Friday, March 30, 2012

Thank You for Your Service

I’ve posted almost nothing about my 200-hour yoga teacher training and how I’m now applying it in my life. It’s still a lot to process and live. I plan to sift through the journal I kept over the nine-week program and reflect and write some more about the experience. 

Meanwhile, I’d like to tell you about my day yesterday. 
Daniel Hickman, founder of Silk Road Yoga, generously welcomed me to his bi-weekly yoga class at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. 
Daniel has been teaching veterans -- wounded warriors -- their care givers and civilian staff for five years. He brings a blend of yoga, breath + mind/body work to make a significant difference in the lives of so many people. And, now me.
The hour-long class was small: two physical therapists, Michael, a 22-year-old Marine  from Tampa, Florida, his care giver, Daniel’s lovely friend and fellow yoga teacher Anna, and moi.
We warmed up the spine, all six movements. We then worked through seated and supine poses and focused on upper body strength with modified dolphin pose and upward facing dog. 
Near the end of class Daniel encouraged Michael to try a few additional poses. Before he could finish talking him through headstand, Michael rose on his own. 
What’s remarkable is that Michael is missing his left arm from the elbow down. He used a short stack of yoga blocks to steady the left side of his body. 
Michael also had to rely on core strength to pull himself into headstand, since he lost both of his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan. With Daniel’s guidance, Michael pushed himself up into scorpion. I wish you could have seen the look on his face when he came out of the pose.
I’m still awed and moved by Michael’s exhibition of sheer determination. OO-RAH, Michael, it was an honor to bear witness. 
And thanks, Daniel, for making a difference one soldier at a time.

Dites moi, SVP, how are you making a difference?

Photo: Not Michael, but fellow noble vets participating in the Wounded Warrior Foundation’s Soldier Ride in Washington, D.C., last year. 

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