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This Olympic Diver Experienced Chronic Pain—Until He Found Yoga

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“I was a pain as soon as I was born,” jokes diver Leon Taylor. He refused to sleep, wouldn’t play together with his toys, and was all the time climbing on the furnishings, demanding fixed attention and interplay. His mother and father found that bodily motion was one of the simplest ways to put on him out, in order that they received their diapered ball of vitality concerned in swimming.

Swimming developed to diving, and by age 11, Taylor was one of the best diver in his age group within the United Kingdom. By the time he was 26, he was a three-time Olympian, competing within the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Games. He and his diving associate Peter Waterfield received silver medals in Athens in 2004.

But understanding at this elite degree took its toll on Taylor’s body: By 2008, he had undergone 4 reconstructive shoulder surgical procedures and was tormented by continual lower-back ache. His medical staff was involved that he wouldn’t have the ability to stroll correctly by the point he reached his 40s. They beneficial he cease training and abandon his desires of one other Olympic competitors. His docs and physiotherapists additionally prompt he strive yoga to assist alleviate his continual ache signs.

See additionally: How Breathing & Meditation Help Relieve Chronic Pain

After six months of normal Bikram Yoga observe, Taylor was lastly pain-free. He additionally discovered his impatience, hyperactivity, and obsessive-compulsive athletic drive had been tempered.

“I made a decision then that I would always practice yoga,” he says. “I just know that if I had discovered this years before, it would have made such a difference to the quality of life during my time as an athlete, and especially during the times of challenge.”

Inspired, he traveled to Arizona in 2009 to study extra about yoga—each the bodily observe and the religious philosophies. In 2010, he registered for a teacher-training program in Morocco led by Allie Hill, founding father of U.Okay.-based studio Yogahaven. They finally grew to become a pair and welcomed their first little one in June 2020.

Throughout the pandemic, Taylor has been mentoring younger athletes within the England Talent Diving Pathway program and educating the following era of divers on the advantages of yoga observe for rivals.

“It fills me with such joy to be able to share what I’ve learned over the past decade or so with younger athletes,” he says.

See extra:

How Yoga Helps This Olympic Fencer Feel in Sync

Olympian Cortney Jordan Truitt on the Connection Between Swimming & Yoga

How Yoga Helped This Athlete Make Peace With Her Body—And Her Mind

Yoga Fine-Tuned This Olympic Swimmer’s Out-of-Water Routine

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