Valérie Daigle : a spark of résilience

How we react when faced with adversity often reveals our intrinsic strength. Valérie Daigle is an extraordinary example of this. This is about an encounter with a young woman who has managed to blossom despite a twist of fate.

Just barely 24, Valérie Daigle is one of those people who can’t be sidelined by bad luck. Having left at 18 to live her dream on the snowy slopes of BC, her life was derailed in a heartbeat at the beginning of her third season in Western Canada. She had trained hard all summer, but took a fall when back on the slopes.

The impact was so violent that it compressed the young boarder’s spinal cord; at the time, she was also a Whistler Blackcomb snowboarding instructor. A powder hound who loved free riding and moguls, Valérie dreamed of establishing snowboard moguls competitions.

“I trained seriously to reach a professional level,” says Valérie Daigle. “I was performing really well in the bumps and I would have liked to take this sport to another level, but I didn’t have the time. The universe had another path planned for me,” she notes, smiling.

Transported to hospital by helicopter, Valérie had emergency surgery. The operation was to decompress the T12 vertebra crushed in the fall. She realized then that she had almost completely lost the use of her legs.

“I was overwhelmed with emotion, but I considered myself truly lucky. I still had a small spark, a tiny connection with my toes; as a result, I had a chance to rebuild myself,” Valérie recounts. “The doctors told me I’d never walk again. But I was 20, and it was out of the question that I accept that.”

The process

Long months of re-education awaited the young woman, who had decided to give her all to succeed. The courage and perseverance of her companions in misfortune inspired her and strengthened her determination.

“Re-education is a bit like life,” Valérie remarks. “You learn non-stop and always face new challenges. I think I’m lucky to have learned so young to take care of myself. It’s a blessing. Those close to me helped enormously. I have a lot of friends and an amazing family. That’s hugely important, because I was isolated for a really long time.”

Yoga a determining factor in a spectacular recovery 

Unsurprisingly, Valérie, who teaches yoga at the Complexe aquatique Mont-Tremblant and at the Boréal Yoga studio, states categorically that this age-old practice was an enormous help in getting to use her legs again.

A crucial encounter sealed her destiny forever when her path crossed that of the woman who would become her yoga teacher: Tina Pashumati James.

“Yoga really helped me,” she admits. “I found my teacher in Vancouver, and she launched me on the path to recovery in a most magnificent way. Tina had already been there. She had crushed a cervical vertebra at the age of 20 and her whole body was paralyzed.

Yoga saved her, thanks to techniques of reactivation of the nervous system, of reinforcement and of purification. It’s a whole, which permits better coherence between the body, mind and spirit so that they work together to achieve the optimum.

That’s what helped me on a daily basis. I am so grateful to have found Tina and to have been able to learn her techniques.”

To perfect her knowledge, Valérie spent three months in India last winter to do 400 hours of courses in yoga therapy and ashtanga. She’ll return this winter to deepen her knowledge of this altruistic aspect of the practice.

“I’m 24 years old and I feel more awakened, more stimulated than ever before. From my perspective, yoga must – before all else – be therapeutic, and I invite anyone who needs it to contact me to discuss their personal challenges and, perhaps, to receive in turn the help they need,” she concludes.

 

Guillaume Vincent277 Posts

Rédacteur et journaliste de profession, Guillaume Vincent a fait ses armes au sein de l’agence QMI. Il s’est joint au Tremblant Express en 2014. Promu en 2017, il y assume depuis le rôle de rédacteur en chef et directeur de la publication. / A writer and photojournalist by profession, Guillaume Vincent won his stripes in the QMI agency. He joined Tremblant Express in 2014. Promoted in 2017, he has been editor-in-chief and co-publisher since then.

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