Disabled vet transforms himself though yoga


[Video Link] Inspiring video of a disabled Gulf War paratrooper who lost 140 pounds and went from crutches to sprinting by practicing yoga. (Via Bits & Pieces)


    1. They probably did that anyway.

      My cousin was honorably discharged from his airborne unit due to injuries sustained from jumping, mostly while stationed in Bosnia in the 90s. He’s 37 years old and has had both hips replaced thanks to all the jumps. He received disability pay for only a couple years before they took it away completely (after some Republican legislation changed the rules).

      1. In all fairness, Republicans only ask do die for your country – siphoning benefits like a socialist would diminish the service.

  1. This is awesome.  I know someone who could really, really benefit from this but won’t because he’s a wacked-out rightwing christian and thinks yoga is evil devil’s play.  Ignorance is piss.

      1. Haha, the “Praise Moves” look an awful lot like yoga.  Just like how the christian bible looks an awful lot like many tomes that came before it.

        Fitting. (pun intended)

      2. Sure, with PraiseMoves you heal the body, but you poison the mind… Is it worth it?

    1. Why would you want such person to live longer, if he doesn’t insist on it?

      1. I’m not saying I really care if the dude practices yoga or not; I’m just saying he’s stupid. :D

        And, it’s a shame what a life of ignorance will do to a person.

        1.  Its a shame that you would down someone who is evidently doing worse than yourself.  Regardless whether he is doing it to himself or not, we should help lift others around us.

          1. Charity Kidd, he’s a lost cause.  If you dare even just try to give just an ounce of constructive criticism to this person, you’d get your ass handed to you.  He’s a sad case.

    2. One of my students was half way through a yoga teacher training and ended up bailing because her Jehovah’s Witness family threatened to cut her out of their lives.

      1. I hate to say it, but it sounds like she might be better off cut off from those people. People like that in your life can be incredibly draining on your spirits. So full of distracting bullshit instead of living life to the fullest. Sad…

        1. She was 20 going on 10.  I know quite a few people who were raised in JW families.  They’re all in AA or NA.

  2. amazing! an inspiration. i’m a long time yoga practitioner with a busted knee, and my body’s falling into disrepair. i now have no excuses!

    1. The yoga fixed his eyes!

      There’s a way to improve eyesight, though.  Eat a mostly vegetarian diet.  I did it and went to the eye doctor and they had to reduce my prescription.  YMMV, of course.

    1. Yeah, works the other way around, too. The first couple dozen times people on that wacky hyper-militarized rock asked me what my dad does for I living I replied, truthfully, “he’s a vet” since he was, after all, a veterinarian. Took me a while to understand the follow-up questions…

      1. You know, societies that don’t worship their military as much don’t necessarily have the word “veteran” in their active vocabulary.

        Just sayin’. Not judging. Just the way it is.

        (Before I’d been to the US, a “vet” was of course a veterinarian and a veterinarian only. Why would it be anything else? Why would you abbreviate a word you don’t ever use? — only if you’re not in the US, as I discovered pretty soon)

          1. Well… the way veterans, dead and alive, are officially celebrated and the way soldiers in uniform are respected in public (including discounts, what’s up with that?) suggests otherwise. A stark contrast to any other place I’ve been to; but maybe it’s a matter of people being used to it?

            (Again, not judging, just innocent observations.)

          2. I understand where both of you are coming from but the reality is the definition is implied through the context of the sentence:

            -I’m going to the vet.
            -My father is a vet.

            The first one obviously implies a place and most people would assume it is an animal hospital.  However the second one is open to interpretation depending on how you define vet.  If the previous topic of conversation had been war related most Americans would assume a veteran, if it had been animal related those same people might assume animal doctor before veteran.

      2. I have never heard of a disabled veterinarian

        O rly?  Here’s a shocking video of animal-related PTSD.

        1.  Talked once with a former large animal vet about why she’s no longer a large animal vet.  The large animals don’t always know that the vet means them well.

  3. Okay, so this actually kinda makes me want to try Yoga.  I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I really could stand to lose some weight…

    1. Just to be clear, yoga doesn’t provide the kind of exercise value that will cause weight loss.  People who practice yoga seem to lose weight because they calm down and stop other behaviors that add weight.  Also possibly there’s some stress – insulin – fat thing involved.  But it doesn’t elevate your heart rate enough to cause weight loss like aerobics, running, etc.

      1.  No, but obviously it can help in flexibility and improving muscle strength to the point where you can consider going running or doing aerobics, or even walking in this guy’s case. Extremely inspiring video. I might have to consider trying yoga myself, although my inclination is more towards Tai Chi.

      2. Depends on what your activity level was before starting, anything more than zero exercise is good progress (from personal experience).

        Of course, his main problem was perhaps overall lack of mobility, once the yoga had helped him achieve better movement, he could at least take a nice stroll in sunlight, working up a nice sweat without massive chafing from all the gear he used to need.

      3. There are people who believe that yoga is all the exercise you need. Of course that depends of what your opinion of being “in shape” is, like being ripped vs just being healthy, but there are routines in yoga that really get the blood pumping and aren’t just stationary. Besides, some of the stationary things are really really difficult and work out your muscle tone and doing things like that (like lifting weights, etc) which is almost just as helpful as cardio and plays a big role in weight loss. There are ways that yoga works the core of the body, for instance, that I’ve never seen in any other type of exercise. I can actually see how yoga would be really good for someone who can’t do more high impact exercise, like this guy cause he’s disabled. I wouldn’t be so surprised if it was all he did until he was able to supplement it with other stuff. 

        1. I’m not saying that it isn’t good exercise, but it doesn’t take weight off like getting on the elliptical or build muscle mass like resistance training. It’s a holistic package of better breathing, relaxation, muscle tone, flexibility. If you only do yoga and you don’t make any other changes to diet and exercise, you won’t see much in the way of visible change. I have yoga students who have been practicing for years, have a strong yoga practice and still weigh 250-300 pounds of not mostly muscle.

          1. I am another one data point of disagreement.
            I did all that aerobics stuff – got fatter.
            Did yoga – lost 70#.  Not as dramatic as Arthur’s story, but I can relate.  I say there’s something wrong with the science, if “science” is saying you can’t lose weight via yoga.

            Signed, ex-scientist.

          2. Signed, ex-scientist.

            Well, if you’re basing your conclusions on your own sole anecdote, I can understand the signature.

          3. Depends what kind of yoga you do, how much you do, and how you chose to practice. I am a former gymnast, triathlete and long distance runner, now retired from those sports. I do very active vinyasa yoga now, and I lost some extra lbs after I quit running. I didn’t start with a big weight issue, but after two foot surgeries and constant hip problems, yoga was almost a miracle for my joints, too (and yes, I had good form, coaching and gear, that wasn’t the issue).

            If you are HOLDING up your body weight up with your core muscles, like this man in headstand, and many of the other poses that take core, leg and arm strength, you are building a lot of strength and endurance. Transitions, not the poses themselves also take balance and strength, and are often more challenging than the pose itself. I haven’t seen a gym in years and still have people who approach me and ask me “what I do for my arms”. Try practicing for  90 minutes 3 times a week, and then we can compare notes. Another female athlete with a (very nice, accurate) heart rate monitor in class has burned 500+ calories a class – though she is a tall woman.

            The beauty of yoga is that it is always accessible, and asks you to test your limits, but not to try to reach some ideal. This man shows how that progress can work, though I might not have encouraged him to fall in headstand too often… rough on the neck. Anyhow, yoga is a practice, not a perfect, and it is spiritual in that it asks you to work on yourself first, without comparison to others. Sure, many yogis have other related habits that stem from their practice, but it’s accessible to anyone who wants more inner strength, peace, and balance – inside and out.

            – M.S. in biological sciences, yoga teacher in training.

      4. With all due respect, this is simply untrue. While beginner yoga can be very slow and methodical, there are certainly faster and more intense varieties (e.g., asthanga, bikram or hot yoga) that can be quite aerobic and feature faster transitions from pose to pose with fewer and shorter rests overall. If you push yourself, you can definitely get your heart rate going.

        You can also increase your body’s daily caloric requirements (and thus lose weight) by increasing muscle mass, which yoga and other relatively low cardiovascular sports, like climbing, definitely help you to do.

        Also, as a point of interest: Cf.: http://www.weighthacker.com/2012/04/26/how-to-use-non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-to-almost-effortlessly-lose-weight/

      5.  Anyone who thinks yoga doesn’t get your heart rate up has never done a fast-paced vinyasa class. More than a few times I’ve had to stop and hold down-dog just to catch my breath. And no, I’m not that out of shape.

        1. And yet, it’s been studied with actual monitoring equipment and, no, your heart rate doesn’t consistently rise to aerobic level.

    1. Did you actually look at that page that you linked?





      Autoplaying video.

      Yeah, he’s all about helping people. By selling them something that they could get for free on YouTube.

  4. I hate branded yoga commercials, but I’m glad this guy found the inner strength to pull himself out of his depression.

  5. Also does a good job providing an example how miserable health care can be. Many times, people can’t get the attention their problems really require. That is.. unless they keep asking questions. Processes like this are a job of self discovery as much as relying on expert opinion.

    Means if you want it, you’re going to have to work your ass off for it like this guy did.

  6. It’s good to see that Diamond Dallas Page has bounced back from dropping the WCW Heavyweight Championship to David Arquette.  

  7. What’s the verdict on, dedicated one-to-one yoga teachers vs. attending classes?
    I have practiced martial arts for years which led me to attend a few yoga classes – but I never really got really into it. Would forking out for a dedicated teacher be worth it?

    1. I’ve done yoga for a while and there’s a huge variance in instructor proficiency. A good instructor can make the class effective for everyone and provide variations for people of various skill levels. Most yoga tapes are rather poor – the best I’ve found is Tony Horton, in P90’s Yoga X(if not entirely zen). 

      I think finding a good teacher with a reasonable class size (<15) is important. A dedicated teacher could help if you have trouble finding that, and you wouldn't need to see them too often.

    2. Unless you’re so introverted/agoraphobic that you can’t bring yourself to do it, go to class. You’re more likely to meet your goals when you see other people around you doing the same thing. In a class, you’re more likely to compensate to a level of proficiency. In a one-on-one, your teacher is more likely to decompensate to your level. Obviously, that’s a very generic statement, but since private lessons are so much more expensive, you should at least try classes. Just, for God’s sake, bring your own mat. Communal mats are revolting. And if you’re over 5′-8″ buy an extra large mat.

      1.  I always take a small towel to put over the end of my mat, it helps stop my hands from slipping

    3. I wouldn’t be too fussed about getting a dedicated yoga teacher. There are so many styles and variations that it’s probably better to try a variety of classes so you can find the style that suits you.

      This is what I’m working towards: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loszrEZvS_k Getting weird looks at the gym, but not a single fuck was given (:

      1. wow.
        so how does one get to what you see in the vid? i.e.  how many hours a week (day?), how many years? despite hardly any visible muscle she must be strong as hell.

        wish I hadn’t read the youtube comment thread though… depressed by how the merest flash of female skin gets the online misogynists going…

        1. I have students that can do things like that.  They’ve all been professional dancers or gymnasts who started practicing as children.  Good for her that she can do that, but yoga’s not a competitive sport.  It’s about mind and body awareness.

          1. That is a Western reinterpretation of classical Indian texts. Yoga is about the development of the senses – not the same thing as mind/body awareness, really.

  8. Spock makes an oval “symbol of peace” hand gesture and simply says: “One.” The group responds with the same gesture: “We are one.” They ask Spock: “Are you One, Herbert?” Spock replies that he is not Herbert, and Adam declares: “He’s not Herbert. We reach!”

  9. This is why, no matter how much time my coding jobs take, I will ALWAYS make time to coach ice skating. People think that they can’t do it, but then they get out there, have someone who can teach them some good technique and support them through the falls, and before you know it they are skating, jumping, spinning, racing down the ice. My favorite students are invariably the ones that some other coach refused to accept because they were too old, too fat, too frail, too whatever. That realization that you *can* do something like yoga or ice skating or martial arts transforms people’s lives in amazing ways.

    Good on the yoga instructor who helped this man, and good on the man for sticking to his goal, working through the hard parts, and taking back his body!

  10. The video is unalloyed goodness, but the website in the youtube link comments (diamond dallas page) is, uh, weird.

  11. 140 pounds lost at 3500 calories per pound (of fat) is 490,000 calories that were either burned off or not consumed in 10 months, or say, 310 days. That’s 1,580 calories average per day that were burned off during that time. The average daily requirement to maintain body function at rest is 2,000 calories which means he either consumed only 420 calories per day, or did enough exercise to achieve the same net result. This isn’t plausible.

    1.  Or he could have been eating 4,000 calories a day, then went down to 2500 calories a day.  Also may have been having congestive heart failure (with significant fluid retention), or poorly controlled diabetes.  If those resolved, that could have contributed to his dramatic weight loss.

    2.  a) Weight loss is never 100% fat. Water, connective tissue and muscle are also lost to a varying degree. b) 2000 calories is bunk for 99% of people. This guy likely had a BMR of about 2300 calories, and a maintenance caloric need of nearly 3000 at his starting weight.

  12. Yeah, something doesn’t add up here. I believe this guy made an amazing effort and achieved amazing results…but he lost an average of 3.5 lbs per week for 10 months? From yoga? And why exactly would yoga instructors turn him away? It’s a really inspirational story, but I’d rather be a bit less inspired and get the omitted details.

    1.  Agree. I just worked off 55 pounds in 15 months, so about 1 pound a week, and it took a LOT of activity and an aggressively controlled diet plan. 1200-1500 calories a day is the recommended minimum intake to stay healthy, and even that is tough. I inline skate 15 miles a day in hilly terrain plus control calories, and a pound, pound and a half, a week is about tops for a loss rate. Fixing a water retention problem might explain some, but is that attributable to the yoga?

  13. Had a tai chi teacher who had a badly fractured knee, his ortho told him if he was lucky, he’d walk with one cane, but most likely need two for the rest of his life.  Rehabbed himself with tai chi, never needed a cane, could do jumping kicks, low squats and hold one legged postures longer than students half his age. 

  14. HOLY SHIT.   He teaches Yoga For Regular Folks at my gym.  Art is freakin’ awesome!

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