His first big day out was an event in Meridian Hill Park in early August that was originally planned as a fundraiser and turned into a celebration. “I was a good boy and didn’t do anything,” says Hall, who performed his sun salutations from a seated position along with his parents.
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.
As the weeks have gone by, the doctors have rolled back the restrictions, and Hall, who is now back among the ranks of the insured, has found his practice is gradually returning — one pose at a time. “First it was triangle because forward fold was too hard. Right now I’m doing something I couldn’t do every day,” he says.
That includes going back to teaching, which he was able to start again the first week of September. “I have so much empathy right now for students who can’t touch their toes,” he says.
Beyond his calling to the classroom, Hall is feeling a responsibility to turn his tribulations into something positive for the yoga community, which did so much to help him. “There’s no guild, union or organizing body,” says Hall, who’d like to compile an “easy peasy” guide for yoga instructors to help them organize their finances and know their options. “Make sure they don’t end up like me.”
Watching him perform thrusters with 45-pound dumbbells as part of a CrossFit workout before teaching yoga last week, it’s hard to imagine anyone wouldn’t want to end up like Hall. “He’s got such a pretty face, but he’s one of the toughest people I know,” said 30-year-old Lauren Twohig, one of his training buddies.
He’s also living proof of what he told the class later as we twisted ourselves into reverse triangle: “It’s always okay to fall. It’s how we learn to pick ourselves up.”
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Hallett edits the Fit section of Express.