The inception of Prana Vibe came from a dream to serve the community on a highly intimate and personal level, knowing that quality is directly tied into the ability to connect with individuals and get to know them. Admittedly, larger classes and running Groupons were tempting considerations for our business. But, we chose to opt for slow growth and keep it boutique-y.
The following story reaffirms the path that Prana Vibe has taken and has stuck to. Jason, we love you and are so very grateful for your presence and prana.
While in the US Army I had an accident involving a vehicle crash with another vehicle. I was driving one vehicle and got T-boned by another vehicle. I was immediately knocked unconscious and stayed like that for 40 minutes. I had an open head wound on the left side of my head. I was taken to the ER and ended up staying in ICU for 3 days, then under watch in the hospital for 2 weeks. I have no recollection of this but just know from medical records, my best friend who was the passenger and my family's account of what went down. After my release, I spend the next 6-months in speech pathology and traumatic brain injury rehab because I couldn't talk, could barely walk and i could not make cognitive thoughts. My brain had been thrashed around inside my skull and was inflamed. For the 3-months proceeding this accident and the 6-months after, I have permanent amnesia. I don't recall anything.
I spent this time basically on bed rest in the Army (I was in Germany) and seeing a neurologist every two weeks to go over medication, testing, rehab, etc. Eventually I reached a point where my physical wounds healed up and I was ok enough to go back to work (I was a Counterintelligence Special Agent and German linguist for the Army).
Ultimately, I was diagnosed with TBI, PTSD, Clinical Depression, Acute Anxiety, Cognitive Disorder, Adjustment Disorder and Tinnitus with Audible Saturation (hearing problems). I was given a rating of 100% disabled by the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs, the department responsible for Vets after they separate from the service. My conditions are not visible at all, I look perfectly healthy. Everyone thinks I'm a fully functioning adult even when they hear about my disabilities. That's ok, I haven't sought sympathy or anyone's attention. I wanted to be treated as much as normal as possible.
Fast forward to present day! I've spent the last 10 years as a Deputy and Program Manager for classified National Security programs, where I supervised a nationwide staff and ran 8 different departments. I worked way more than everyone else because I simply required more time to get things done. I often worked 60+ hours a week, and sometimes 7 days a week. I made over six figures despite my disabilities. I was/am a full custody father to two children. I also coached volleyball, baseball, basketball and soccer. I always wanted to do as much as possible to prove I could do things just as well as anyone else, and sometimes better. My children are used to my shortcomings; they are used to me forgetting things, misusing words in sentences, not being able to focus - but they know that I will keep trying. I found Ashtanga through my wife Jackie. She is patient and supportive.
The last 3 years, my conditions have significantly worsened. I receive care through the Dept of VA about twice a month, and a serious concoction of medicines for cognition, depression, anxiety and sleep. I went through another round of testing in 2016 and the physicians agreed I will only get worse, not better. At work, I ended up having headaches daily for three months plus I couldn't sleep at night. My anxiety, which I thought I had a handle on - was getting out of control. Eventually, after serious discussions with my wife and family, I chose to step away from work so I can focus on my health. This fall I ended up coaching high school girls basketball as I love coaching and kids. It was one of the funnest things I've done in a long time.
That leads me to Mysore practice at Prana Vibe. The ultimate medicine I've found has been the Mysore practice. My solitary journey on the mat, with a supportive teacher nearby for guidance here and there, has provided me with an opportunity to find some peace for an hour or two when I practice. It's quiet. It's dimly lit. It's conducive for calmness which I desperately need. I get a combination of exercise, plus a mental release that no medicine can equal. While I get so many benefits physically from my practice, weigh loss and muscle gain, flexibility and healthy organs - my biggest gain has been for my mental health. Not being judged, but supported with a warm and close Mysore community has been and is an amazing thing to have in my life. I literally encourage new students to keep coming every time I get a chance to talk with them as I want to advocate for the practice, the teacher and the studio.
Some days, honestly, it's hard enough to get out of bed. But, when I know I will practice that day I get a sense of relief. I simply can't wait to practice, to be alone in the room yet surrounded by support and stability with my teacher and the studio.