Iyengar Yoga helps wounded soldier regain daily functioning

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Today would have been B.K.S. Iyengar’s 96th birthday. To illustrate the legacy of Iyengar’s teaching, I would like to draw attention to this video. It is an interview with Mark Zambon who attended Geeta Iyengar’s 10-day intensive that wrapped up last week.

Zambon lost both of his legs in a bomb blast when he was serving in Afghanistan. To assist with his rehabilitation, he was directed to an Iyengar yoga class taught by a Vietnam veteran. The elder veteran advised Zambon to try Iyengar yoga. He said “combat veterans take well to Iyengar yoga because it touches a very similar space in the experience of life.”

Zambon said the loss of his legs after the bomb blast radically changed his body functioning aside from the obvious loss of two useful limbs. He said it was difficult to cool himself down because 30 percent of his body surface had disappeared and he would sweat profusely after doing basic activities like simply getting into bed.

He states that during his Iyengar practice he was taught Salamba Sirsasana and states that the pose made his phantom leg pain disappear. He also notes that it has sharpened his senses. Zambon also noted that during the 10-day intensive, the pranayama practice showed him the more internal dimensions Yoga. “At the end of the pranayama drills, I feel a tranquility in my mind…a wonderful peace.”

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He said that Iyengar’s emphasis on getting the body back into alignment has helped him not only regain the ability to do daily activities like drive a car, but states it was able to allow him to continue his hobby of mountaineering. Zambon climbed to the summit of Mt. Kilamanjaro and proudly displayed a Salamba Sirsasana atop the mountain.

Being no stranger to challenges, Zambon states he wants to now train to be a certified Iyengar instructor. Although it is a tough path to get certified, Zambon shows that he has the true grit to ace the certification process.

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