Every 11 seconds, someone experiences a traumatic brain injury affecting their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce sustained a TBI while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Meditation, pranayama, and yoga became integral in his healing and essential practices for his brother Adam, Kevin’s primary caretaker. Kevin and Adam co-founded LoveYourBrain to help others affected by brain injuries. As stated on their website, LoveYourBrain is on a mission to improve the quality of life of people affected by traumatic brain injury through programs that build community and foster resilience.
March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and we feel honored to have participated in LoveYourBrain’s #mindfulmarch fundraising initiative by hosting a donation-based class. This beautiful class, Merging of the Heart and the Mind, was taught by Marc Holzman. Marc specially curated this class in honor of Kevin Pearce and his family. This beautiful class includes meditation, pranayama, mantra, asana, and live music by Kevin Paris. We invite you to take the class and donate directly to LoveYourBrain. We also encourage you to sign up for their 31-day MindfulMarch Meditation Challenge.
Below is a brief Q&A with Kevin and Adam:
How did you get introduced to yoga & meditation? How did you feel after your first class?
I was lucky enough to find myself in the perfect place with the perfect friend who asked if I wanted to join in a yoga flow. It was with a great teacher, and I was in the perfect place in my mind and body to try yoga. After that class, I was hooked. It did something to me where it really clicked perfectly at that moment.
I was introduced to meditation mostly through my father. I would always hear him tell me he was going to meditate or go be still, but I never really knew what that meant or how to do it. I became curious, so I asked my father about meditation, and he gave me some pointers. When I first started, I used meditation apps to guide me. After that, I attended TM classes, which are super special, and I continue to feel better after each and every practice.
How has yoga & meditation helped in your healing and recovery process? In what other ways has it affected you and/or changed you?
First and foremost, it has allowed me to slow down. I have always moved so fast through life. I always felt like I needed to do more and be more. Yoga and meditation have really allowed me to be ok with not doing that so much. It has really helped in allowing me to live a more present life. I love when I’m really able to find that special calm, quietness where everything just becomes easy. It has allowed me to feel so much more relaxed, less worried, less irritable. So much good and nothing bad has come from it.
What inspiring words would you like to share with anyone reading this that may be suffering from the effects of a TBI?
How has yoga and meditation benefited you as a caretaker, brother, friend?
We grew up ringing a Tibetan singing bell before each family meal. This was my first introduction to meditation which we used to facilitate meditation, relaxation, and awareness of the present moment. Through this simple action of striking the bell, it has helped me cultivate greater mindfulness and a deeper connection with myself and those around me.
What has your experience of being a caretaker taught you about your self-care?
To me, TBI means, Turn Boldly Inward. Meditation has given me the perspective to look inward and live in the present. After Kevin’s accident, I thought Kevin was the one that needed to change, but as I started to develop my meditation and yoga practice, I learned that it was me that needed to change.
What inspiring words would you like to share with any caretakers reading this post?
Inspiring greater peace, acceptance, and happiness for people affected by brain injury is a big part of what we do. We’ve learned that meditation is one powerful way to help transform chaos into inner calm and frustration into joy. Like anything, it takes practice and openness to truly see the benefits. Be balanced, be happy.