May Student of the Month: David Blackwell

What attracted you to yoga? Why did you start?
Last July during my 50th year on this big blue marble, during a casual Mountain Bike ride, I was tossed from my seat after hitting something. I woke up after a brief blackout, face down in the long grass, and realized I couldn’t feel my limbs. I had fractured my C-6 in my neck and caused blunt trauma to my Spinal Cord. I was fortunate that the fracture was minor and external , not internal, which might had slid and severed the cord. But, I did have residual burners and stingers in my left hand after my other limbs had returned to normal.

I was suddenly grounded for a 3 month Recovery period. I had been training for the local Blessing of the Fleet (10 mile ) road race that was only 3 weeks away. My distance was just over 8 miles a run, with a pace of 8 minutes a mile, but I was told no way! Additionally, I was a Martial Artist and I was told no Muay Thai for 3 months as well. During that recovery period, I attended a conditioning session at our dojo as an onlooker and noted some yoga positions that were being taught to my fellow martial artists. I realized I was able to do a couple of the positions at home comfortably. Then, at my Physical Therapy sessions, I mentioned Yoga to my therapist because they seemed to be in line with the exercises presented to me, and she said it would likely be of benefit to add yoga to my fitness regimen along with my other activities.

So, here I am! Feeling wonderfully flexible and healed as a Yogi, and strong and enduring as a Martial Artist, with awesome Cardio to boot. No neck pain, no nerve damage or effects, and running to commence as soon as the snow melts!

What is your favorite type or style and why?
I love the flow of Vinyasa. It is clearly in line with my active lifestyle.

What is your favorite yoga pose and why?
Absolutely Chaturanga; it’s the pose of challenge to myself. I love the feeling of increased self-awareness through increased strength.

What other activities do you enjoy?
Writing; I’m a professional technical writer (and I write sci-fi and fantasy creatively and enjoy composing travel reviews). My wife and I love to travel (I also enjoy picking up phrases and learning foreign languages).

An inspiring book or movie you recommend?
I enjoy Biographies and watching Sports Movies. I can shed a tear during “the catch” in Field of Dreams, the home run sequence for the championship in The Natural, or when a triumphant Rocky bellows for his wife, “Adrian!”

Favorite food?
This is like asking, which child do I like best? I love to eat. And, I love to eat good food with red wine.

Favorite place to be and why?
Anywhere that is not my desk at work.

What keeps you doing yoga?
The potential of what I can become and what I can accomplish with more practice.

Any advice to beginners?
Make yourself the promise to attend as many classes as you can when you start, and then continue. As with anything, major gaps between affect the body and spirit.

What do you like most about All That Matters?
The people (Staff, Teachers, and Students).

Any other words of wisdom?
Don’t let anything or anyone deter you from your goals or dreams. “No” is not a definitive end, it’s the reason to accept the challenge.