By now, many within the world of yoga are familiar with the story of Michael Hall and Michael Roike, two openly gay Washington D.C. yoga teachers attacked and beaten while walking home. Both Hall and Roike ended up in the hospital with no insurance and really no way to pay for their treatment. After all, these guys aren’t A-listers. They’re just your average day-in day-out, “in the trenches” yoga teachers. Thankfully, Roike’s injuries were not serious. However, Hall’s were fairly extensive and required quite a bit of tending to. Add on to all this that several weeks before the couple lost their apartment in a fire, and boy howdy, the summer’s shaping up to be a rough one.
Not to worry though. Clarence wasn’t lying when he told George in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Remember no man is a failure who has friends.” Turns out Michael Hall has a lot of them. Spearheaded by a few local supporters, the call was sent out over the wire asking anyone willing to kick in a few bucks. No contribution was too small and no prayer considered too short. And, lo and behold, the yoga community responded, and did so without any tote bags, wrist bands, or free corporate give-aways as incentive. People gave because they could, knowing what it’s like to be between a rock and a hard place.
And, despite the lack of sponsorship, two days ago Hall released some great news and called for the donations to stop. That’s right. Michael Hall is calling on all of us to stop sending him money. Turns out he has enough. By his estimation, he actually has more than enough and is looking into ways to pay it forward. Still, this weekend will provide us all with one more chance to come together around this event. This Sunday, August 5th in Meridian Hill Park at 16th and W St NW, Washington D.C., 12 local teachers are going to lead 400+ (assuming the Facebook page is accurate) supporters through 108 Sun Salutations. What started as a fundraiser will now apparently be more of a celebration.
So, be sure to take your mat to the park and bask in the glow, support, and potential of what we can achieve as a community.
I live in Charlottesville, VA where I maintain an active Ashtanga practice, in addition to a bodywork practice rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Yoga forms the cornerstone of my life in all aspects. It’s how I eat, how I drink, how I sleep and how I chose all my choices. In addition to my Ashtanga practice, I am devoted to following the principles and precepts of bhakti-yoga as delivered through the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition.