In 1982 when biathlon athlete Kimberly Fowler set out to complete the Bud Light Race Series in Farmer’s Branch, Texas, the last thing she expected was an accident. But as Fowler neared the race finish, she was hit by a car that was trying to cut through the course. After a difficult recovery from the accident, during a class at South Texas College of Law, Fowler suffered a seizure that landed her in the hospital once again in 1983. After rounds of tests, her doctor discovered something much more severe than bruises and broken bones as he had the previous year: he found a brain tumor. He told her she didn’t have much time left. To Fowler, dying was not an option. She overcame her battle with cancer and became a competitive triathlete, founded YAS
Fitness studios and created the DVD series “Yoga for Athletes.” Here the YogaBear member shares her story.
Q: What crossed your mind as the accident was happening?
I woke up in the hospital and the first thing out of my mouth was, "Where is my bike?"
Q: What gave you the idea to take up yoga as a way of healing?
My physical therapist at the time was an Iyengar Yoga instructor, so she showed me yoga poses I could do at home to help rehab my shoulder.
Q: If you could do it all over again, would you have started that biathlon?
Of course, I have no regrets. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. I might never have gotten into yoga without that accident. And the breath work in yoga helped save my life when I had the climbing accident in 2000. I was free climbing at Mount Charleston, Las Vegas, hit a patch of ice & fell about 20 feet. Landed on a stump-basically impaled myself, my ribs broke off and went thru my internal organs. It took 6 months to recover, after which I started YAS. I had been thru the brain tumor at that point so I knew "This too shall pass". I truly believe "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".
Q: How has this experience changed you?
I've had a lot of trials and tribulations in my life, but they have all taught me something or lead me in a certain direction.
Q: What advice would you give to someone experiencing the beginning stages of healing?
Listen to your body. I think a lot of us give too much power to our doctors. If I’d listened to my doctors, who told me I had 6 months to live when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I would be dead right now. My tagline "I'm not your guru, you are" is very close to my heart. I think we each need to trust our instincts—you know what's best for you!