Injured D.C. yoga teacher on his ‘lesson in attachment’
About two months ago, we highlighted a fundraiser for a yoga teacher who had been injured in an attack in Washington D.C. Michael Joel Hall and his partner were jumped on their way home one night, and Hall suffered pretty serious injuries.
We’ve heard through the grape vine that the fundraiser and other activities were so successful that Hall had money he was trying to “pay forward.” We’ve been meaning to update this story, but now the Washington Post has done it for us:
In his five years of teaching, Hall has developed a devoted student base with his not-so-serious approach to some seriously hard yoga (he specializes in Ashtanga). So it wasn’t a surprise that the local community rallied around his cause, with studios and students pitching in. No one, however, expected such an overwhelming response, or that it would bring in money and messages from around the globe.
When Hall was in the hospital, he was inundated with letters, flowers, Facebook messages and a queue of visitors carrying balloons, blankets and ice cream. And on July 31, just a few days after he was released, he was able to respond with a post on his Web site,Midcityyoga.com: “No more donations, please.”
Three things from the Post piece I want to highlight:
First off, the most important: Hall is doing much better. We wish him continued health and recuperation.
Secondly, the Post story dives into an issue that is of major importance: health care. Hall had let his health insurance lapse while he was studying in India, and as a result had to foot his medical bills. (Thus, the fundraising.) Friend of the Confluence Countdown Peg Mulqueen is quoted in the Post story: “Instructors are focused on meeting their immediate needs, because no one is getting rich teaching yoga.” I know yoga associations are working on this issue; the new health care law should improve this situation, but Hall’s story is a painful reminder of what can happen if one isn’t insured.
Finally, there is Hall’s self-described lesson in attachment:
He considers his summer ordeal a lesson in attachment. It started with his possessions in the fire, and then the teaching continued: “You like that face of yours? You don’t get that, either. Your practice, the one that’s so pretty? You don’t get that, either.”
Unable to do much other than sit, Hall decided to head to California for a 10-day silent meditation. When he arrived, he recognized that he was losing himself. “I wasn’t allowed to do anything. And I didn’t want to do anything,” Hall says. “That’s not me.” Meditating for 10 hours a day, eyes closed and legs crossed, helped him find the path forward.
Hall also says this in the story: “In Ashtanga, it’s what you struggle with that matters.”
That pretty well sums it up, right?
Final note: Hall returned to teaching at the beginning of September.
Posted by Steve