As soon as word got out last week that 29-year-old Michael Joel Hall — founder of Mid City Yoga and a sought-after instructor across D.C. — had been attacked on his way home, just about everyone went to the mat for him.
“We needed to do something,” says yoga instructor Peg Mulqueen, who knew her friend was in trouble. His apartment had recently burned down, and because he had no renters insurance, he’d lost almost everything.
Hall and his boyfriend were reportedly headed to their new place in Eckington when a bunch of guys bashed in the right side of Hall’s face. (Police are investigating.) The subsequent surgery and recovery would be difficult for anyone, but Hall doesn’t have health insurance to cover his bills. And there’s no medical leave for yoga instructors — you don’t teach, you don’t get paid. So those doctor’s orders to stay in bed for a few weeks are extra painful.
No one wants Hall to suffer any further. Mulqueen and Mike Graglia, another friend and yoga instructor, fired off emails to Lululemon and the city’s biggest yoga studios to coordinate a fundraiser, which is set for Sunday (see below). “People were looking to help,” she says. “Everyone was in, and they kept adding on individual stuff.”
“[Donations have] come in from friends, and also from strangers,” pal Ashley Houghton says. “Anonymous hatred has led to very public support.”
Hall has been overwhelmed by the response, says Mulqueen, who plans to help him send a thank you note to everyone who’s reached out. For now, however, Hall is focused on resting up and getting back to his mat. “He’s home chanting and practicing his yoga, just not the physical asana,” Mulqueen says.
Join 12 yoga teachers — including a special guest — at Meridian Hill Park on Sunday at 5 p.m. for 108 sun salutations in honor of Michael Joel Hall. Attendees are asked to donate $25 online (no funds will be collected on-site).