To add insult to his injuries, Hall had let his health-care coverage lapse while studying in India this year. So he was faced with covering the ambulance, emergency room, reconstructive surgery and everything else out of pocket. Couple that with not being able to work, and Hall found himself in a rather uncomfortable position.
“I asked the doctor if maybe we didn’t need to do the surgery,” says Hall, who was told that not doing it would leave him with a sunken eye. “All I could think about was how much it was going to cost.”
The yoga community was thinking about that, too. “Instructors are focused on meeting their immediate needs, because no one is getting rich teaching yoga,” says Peg Mulqueen, a friend and fellow yogi who helped organize a fundraising drive for Hall.
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, Midcity yoga : “No more donations, please.”
Hall feels uncomfortable publicizing the exact number, but his bills have topped out in the tens of thousands — the two titanium plates in his face were $7,000 each. Every cent has been covered. “I can’t imagine we’ll need any more,” he says. “It’s unreal. I don’t know how to say thank you. You do good work because it’s good work. I didn’t deserve all of this.”
Even with his finances covered, Hall has had a price to pay through the recovery process. His identity is wrapped up in the idea of being strong, flexible and physical. So the doctor’s orders to limit himself to one phone book’s worth of weight seemed almost cruel. “I wasn’t allowed to strain, or have my head lower than my arm. Child’s pose was off-limits,” says Hall, who couldn’t get too wet or too dry to minimize scarring, and had to stay out of the sun so the scars he did have didn’t turn pink.