Arthur was a 47-year former paratrooper. Repeated jumps off aeroplanes and hard landings resulted in knee injuries. Arthur retired early. He gained huge amount of weight, felt depressed. Eventually, he was given knee braces and canes in both hands to support his weight while he walked around. Doctors told him that he would never be able to walk again normally! For fifteen years, Arthur had believed them. So he would not even try.
One day, Arthur chanced upon yoga training videos by Diamond Dallas, a former WWF wrestler with tattoos and an awesome, inspiring personality! Diamond was the first teacher who empathized with Arthur, had faith in him and motivated him. Slowly, as the video shows, Arthur was transformed, as magic unfolds itself :)
A memorable quote by Arthur:
“Just because I can't do it today, does not mean that I'm not going to be able to do it some day.”
Alexander Medin Gangster Yoga (TEDx Talk)
Alexander Medin is a yoga teacher who has helped drug addicts overcome addictions to deadly substances like methadone. He also helped them channelize their energies into social work, thereby helping them build connections with the community.
By early 2009, Nick had been labeled a 'walking time bomb' by his physician — his total cholesterol level was 230; his blood pressure was 180/98. He had been suffering from back pain and leg pain for a few years. Migraines or unbearable headaches were an everyday occurrence. He had no energy and felt the weight of the world upon him. Among other things, he was in the midst of a divorce from a 24-year old marriage.
One day, Nick woke up and just could not walk! His back pain had suddenly gotten worse. The Chief of Staff of Pain Management at UC Davis Medical Center diagnosed him with "extrusions in L4/L5". He suggested steroid epidurals to try loosen things up in his body.
On the way back from the hospital, Nick's 23-year old daughter Giana pulled over to the side of the road, turned the engine off and and refused to drive one inch further until Nick promised to attend a yoga class.
Nick's first yoga class was mind-blowing! He felt so much better. Within 6 months of regular yoga, he lost 50 lbs and got off his medicines. His cholesterol levels dropped to 152. No more migraines. Few headaches. Back and leg pain were greately reduced.
Nick then enrolled in a 250-hour yoga teacher training program even though he didn't really want to become a teacher. However, at the end of the program, he left his 27-year job as Senior Manager in Intel to become a full-time yoga instructor.
Nick shares his personal story in more detail here and here
Tao Porchon-Lynch "There is Nothing you Cannot Do"
Tao Porchon-Lynch is a 96-year old yoga teacher who shares her personal story in this video.
Matthew Sanford (Yoga for Disabled)
Matthew Sanford met with an accident at age 13 when his family's car skidded off a snowy overpass, killing his dad and his sister and leaving him paralyzed from chest down. Several years later, he learnt yoga and became a certified yoga teacher. His life mission is to help people who have suffered from trauma, loss or disability to understand the power of the mind-body connection in making us feel better.
“I was so shocked by the doctors and by everyone involved what might go wrong with my body. Not what was still there and could go right. I am advocating to get that message to patients.”
Jessamyn Stanley is strong and flexible! She is an inspiration to fat people who are typically hesitant to step into yoga classes because everybody else looks slender in comparison. In the video above, Jessamyn narrates how yoga helped her gain self esteem and accept her body as it is.
This 97-year old lady is an inspiration to everybody around her. She has a regular yoga practice and eats simple food. Another youtube video about her: Bend It Like Granny (1:27). Some quotes from these two videos:
"When I was very young, my grandparents used to work in the farms. They would come back from work and do yoga. So I started doing yoga with them."
"If you want to be a yogi, wealth is always secondary. Health becomes your priority and everything is achievable."
"If we do yoga, then we don't have to spend money at hospitals."
"I am 97 years old. I have never stepped into a hospital and have never taken medicine."
"I drink only kanji (congee) in the morning. For lunch, I have greens and rice, and dinner is only fruit and milk."
Dr Rajkumar (Kannada movies superstar)
Dr Rajkumar, a famous Kannada movie actor and Carnatic music performer, learnt yoga at the age of 50. Within four years, he was super skilled! At the age of 54, he showcased his skills in the opening credits of the movie Kaamana Billu (1983).
How did Dr Rajkumar get started with yoga? At age 50, he started having severe back pain. H S Naikar, a yoga mystic (who was also a police officer) approached him and insisted that he learn yoga from him. After some hesitation, Dr Rajkumar agreed and their relationship blossomed. See full story at IndiaTimes.