I am working 10 -15 hour shifts in sea rescue on Lesvos. I am also teaching four free hot yoga classes a week. I am busy, tired, happy & healthy, but it wasn’t always that way….
I had 6 knee surgeries as a football player and was in total despair at the end of my career in 2009. After my 5th surgery and constant pain, I was in physical therapy for almost a year. Physical therapy seemed to be making matters worse, as the pain did not go away and was becoming unbearable! A friend, who was 6’5”, 310 lbs, told me to try yoga because it would heal my knee and make me healthy. I tried it. In just ONE class with the heat, I felt a significant difference in the scar tissue in my knee. I never stopped practicing, and yoga is a major part of my life to this day.
This past September on Lesvos, I started doing sea rescue for refugee boats. On the first day, I saw a boat about a quarter mile down the beach. I ran (barefoot) for the first time since 2009, when I was on the last football game of my career. I ran again to meet another boat that evening. The next day there were no repercussions or pain. Now, I am running over cliffs, rocks and mud. I am physically, mentally, and emotionally stronger than ever. This never, ever, would have been possible without my consistent 7 years of practicing yoga in Boston. They did not give me a choice. They turned up the heat and encouraged me to keep practicing. Back then, I did not know if I would ever run again.
My hard work saved my legs. In the process, I lost almost 70 lbs and improved my all around mental and physical well being. I became a yoga teacher thinking I would have to do this yoga forever in order to counteract the extreme beating I put my body through until age 36.
Now I continue to heal. My vision from six years ago, to introduce yoga to Greece for healing and well being, is becoming a reality. I am working sea rescue, and teaching free yoga.
I am busy, tired, happy, and healthy; and I expect that to continue with my yoga practice and teaching!
My love to you and all fellow teachers, students, and yoga community!
Images: refugee crisis on Lesbos
Information: US News reports on “The Growing Refugee Toll on Lesvos,” Jan. 27, 2016