Here’s Michael’s story, shared with permission from Michael:
My name is Michael Fine and I practice this magical 26 & 2 yoga series almost daily and have done so for practically 6 years. This beautiful series figuratively and literally saved my life!
I was rescued by this healing, therapeutic yoga after living my life in chronic, debilitating, 365 – 24/7 residual limb pain, the result of a head-on collision at approximately 40 m.p.h. with a large, red concrete truck in April of 2010. I was on my way to work that fateful day when that truck crossed the center line, traveled up the hood of my car, continued through my windshield and traumatically amputated my left arm cleanly at the shoulder.
After surviving such a horrific accident and living in chronic pain, in conjunction with the loss of both of my beloved parents within that same short time frame, a severe depression and addiction to pain killers, all of which culminated in a suicide attempt, I was left completely empty and in search of a new way to live and move forward. As you have likely guessed, that way forward was, is and will likely always be, my yoga practice. This beautiful, healing 26 & 2 series.
Since the day I lost my left arm, I have completely felt it as if it were still attached to my body. However, my phantom arm feels like it is encased in a block of ice and being continuously squeezed in a vise. This is my reality. This is my life.
I generally live at between 5 & 7 on the proverbial ‘1-10 pain scale.’ My existence really centers around doing all I can to live at as low a number on that scale as possible. The ‘external triggers,’ or factors that exacerbate the pain, are outside of my control (ie. weather, pressure, and temperature fluctuations). Fortunately, however, the ‘internal triggers,’ (ie. feeling stress, tension, and anxiety) are completely within my control to manipulate.
In an effort to learn to do so, I tried many different healing modalities like Reiki, Cranial Sacral Therapy, LifeLine and other energy work, acupuncture, sensory deprivation flotation, massage therapy, etc. All of the foregoing techniques are important and effective tools in my arsenal to battle life in chronic pain. However, the single most effective weapon that I possess is my daily yoga practice.
In my 6 years of practice, likely 2,000+ classes, there has never been even one class where I haven’t felt less pain after those glorious 90 minutes than before that class started! To date, I haven’t found anything else that helps me in this way. As such, I call this yoga practice and series a universal truth. In other words, this yoga is a constant like gravity! This yoga practice is science. The mental and spiritual clarity that this magical 90-minute moving meditation provides is further icing on the yogic cake!
As you all know, the most beautiful thing about this series is almost anyone can do it. In the words of a living legend and one of my many mentors, the incomparable Mary Jarvis, “All you need to do this yoga is a spine!” Two arms are completely optional! I plan to continue this practice for the rest of my life.
In that regard, I recently took the next step in the advancement of my practice by attending teacher training this past September! I am proud to be a newly minted and certified “500 Hour Hatha Yoga – Core 26 Instructor” by Craig Villani’s exceptional Raja Yoga Academy.
My primary goal moving forward is to inspire and change the minds of all of those who believe that they can’t practice this yoga for reasons many of you have likely heard time and time again: “I am too old, too fat, too inflexible, too sick, allergic to heat, etc.”
My yoga journey is truly just beginning as I start to teach and share my love of this yoga with others from the podium with the sole objective and ultimate goal of inspiring and empowering people to do what the human body, mind and spirit were truly designed to do; that is to heal!