Redemption: One Warrior Pose At A Time.

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Recently, I went to a yoga class at “Yoga To The People” they have locations in a couple states and the concept is anyone can go your fitness level or financial status won’t stop you.  As a result many of the classes are donation based but if you want the premium classes i.e. hot yoga you have to show them the money or have a seat (in your chair pose… at home). So I slapped down my $5 and did hot yoga. It was good! It was my 1st “official” time doing hot yoga.  In the past I would use my yoga dvd and heat my room with a space heater… (don’t judge me it works!) but there is something about a “professional” that does the trick. I put professional in quotes not to say the instructor wasn’t a professional but he wasn’t what I expected.

For starters he didn’t have the body of yogini. I was accustomed to long lean muscles but “Tommy” had a build more of a tattooed bodybuilder. A little taken aback, I was one of the last people to enter before the class started but I couldn’t help but ask if this was his class.  He answered in his New Yawker with a hint of Italian accent “Yea, this is my class.” We get our pleasantries out of the way and I take my place. After an hour of sweating, stretching, and prayer hands we are finally at my favorite part “final rest” I have a habit of falling asleep during this time but “Tommy” was guiding us AKA talking a lot.  Since I couldn’t sleep I might as well pay attention. He went on to say yoga changed his life.

He went in enough detail about his former life to let you know he wasn’t the one to mess with but he left out any true incriminating evidence.  I am assuming the statue of limitations aren’t up on some of his previous activities, fair enough.  He mentioned he was a part of an organization that his role was to hurt certain people and he has paid his debt to society…hmm.  I didn’t react but I wondered how did he get here? A man who’s job was “thug for hire” is now a yoga teacher a good one at that because I felt the burn.  So after class I approach him thanking him for the class and sharing his story.  He told me he started yoga because a woman he was dating introduced him to it.  His yoga teacher encouraged him to take training to become an instructor because he had a talent.  He figured he would become a better student but he never intended to teach.  He wanted to hide from his past and mentioned how he enjoyed the anonymity of the classes but when he became a frequent visitor more people were drawn to him.  Rightfully so, “Tommy” doesn’t look like the poster child for yoga.  He was amazed at the workout he received but something else happened,  the more he did it the more he got deeper into the mediation.  It forced him to really look at himself and change what he didn’t like.  It changed his thinking shedding the layers of his former self.  He loved it.

Now he also travels the country to teach yoga and share his “journey” with others.  He truly stepped into his light even when he thought he could hide.  Under a year his whole life changed.  I am glad I took the time to speak to him his thoughts were refreshing and genuine. Namaste.

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