[VIDEO] How My Injuries Healed My Mind and Soul

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I’ve learned that how I do anything is how I do everything and how I behave on my mat has a direct correlation to my life.

~ Samantha Bonano

Yoga had come in and out of my life for years, but the practice never really landed for me in a way that inspired me to continue.

It was my sister who suggested that I go with her 4 years ago. I declined her invitation multiple times because I had anchored myself in the belief that I was too high strung for yoga, that my mind would not slow down enough to enjoy it, that I was meant for more “hardcore” workouts.

I told her that I was too busy running multiple companies and traveling. I said that the time that I was home I needed to be with my kids (mom guilt for the career travel). I had a lot of excuses. When I finally caved and went to my first Baptiste class, I was hooked.

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I doubt that it was a coincidence that the universe gave me yoga, just before I would enter the most challenging time in my life. I believe that the universe gives us what we need, and yoga became my only escape for a very long time.

As I went through a trying divorce, I turned to yoga to ground me and to remind me to always choose kindness at a time when it felt impossible.

To be honest, most days, I was even angry at yoga.

Some classes, it took every part of me not to walk out of class. My determination for things like a handstand became a fight against myself, against the world. I spent most savasanas in tears, thankful that the lights were off, and everyone was too sweaty to have any idea that I had fallen apart.

My yoga journey has changed drastically over the years. My aggressive determination led to labral tears in both my hip and my shoulder.

It took me almost two years to realize that I had relied on flexibility, not strength, to get me into those curious shapes.

I had to completely change my physical practice, even remove most chaturangas. I had to focus intensely on every move, or I would be in surgery. It sounds crazy, but I am thankful for these injuries because it forced me to find a much deeper, more grounded and less competitive practice and it even led me to Mind Body Flow Yoga.

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My injuries taught me how to stay on my mat in and out of the studio. My injuries and personal struggles introduced me to a new form of power, and I began to profoundly understand the poses, especially warrior I and II.

It has taken me a long time to be with what is, to not rush, and not to wish for something different – and I am still learning, every time that I am on my mat.

Each time I’m on my mat, I learn how to move my body, how to identify what I need, and to know where my real limits versus my perceived limits are.

I’ve learned that how I do anything is how I do everything and how I behave on my mat has a direct correlation to my life.

I’m not sure what I would have done without yoga in my life during my divorce. I was headed into a dark hole very fast. I had never even taken a Tylenol in years, but I suddenly found myself needing a Xanax, just to be able to drink a cup of coffee.

I was ashamed as a person that prided myself on a holistic life, that I was secretly taking Xanex to avoid panic attacks. I had hundreds of employees that were counting on me and I was terrified that they would find out that under the tough exterior, I was a mess. I felt like a fraud.

I realized then that I also needed to change the mind and soul piece of my practice – I needed to find another way. I shared things that I would never share with strangers (at yoga). I let the yoga community into my life even when I didn’t feel like it was a community that I “belonged” in.

When Marina asked me to be the featured student for January, my heart raced, and I wanted to say no, thank you. I still want to hide the imperfections – the idea that anyone will see me as anything but “superwoman” is unnerving. It truly is a practice, but I know I have to practice all of the parts, even the raw and vulnerable ones.

I still seek peace and presence on my mat almost every time I step on it, and while I only get there now and again, I know it’s always available to me. I know that I choose how I experience my life and sometimes that can be a harsh reality check.

Yoga allows me to take time to find myself, maybe different versions each time, but always me. Yoga has brought things to my life that would not have otherwise been. It brought me to new authors, new inspiring quotes, meditation, Buddhism and a community of people so inspiring and warm that they motivate me to be better.

My kids used to ask me, why I go to yoga so often and my response was always “to be a better Mommy,” but today they don’t ask, they encourage, and even join me. My 5-year-old and I Om when he needs to ground himself. Both of my boys listen to sleep mediations before bed, we do yoga together as a family, and we are truly present with each other.

It is amazing to think that without yoga I would be raising my kids differently.

The impact of yoga in my life has been profound and I am grateful to this community and this studio for allowing it to be exactly what it is.

What is this Pose About?

*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a forearm balancing pose that stretches your hamstrings and more.

The resulting shape is a deep opening through the arms, upper back, abdominals and inner thighs. Watch Samantha enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.

Here are a few steps to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it:

  • Begin seated in Dandasana (Stick Pose), with both legs extended out in front of you.
  • Bend your right knee into your chest, then bring your right arm to the inside of your bent right leg. Take a hold of your right foot or ankle with both hands and begin to snuggle the underside of your right knee behind your right shoulder, as if you’re pulling on the strap of a backpack. Hook your right leg as firmly behind the right shoulder as you can.
  • Keeping the calf of the right leg hugging firmly behind the right shoulder, place your palms down on either side of your hips. Spread the fingers wide, keep the chest lifted and the collarbone as broad as you can.
  • Maintaining the hug of the right leg around the shoulder and the palms planted on the ground, pick up the left leg and lightly cross your left ankle over your right.
  • Begin to bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle and extend the heart forward as if you are moving into Chaturanga (elbows over wrists). Keep the legs squeezing firmly and extend them as straight as you can.
  • Note the tendency for the left shoulder to collapse here, and keep both shoulder heads lifted and level with one another. Stay here for 3-5 full breaths, then gently lift the torso, straighten the arms, and set your bottom back down on the ground to come out of the pose. Whenever you feel ready, repeat on the other side.


  • Strengthens your arms and upper back
  • Tones your abdominals and inner thighs
  • Stretches your hamstrings


Avoid this posture if you have:

  • Any wrist, elbow, or shoulder injuries

Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Eight-Angle pose if this is your first time trying it.

Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?

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