us all to try and be honest with ourselves, with our bodies, what we ask of them and what we expect from them.

photo via yogatuneup.com, Jill Miller c. 2002

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2 comments… add one
  • I can’t believe you published this today! I am a yoga teacher and found out yesterday (to my shock) that I need a shoulder replacement. Osteoarthritis has eroded my joint to be bone on bone. Pain? Yeah, but still practicing. Hard to determine aging process from a “yoga injury”. More likely to be aging because I believe yoga has helped me maintain my strength and mobility. The surgeon gave some bad news that I should not expect more mobility than I currently have, a great reduction in pain (alleluia!), and a life time restriction on lifting or pushing more than 10 lbs.
    I expect we will be seeing more of this with yogi’s, as in the general population. Thank heavens
    we have teacher’s designing curriculums for just these limitations!

    • YD

      Hi Genevieve! Oh wow, that’s some big news to hear. So glad you are taking care of yourself and that you are on the road to less pain. Injuries are tough no matter the cause, and we are certainly lucky to have some teachers take special care in providing a safe space in which to practice. Lots of healthy healing vibes heading your way!

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