in a city divided, yoga unites

ambassador Michael Hall

Several weeks ago, the yoga community in Washington DC was shaken up by news that our ambassador, Michael Hall had been a victim of an attack as he and his partner were walking near their temporary apartment (their permanent residence was destroyed in a fire earlier in June). Our Logan Circle store manager, Emma, shares more about who Michael is and how the DC yoga community came together for a friend in need.

yoga in DC

I often boast that Washington, D.C. has the “best” yoga community. Our nation’s capital houses great studios made possible by a dedicated and loving yoga community that provides respite from an otherwise Type A culture. Entering a yoga studio in Washington, D.C. is like lifting a very heavy elephant or donkey off your back and setting it aside for an hour of unified bliss. In a city divided, yoga unites.

a community shaken

Last Sunday night I received a phone call from a coworker letting me know that our yogi friend and beloved lululemon ambassador, Michael Hall, was attacked and in the ICU. He and his partner were coming home from dinner when a group of men jumped them. Both men suffered injuries and were taken to the hospital. Michael’s jaw and cheek were broken and required surgery. At the time, Michael didn’t have health insurance and the medical costs would surely be phenomenal.

My heart sunk. I thought of my smiling, clever friend who founded MiDCity yoga on the premise that yoga is a discipline of freedom.  Michael is a breath of fresh air. He is eager give to the yoga community.  In the past he has taught Salutation Nation, organized yoga for cross-fit and leads lululemon’s complimentary yoga class in DuPont. Michael creates community connectedness everywhere.

a community united

I opened my email to organize an effort on Michael’s behalf. What I found was astonishing. My inbox was already flooded with emails from various spokes of the Washington, D.C. yoga community offering to hold individual donation classes and suggesting a huge community class rivaling that of Cherry Blossom Yoga. Someone posted a PayPal link to donate. Someone else made a Facebook group. My store, Logan Circle, put up an event page and each lululemon store in the Washington, D.C. region posted it to their sites. Studios and studio owners started pouring out support – in Baltimore, in Bethesda, in Virginia. Then Atlanta, Montana and New York City. Then Puerto Rico, Canada, India. Email after email. Country after country. My eyes filled with tears.

michael hall – yoga community donation class

Yoga community coming together for Michael

Immediately, the yoga community responded. By Monday evening there were dozens of yoga classes at studios around the city, Virginia and Maryland holding donation classes for Michael Hall’s medical expenses. Sunday, August 5 2012, the D.C. yoga community planned to come together to raise the final funds necessary in a very special yoga class: 108 sun salutations, 12 teachers, 25 studios.

Amidst the scrambling to get permits and waivers for our giant practice, we received an email from Michael Hall thanking us kindly for our efforts and asking us to cease donations. Through various initiatives, Michael had raised the money he needed. Sunday’s class, instead, would be a celebration.

yoga is community

Yoga means “to join” and “to unite.” Yoga isn’t about being the best. It isn’t even about finding relief from the hustle and bustle of your daily lives or building beautiful back muscles. Yoga actually is about creating space for a community to come together. On Sunday evening, 300 yogis came out to salute a beautiful teacher and a community unwavering. Midway through the sun salutations, it started to rain. “Only yogis can say they saluted the sun in the rain!” said Michael Hall when he took the mic for the final eight salutations.

It turns out D.C. doesn’t have the best yoga community because there is no best in yoga. Yoga is community.

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That is beautiful. I might have cried a little.

Comment by Kate — August 7, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

That was so touching and so wonderful to hear, I love my yoga community, so proud to be a part of such wonderful people!

Comment by AJ — August 8, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

WOW! So inspiring, it gave me chills! I now cannot wait to visit D.C. and do some yoga in your beautiful community :)

Comment by Hilary — August 8, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

Nice story, but I wonder why you didn’t come out and say it was a gay bashing, a hate crime and instance of homophobic violence. It’s wonderful that yoga communities are embracing, &c (all the good stuff), but I wonder about the depoliticizing this issue to the point where you don’t even mention that this wonderful person was seriously injured just for being gay. Maybe you assume LL people know this already? It’s nice to be reminded that awful, bigoted, violence truly exists in the world, and this manifests in awful ways like this. Tonglen, right?

Comment by J. — August 9, 2012 @ 6:28 am

Still cannot get over the amount of support that pulled together for this event and MJH. Awesome community and amazing impact!

Comment by Arlet — August 9, 2012 @ 12:58 pm

Truly wonderful to know that a community can selflessly come together in a time of need.

Comment by Ben R — August 9, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

So much love! Thank God he is Ok!

Comment by Stacie — August 10, 2012 @ 11:24 am

This is why I do yoga …

Comment by Jam Vee — August 14, 2012 @ 11:19 am

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