My twisted path to yoga

I guess in some ways it all began when we moved to Asia


At the end of 2009 by partner had finished his Ph.D. and I was a successful artist in the Isles of Scillies,


We had just got engaged and we were deciding on between two jobs he had been offered a research university choices between Singapore or France, being an artist the idea of going to France seemed more appealing, sadly at the same time I hadjust been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, and was told that I had to reduce the amount of painting I was doing.


So Singapore became more appealing and as we have never lived in Asia, and we thought it would be a great experience. We also had my partner’s good friend from university getting married and he invited us stay with him and his wife to be, the contract was only six months so it seemed a perfect choice 😉


For my partner and his career moving to Singapore was an amazing opportunity, and was asked to stay longer to carry on his research work, it would have been ashamed to have moved back when things were just beginning.


For me however my carpal tunnel syndrome got worse, as even though I had to stop painting due to the high humidity making my hands swell up and causing my conditioning to worsen, at the time we were thinking to just wait till we when back to the UK to have the operation, but seeing as we didn’t know when we would return we decided to do the operation here in Singapore.


Ironically a simple operation which in theory should have cure my condition, was the beginning of a nightmare, the operation was more complicated as my couple tunnel was quite extreme, and unfortunately the surgeon didn’t complete the operation correctly causing more tissue damage to put pressure on might already damaged nerves, after a year of waiting for my hand to improve also going through intense physio, and repeatedly been told by doctors that the operation was done correctly and that we just had to give it time.


My partner knew something was wrong. We flew back to UK and got private help, from the moment we saw the consultantthey confirmed that this was not right and within half an hour we had a nerves conduction tests done.


The test confirm the nerve were blocked across the couple tunnel syndrome and the next morning I was booked in for an operation, as this was a bit more complicated the operation took longer as there was a lot of tissue damage to remove as well as  properly releasing the couple tunnel.


As soon as I woke I straightway felt the operation was successful, after six months of intense physio I had begun to regain the use of my hand but was weak from not using it for a year and half, but  needed a further six months to regain strength, exactly a year after the operation on my right-hand, I had regained my confidence in doctors  and went ahead with my left hand, and was told that my left-hand would probably recover fully and quicker than my right-hand as it was not being re-operated on, and yes  they were right, I now know how unfortunate I was and how my life would have been very different if the first operation was done correctly.



10/2009 diagnose a couple tunnel,

01/ 2010 moved to Singapore

06/2010 decided to stay in Singapore

11/2010 operation in Singapore on right hand

11/2011 Re-operation in UK on right hand

11/2012 operation in UK on left hand

03/2013 full use of both hands.


During these 3 1/2 years it was tough and quite a challenge as every think I did with my hands had to be slow with indescribable pain, I know I have a high pain tolerance and probably would not of survive if I wasn’t able to switch off on the pain, but emotionally I think it was more tough being away from friends and family, in a completely different culture and the added complications of the climate (high humidity) with my condition. I definitely felt I was being put through a test.


Unknowingly I believe that this was the time that I started on my road to yoga, the visual scars on my hands  were not the scars I needed to heal.


Ironically you need to become so imbalanced with yourself, to want to find a way to reclaim your center and regain your balance, and with the journey of discovery within yourself, perhaps you become a stronger being then you were before.

From having a physical problem I first decided to tackle my nutrition, as I wanted to find a way to give my body all the nutrients it needed to repair and found myself reading lots of books about nutrition, I then wanted to find a way to let go of the past and live in the present and found a book which taught through how the mind works the title of the book is “the untethered soul” By Michael A. Singer and it very much tries to give you an appreciation of how to release yourself from the past, these past events that somehow prevent you from truly living in the present and can cause you to fear the future, it was in this book which mentioned about meditation, and how yoga was not just about the physical side but combined with the mind, with the use of meditation.


He even hints at how yoga can be an Enlightenment and how yoga can bring your body mind within balance together. This book is not about yoga, but it definitely introduced me to yoga. It was after reading this book I decided I wanted to know more, with my partner support I sign up to a teaching training yoga course.


And here I am right in the middle of the course, I still have not mastered the meditation And to be honest I feel quite lost, as I didn’t realise not only how physically demanding it would be combined with the theoretical side, the yoga master teachers deftly don’t leave any stone unturned, by making us appreciate the way our bodies move we are taught indepth into the skeletal and muscle understanding right through to the nerve, digestive and heart systems in our body, with all of this gives you a real in-depth understanding of the scientific and biological aspects combined with the physical practice as well as the theoretical side of yoga.


I definitely feel quite lucky and privileged to be able to be taking this course and even though I do feel quite lost somehow I think it will all come together, with the hope I can become a yoga teacher allowing me to help others find a way to balance themselves within this modern-day life. Wish me luck 😉


Erika Nicolle, 200hrs YTTC Weekday Nov 2013