Brainwash is a nonprofit organization providing guidance through yoga for patients who suffered traumatic brain injuries and/or have any physical or learning disability. Our organization wants to help both patients and their families to regain their physical and emotional abilities.

Luisa Fernanda Kim, is a former traumatic brain injury (TBI) patient, who created Brainwash to assist  other TBI patients and those who have any type of disability.She also wants to promote resilience and instill in people the importance of loving oneself first, emotionally and physically, so we can love others. The following letter is a summary of the experiences the president/founder have had during her rehabilitation.

In 2005, my life was “normal”: I was taking English As a Second Language (ESL) classes at Miami Dade College, working at Victoria’s secret, and hanging out with family and friends. Then on December 22nd of 2005, my life changed completely. On my way home from work at 1:00 am, my car was violently rear-ended, slamming my head into the wheel. A helicopter raced me to the hospital, and, though I was in a coma for a month, they saved my life.
I have no memory of the day of the accident, but I remember dreaming in the coma. When I awoke, I could not walk or talk. Although the doctors told my mom I was going to survive, no one knew if or how I might progress. Regardless of the uncertainty, I decided to keep going no matter what. Rehabilitation lasted a month; it consisted of physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapy (with a little music therapy thrown in weekly for good measure).

Leaving the hospital was scary because I felt safe there. Even though I could not walk and talk back, I used to write – messily because of my lack of coordination – but that never stopped my flood of words. When I got home, I kept doing physical therapy as an outpatient and worked on my own with the help of an excellent physical therapist assistant, who became a good friend. Four months later, I retook my ESL classes, finished them, and pursued my dream of being a physical therapist. I took all the prerequisites to go to physical therapist assistant school but sadly could not finish because of the mental and physical wear. Undaunted, I transferred to the University of Miami and devoted myself to helping others. It was a difficult transition. Academically, the University of Miami was wonderful, but socially it was trying. Unable to drive, I lived on campus and got the college experience, meeting many smart, caring, loving, and respectful people along the way. Happily, I graduated in May 2014.

My first experience with yoga was in 2006, one month after I got back from the hospital. It was very challenging, but it really caught my attention because is a very mindful and spiritual practice, and no religion is involved in the practice. I fell in love with yoga, regardless of the numerous physical challenges I had. However, I kept pushing and pushing, and as many teachers say, “one day, maybe not today, maybe tomorrow, you’ll be able to do more than you can do now.” I still have that on mind and that is my motivation to keep going. In 2016, I became a register yoga teacher, thanks to my master and friend, my first yoga teacher, David Yglesias. He has, besides my mom, the most beautiful soul. He is very patient and kind and an excellent yoga teacher. Currently, I’m doing a Master of Social Work at Florida International University, with the hope of helping more communities through the mindful, spiritual and physical benefits of yoga.

Luisa Fernanda Kim

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