Ready for a hot yoga miracle?
In my 30-plus years as a yoga teacher and practitioner, this is one of the most miraculous and heartwarming I hot yoga stories of my life, from Riverflow Yoga student Rian Hamilton.
On October 27, 2008 I was taking my last test to become a Jumpmaster at Fort Bragg, NC when I got into a horrific parachute accident.
I crushed my pelvis and was literally broken in half with my left leg jammed two inches into my back.
I laid in the hospital five days before there was a surgeon qualified enough to perform the surgery to reconstruct my pelvis.
Even then I wasn't able to escape major nerve damage which killed four muscles in my left leg, not to mention the hardware used to put me back together.
I spent a total of 2 weeks in the hospital, 2 weeks in a wheelchair, 6 months on crutches and 9 months with a cane - not to mention an un-Godly amount of narcotics and painful rehabilitation.
Nine months after my accident, doctors concluded I would never return to a condition where I would be able to run.
I could never wear body armor or carry a fighting load, nor would I ever jump out of another airplane or be deployed overseas again. The Army initiated a medical chapter to have me separated from the military.
I was destroyed. My world fell apart. I would be lying if I told you that I didn't feel sorry for myself.
In a very deep depression, in constant physical pain, I wondered what someone my age (26) was supposed to do with her life when she can't walk without a cane.
I received my Honorable Discharge this past January and took refuge at my older sister's house in Europe to try to gain perspective on life.
My sister enrolled me in yoga classes and within two weeks I started to feel better than I had felt since before my accident.
I can't tell you the physics of yoga; I don't know why it worked so well, all I know is that it did.
I returned to the states and quickly became a regular to several yoga studios in North Carolina.
The more involved with the yoga community I became the more I realized that I was not alone; I even met people with injuries similar to mine and it gave me so much hope for the future.
Before I knew it I was no longer walking with a cane.
When I moved back to NJ, I was on a mission to find that same kind of yoga community and I can't begin to tell you how disheartening it was to find that it is not as common around here as one might think. Then I found Riverflow.
I had been dying to try hot yoga and was overjoyed to find Riverflow Yoga.
When you walk into hot yoga at Riverflow, you can't believe the diversity: men and women of all ages, shapes, sizes and ability, all there with the same goal of bettering themselves.
Riverflow Yoga owner Rhonda was passionate about hot yoga and shared it with her students.
My friend Chris and I, who attend twice a week, are constantly being asked about it by our friends.
There is hardly a hot yoga session where we're not bringing someone else along who wants to reap the benefits of hot yoga, too.
I am certain that you would be hard-pressed to find a student or patron of Riverflow Yoga whose life hasn't been affected positively by attending one of Rhonda's classes.
The opportunity to be healthier and happier because what we get from Riverflow hot yoga, you absolutely cannot find in any gym, nor anywhere else for that matter.
Believe me, I've looked.
Miss Rian P. Hamilton