After Being Struck on a Bicycle, Yoga Sets
James Alvarez Straight
James Alvarez is an Ashtanga Yoga teacher here in Nashville. He has amazing power, humor and grace. Amazing power, humor and grace that was sidetracked after being hit, possibly purposefully, on his bicycle.
As readers of Shade Parade Nashville know, I am highly interested in active transport - mostly active transport that requires only your 2 feet. At times, I dabble in topics related to pedestrianism such as bicycling and public transportation.
Unfortunately, here in Nashville, this desire to just walk (or ride) is essentially a risk taking behavior. The inherent dangers associated with the desire to just walk are largely to blame on a lack of city wide attention to the most basic of infrastructure - sidewalks.
Back to James.
James began practicing yoga as a young child influenced by a 'hippy' aunt and his father. He can remember being as young as 5 or 6 and doing headstands with his dad. In college, he added to his knowledge of yoga by studying sport physiology.
He also studied cooking in culinary school and, after completing a practicum in a hotel, was riding his bicycle home late one evening. He was going straight through an intersection when a car in the opposing lane of traffic turned left into him. He had made eye contact with this driver but the driver continued anyway careening into him - hitting him and taking off.
This event was witnessed by many as it happened essentially in front of a club that was overflowing with people. James lost consciousness but, possibly due to his good state of health, suddenly leapt up, grabbed his bike and peddled home on a surge of adrenaline. It wasn't until the next morning that he understood the extent of his injuries.
Injuries to his upper spine and the small muscles that support it, his left hip/knee/ankle, a separated AC joint, bilateral ripped rotator cuff muscles. With the injuries on the left side, he later developed injuries on the right from over compensation.
Now, being uninsured, this meant trouble. In addition, no police investigation ensued. The perpetrator was never found. There were medical bills. He saw a somewhat dubious sounding Orthopedist who had him slip $200 in cash through the window before he gave him a perfunctory look followed by a sling.
For years, James notes he had many missteps in his attempt to heal himself. He seemed to reinjure himself at times. But, no longer. He is clear about his health and yoga has given him a sense of balance. Yoga, particularly Asthtanga Yoga, has set him straight.
James says it best,'the best investment in your life is your health'.