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Yoga Causes Stroke In Overzealous Yogi…How Far Is Too Far?

in YD News

The latest headline: Woman suffers massive stroke thanks to yoga

Don’t all freak out at once. The headline is, well, a bit much, but this is worth a read. Strokes are no joke, and knowing symptoms/signs is extremely important and potentially life-saving. That said, extreme poses are no joke, either. Please take care of yourself. It feels like this shouldn’t have to be said, but yoga doesn’t need to be an extreme sport. (Saying it again for the folks on IG…yoga doesn’t need to be an extreme sport.)

Rebecca Leigh is, for all intents and purposes, an Instagram yoga star. It’s clear by her feed that she profits, or intends to profit, by being an influencer. That should not take away from the fact that she had a stroke doing a yoga pose, but it should certainly be part of the larger conversation. How far do we need to go for likes and approval? Or, without knowing her full intentions, how far do we need to go to push past our “edge”?

We blame capitalism. It’s just never enough. Or maybe that’s too simple.

Via DevonLive:

“Rebecca Leigh, 40, was performing a yogic headstand when she tore a major blood vessel in her neck.

Just two hours before the life-altering injury she had filmed an advanced sequence in a pink bikini for her 26,000 social media fans.

Today the exercise obsessive cannot speak for more than a few minutes, suffers headaches daily and has severe memory loss.

But just one month after the devastating episode, Rebecca was back on her mat and still practices the ancient exercise for an hour every day.”

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“I glanced out the window at the first signs of spring. The sky was almost blue, the trees were almost budding and the sun was almost bright.”🌞 Welcome to day 4 of #herecomesthesunyogis! Today is plank pose and I’m getting a little funky with mine! I am loving our gallery so far guys!!!! Please be sure to check in with my lovely cohosts to see their variations on today’s pose! 🌞 my beautiful outfit and mat are by our wonderful sponsors, @onzie and @gocleveryoga . Your Hosts: @yogaromina @rebeccahleigh @rosariamazzon @mrs_khaleesi_gaither @themuscleboundyogi . Our Generous Sponsors: @onzie @zenpolitan @infinitystrap @gocleveryoga @insideoutsideoutsidein . . To be eligible for a prize: ➡️ Repost the flyer & tag a few friends to join. ➡️ Follow all hosts and sponsors. ➡️ Post every day using our hashtag #HereComesTheSunYogis so we can find you! ➡️ Show each other love and support! ✳️ It would be helpful to show what country you live in, as some prizes cannot ship to every country – if we know where you are, your chances of winning are GREATLY increased! . ☀️ Pose line up for those who like to plan ahead ☀️ 💛1. Mountain 🌞2. Chair 💛3. Forward Fold 🌞4. Plank 5. Updog 6. Downdog 7. Warrior 8. Yogis Choice . #plank

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111 comments… add one
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  • Swami Dave

    “the ancient exercise” ???

    Handstand an ancient exercise? They wore robes. Think about it. What happens to robes when a person turns upsidedown.

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  • I’ve always been wary about headstands. In saying that, I am a big fan of listening to your body and what feels right – not pushing yourself too much, and not doing too much yang when you’re stressed etc

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  • I don’t think that her being an influencer matters as much as the fact that she’d had been previously diagnosed with herniated discs in her neck and she still chose to practice this inversion.


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  • Carlos

    So per the sourced linked article it was NOT headstand that caused this woman’s stroke.
    The original writer didn’t know the difference from “Hollowback/ backbended Handstand” is not even close to the same pose. SMH. Now you got this whole thread afraid of headstands.

    She said: “I was on my front porch practicing a pretty intense type of yoga handstand called a ‘hollowback’ handstand.
    “This pose requires you to extend your neck, drop your hips back and arch your lower spine all while in a headstand.
    “I felt that I had really nailed it but as I walked inside my house, my peripheral vision went out and the rest of my vision became blurry.
    “It was like a curtain coming down all around me.


  • Carlos

    “After all the blood work, ultrasounds, MRIs and CT scans, it was finally a CTA scan that explained it,” she said.
    While doing handstands Rebecca had torn her right carotid artery, one of the four arteries that supplies blood to the brain.
    The tear sent a blood clot to her brain which caused the stroke and the trauma of the tear in the wall of the artery also caused a small aneurysm, a bulge in the vessel, to develop.”

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  • I have a great deal of sympathy for anyone who has to survive a stroke, and people who suffer strokes tend to be walking timebombs ( meaning that the condition existed in their blood vessels). You could replace yoga with “jog”, “hike”, “bike” – anything that would cause exertion.

    I feel the need, however, to address something else disturbing about the article.

    “Just two hours before the life-altering injury she had filmed an advanced sequence in a pink bikini”

    I find this far more problematic. She isn’t the first person on social media to use yoga and bikinis to get clicks. Yoga for me is not just bending and stretching, its a spiritual practice. Taking the practice and making it a sexually titillating money venture is just in bad taste. And I’m afraid its just going to get worse. Very difficult topic as no one wants to sound like a prude or shame others, but at some point this type of behavior needs to be called out.

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