Brittany Johnson suffers from chronic pain, which leaves her partially wheelchair-bound. She has found yoga to have helped her through her deal with her pain. (Special to The News)

Brittany Johnson suffers from chronic pain, which leaves her partially wheelchair-bound. She has found yoga to have helped her through her deal with her pain. (Special to The News)

Disabled Maple Ridge woman participating in a competition for the Yoga Warrior title

Hoping for community support and votes to help her win $10,000 and a magazine cover

A Maple Ridge woman suffering from chronic pain leading to disability, is participating in a competition to be titled a Yoga Warrior.

Brittany Johnson, who lives in Silver Valley, Maple Ridge, is participating in the competition to win $10,000 and a two-page advertorial in the popular Yoga Journal magazine.

Her journey to finding yoga hasn’t been easy.

Johnson, who grew up in Surrey/Cloverdale, moved to UK for a few years before moving to Maple Ridge. For years now, she has been suffering from several conditions that leave her in chronic pain, unable to work, and bound to a wheelchair part-time.

She has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which is a rare connective tissue disorder causing hypermobility, digestive issues, joint dislocations, severe chronic pain; Fibromyalgia that causes brain fog, chronic pain, headaches, nerve pain/burning, and Endometriosis, where endometrial tissue grows in places of the body where it shouldn’t. She also suffers from insomnia, anxiety, cluster migraines, painful bladder symptom and has undergone hysterectomy at the age of 29 years.

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“Chronic pain caused by these conditions is the most challenging and life altering aspect of living with my disability as the pain makes day to day tasks difficult or even impossible. I have a very strict self care routine. Having constant pain impedes memory and concentration and makes living a quality life and not just existing a real test of will,” she said.

She didn’t initially take to yoga. She tried more than a dozen studios in her early to mid-twenties but none of those worked for her.

“After losing my career and having a hysterectomy that left me grieving, in more pain than ever and feeling like there was very little left I could do I thought I’d give yoga one more shot. I’m glad I did,” she said. “My local studio’s owner ended up helping save my life by showing me that yoga can serve all bodies. With her guidance and encouragement I am now a therapeutic yoga instructor on a journey to become a yoga therapist.”

Johnson feels that while yoga might not be a cure-all, the community, connection and sense of purpose that it brings has the potential to completely change life’s trajectory.

“Yoga helps give my physical body and mind strength, helps greatly with interception, pain care, anxiety and offers me the ability to focus on something positive,” she said.

Recently she found out that she will be losing her healthcare benefits, and is hoping that by winning this competition, she will have some funds to care for her health plus to help her in her journey to becoming a yoga therapist.

The competition opens on March 15 and the community will be able to vote for her every day, by visiting:

“For me to be successful it will take the community’s support by voting for free daily. I’m hoping they see the value in someone with a disability/minority group winning such a large competition. It will help bring visibility to the need for diversity in yoga spaces and maybe inspire others to put themselves out there, push boundaries and help support one another,” she said.

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