A young woman in Maryland loved practicing yoga. However, one day, she pushed her body further than she ever had before, and it turned out to be a horrible mistake. Because she pushed herself beyond her ability in the yoga handstand pose, she tore an artery, which resulted in a stroke. As the stroke damaged her brain, she has suffered severe memory loss as well as consistent headaches.

Although she got severely injured during the yoga practice, she does not blame yoga for her injury. Instead, she still pursues the meditative practice on a regular basis.


“After decades of focusing on working out and my diet and making as many healthy decisions as I could for my body, having a stroke by doing yoga just didn’t seem fair,” 40-year-old Rebecca Leigh told SWNS.

The incident occurred back in October 2017. Leigh was performing a handstand when things went wrong. She was filming her attempt of the “hollowback handstand” to show her social media followers, but things went wrong, and she suddenly started experiencing blurry vision. She then lost control of her arm and had to come out of the pose.

“It only lasted five minutes, but then my head began to hurt,” she said. “

She first thought that she’d performed the pose out of alignment and she had bothered a herniated disc in her spine.

“I suffered from headaches and migraines since I was a teenager, but I knew this was different.”

And her gut instinct was correct. This was much worse than she could have predicted.


Over the following days, things got progressively worse. Her eyelids started to droop. Then her pupils changed sizes. Her husband did not like what he was seeing, so he rushed her to the hospital.

“the doctor on staff came into the little room we were waiting in and said in a monotone voice, ‘Well, you my dear, had a stroke.’”

Leigh could not believe it. She laughed.

“Kevin and I both let out a little laugh because we thought he had to be kidding. There was no way that someone my age, in my health, could have had a stroke. But he responded to our laughter in a solemn silence, and his face said it all.”

Because Leigh pushed her body into an unsafe zone, she caused massive damage to her brain.

She underwent a CT angiography scan to get a closer look at her blood vessels. It was clear upon this examination that Leigh had torn her right carotid artery. This sent a blood clot to her brain causing the stroke.


After the doctor prescribed her medication to prevent another stroke, Leigh spent weeks in pain. She also had to avoid light because of the headaches.

However, she pushed through the pain and made her way back to her yoga mat when she was feeling better.

“I knew that if I didn’t get back to my practice relatively soon after my stroke, I never would. I would have freaked myself out too much about it.”

Leigh is back to practicing yoga, but she is much more careful now.