Rosanna Robertson is a yoga teacher from Sydney with a story like no other.
In 2007, she was living with her partner in Newtown, Sydney. She had been teaching yoga for several years, and was running the corporate yoga for the local TAFE college.
Although her job was great, her home life was toxic. Her partner, who suffered from schizophrenia, was abusing her, and she was stuck in a cycle of domestic violence.
‘He was quite nasty to me, he beat me sometimes, but I really believed I could help him,’ she says.
‘One day he showed me a gun and I grabbed my son and we went to my mother’s. But I really didn’t believe he would ever use it, so I went home the next morning, and my partner and I went out to dinner that night.
‘When we finished eating we stood up to leave and he sort of grabbed the back of my shirt and steered me out. We went around the corner into a lane and he shot me point blank in the back of the head, and left me there.’
Rosie remained conscious for 2 hours in the alleyway. She realised that she was hidden behind cars where she would never be found, and so had to crawl ‘commando style’ toward the road where she knew she would be seen.
‘I can remember I had the sensation that my brain was starting to shut down, so I had to use all my effort to breathe and remain focused. When I was finally discovered by a security guard, he thought I was drunk, because there was no blood. ’
She spent 10 days in a drug induced coma, 1 month in intensive care, 3 months in hospital, and 6 months in rehab.
‘I’ve never been angry at him. In fact in a strange way when it happened I was a little bit relieved because I knew otherwise I was never going to give up on him.’
While her partner was given an 11 year jail sentence, Rosie has been left with a life-long brain injury that affects movement and speech. She must walk with a metal walking frame, and while her vocabulary is normal, her speech is sometimes slow or slurred. Her mind, however, is as sharp as ever, and her sense of good humour in tact.
Perhaps that is why Rosie has bounced back, and is once again teaching yoga.
‘Yoga is my passion. Even when I was unable to move, lying in bed in hospital, I would do the poses in my head,’ she says. ‘As soon as I could I did some yoga classes in rehab.
Rosie is teaching yoga to intellectually and physically challenged people in Ballina through FSG. She is also offering classes to people with a disability or injury at the Anglican Church Lennox Head, but insists anyone is welcome to join them.
She cannot drive, and must use a walking frame to get around, but Rosie catches the bus everywhere.
‘I like to be really independent,’ she says.