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'With one door closed, another opens': Adelaide man turns to yoga, meditation after severe vision loss

  • Yoga and meditation helped an Adelaide man manage his trauma after being diagnosed with severe vision loss
  • Before his diagnosis, Oswaldo Grellet’s life in the fast lane didn’t allow him time to think
  • The United Nations has declared June 21 as International Yoga Day to promote its benefits to human physical and mental health.
Most people these days “walk a fine line” between their busy lives and the search for happiness. But what happens when, in the midst of that struggle, life hits you with a challenge that seems insurmountable?
This was the situation that Oswaldo Grillet, 48 – from Venezuela faced and is now working on doing what he loves every day of his life after developing severe visual impairment as an adult.

Mr. Grelett developed a condition known as retinal detachment in his right eye, as a result of which he lost more than 50 percent of his sight.

Oswaldo Grillet finds peace and the ability to stop his daily worries while practicing yoga.

“Obviously my diagnosis was a bit shocking,” Mr. Grellet told Spanish channel SBS, and said yoga and meditation helped him get out of his traumatic state and onto the path of hope and “the light at the end of the event.” Tunnel’.

There are several reasons why a person may develop a retinal detachment.
In Grellet’s case, he says, the trigger was severe myopia, a common vision disorder that he corrects by wearing glasses.

“Normally, surgery can resolve[retinal detachment]if I’m treated right away, but I was out of the way and it took two or three days before I could see a real specialist,” he recalls.

… in life there is always a before and after … you must learn to let go when you have to let go …

Oswaldo Grillet

Grill says he was riding a mountain bike in a remote part of New Zealand when he noticed a problem with his vision that effectively stopped him in his tracks and forced him to seek urgent medical attention.

Oswaldo en bicicleta de montaña.

Oswaldo Grillet used to enjoy mountain biking.

Mr. Grillet explained: “I started to see … a black spot that started to grow (but) … since it didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel anything, I didn’t know what it was.”

He says his condition deteriorated due to the delay in getting to the hospital, so when he finally arrived, after several days, the severity of his condition escalated.
He says he spent a year in and out of the hospital due to the four surgeries he underwent to restore part of the vision in his right eye.
Nowadays, Grellet says his eyesight is still blurred in that eye, even with glasses, so he had no other choice but to accept that his eyesight would “never return to normal.”
However, he insists, the brain has the ability to adapt to any changes.

“Without a doubt, in my life there are before and after… and you have to learn to let go… and yes, I had to stop doing the things I loved, or had to do them differently and make adjustments,” he said.

A new beginning

The most difficult period for Mr. Grellet was the first few weeks after his diagnosis.
He said he was forced to slow down dramatically and change his lifestyle immediately, as he admitted that, for years, he was separated from his body and mind, and led a busy life, full of projects and responsibilities that exhausted his attention and time.

With his partial loss of his vision, he says he has been forced to seek paths that allow him to practice introspection and in that space, he says he has discovered his priorities and ways to accept “life-changing processes.”

… Whenever something is lost, a new space is created … It is an opportunity to understand that something new and different is coming.

Oswaldo Grillet

Discovering a “scientific path”

Grellet says he is now paying more attention to his internal processes and redirecting his energy to a “scientific mystical path,” as he describes it, which draws on traditional medicine, which is crucial to preventing further deterioration in his vision, along with ancient yoga and meditation techniques that helped him Healing his body, mind and soul.
“I’m not talking about something superficial, it’s something that takes years of study to understand what life is…and by using these tools (yoga and meditation)…human is empowered to see life as it is and not as you think,” he explains.

Mr. Grillet is an experienced practitioner of yoga and meditation, he began exploring both techniques in Venezuela as a teenager and, years later, traveled to India where he lived as a monk, studied and practiced yoga, devotional music, transcendental meditation and Ayurvedic medicine.

La australiana-colombiana que abrió un sendero para mejorar la movilidad en

This wealth of knowledge facilitated his path after his diagnosis, and increased his personal awareness to help him find ways to adapt to new circumstances.

You think you’re more productive the more active you are, but it turns out you could hurt yourself because your stress levels are too high, even if you’re exercising.

He said yoga and meditation were key to helping him manage his condition, “…because retinal detachment is related to the nervous system and stress,” which can be exacerbated by stress.
He now maintains an active but healthy life, splitting his time between working as a motivational therapist, social worker and yoga teacher, composing music, playing electric guitar in a rock band and writing.
Grill insists that if done correctly, meditation is a relatively simple practice that has major benefits.
“For nearly 50 years now, science has been examining the brains of great meditators, and neuroscience is showing (what can be achieved through meditation).”

“Knowing how to meditate helps you perceive life as it is and not as your mental conditioning wants it… that’s what matters… and if you think about it and decide to consider making it a part of your life, you’ll empower yourself, and you’ll be at peace, no matter what.” about what is happening in the outside world.

world yoga day

The United Nations has declared June 21 as International Yoga Day to promote its benefits to human physical and mental health.

“During the pandemic, there has been an increasing tendency for people around the world to adopt this practice to stay healthy and rejuvenate and to combat social isolation and depression,” says the United Nations.

… Yoga has also played an important role in the psychological care and rehabilitation of patients with COVID-19 to alleviate their fears and anxiety.

The essence of yoga is to develop determination so that a person can cultivate love for himself and achieve inner peace, so that he can live in harmony with everything that is beyond his control.
Yoga can also be defined as a tool for achieving “balance not only physical or between mind and body, but also balance in the relationship between human beings and the world.”
“Yoga can be an important tool in humanity’s collective quest to promote sustainable lifestyles in harmony with the planet,” highlighted the United Nations during Yoga Day 2022, whose theme is “Yoga for Humanity.”
This story is part of the Speak My Language initiative, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. SBS Spanish is proud to share this story through its partnership with the Council of Ethnic Communities of New South Wales and all states and territories in Australia.
Hear the story of Oswaldo Grillet in Spanish by clicking on the main image.