Maryland yoga practitioner suffers stroke after intense yoga pose


  • Due to an attempted “hollowback” handstand, an advanced type of yoga pose, a 40-year-old woman suffered a neck injury that led to a stroke.
  • Brain scans showed that doing the handstand caused a tear in the right carotid artery that has led to a stroke and an aneurysm.
  • Though the woman is 75 percent recovered from her stroke, she continues with her yoga practice while still experiencing the after-effects of her injury.

Despite being stricken with memory loss and pain, a woman from Gambrills, Maryland resumes yoga after suffering a stroke from attempting a complicated yoga pose.

While demonstrating a yoga handstand position during a filming of a tutorial for her more than 26,000 followers in October 2017, Rebecca Leigh, 40, suffered an injury.

Hours after finishing the video, she thought at first that the dizziness and weakness she started feeling was due to the herniated discs in her neck.

But when she noticed two days later that her pupils were of different sizes, she immediately went to the ER.

MRI scans revealed that Leigh had suffered a stroke. After doctors run more tests, a CTA scan showed that Leigh’s right carotid artery was torn while doing a “hollowback” handstand, an advanced yoga pose where you extend your neck, dropping your hips back and arching your lower spine while in a headstand.

The tear was found by doctors to have caused a blood clot in her brain which led to a stroke and a mild aneurysm.

In the days and weeks that followed, Leigh suffered from excruciating headaches that made light unbearable. She recalled hearing a persistent “whooshing sound” in her right ear, which is said to be the sound of blood trying to enter her brain through the arteries.

 “I couldn’t shower without help, wash my hair, feed myself, or take my medications,” she said.

Eventually, Leigh started sitting up in bed to watch TV or taking short walks outside. She went back to her practice shortly after the stroke because she said that if she didn’t, she might not have been able to go back.”

However, she continued to deal with the effects of stroke and aneurysm such as pain and memory loss, even after six months. She related that just by talking for a few minutes, her face would ache a lot. “I forget things quickly. I have to ask people to remind me of things they’ve already told me,” continued Leigh.

Nevertheless, she refuses to let the injury hold her back.

“I was about 75 percent back to where I was about a year after my stroke. The fact that I can touch my toes is enough to make me smile,” said Leigh.

Now, she wants to share her story so that other yogis would take care. “If I had read of just one incidence of something similar, I would have known that a stroke was a very real possibility when I was experiencing my symptoms.”

According to Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre, a carotid usually results from a neck injury. Its symptoms include headaches, neck or eye pain, droopy eyelid and small pupil, numbness and others.


Source: The Independent



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *