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3 Questions for…Keith Mitchell

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— May 12, 2018

3 Questions for…Keith Mitchell

  • How can yoga help athletes transition from injury to a new lifestyle?
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Keith Mitchell (keithmitchell59.com) enjoyed early success in football, first at Texas A&M and then in the NFL— until a spinal injury on the field left him paralyzed at age 31. That’s when he discovered yoga, through which he has regained his health and found a new direction in life.

Mitchell explains things this way: “The athlete died. I knew myself as a football player; I had never connected with what Keith wanted. In what we often perceive as dark places, there’s a lesson to be learned.”

How can yoga help athletes move to a life beyond sports? For all athletes, injuries and time eventually become undefeatable opponents. That creates a space of doubt, depression and a sense of a role that’s been played out, and there are no fans waiting to see the outcome. This becomes a physiological blow that causes an identity crisis for most athletes. There are no programs to help ex-players transition. That’s true even regarding players in college sports, high school, Pop Warner; these kids are getting injuries that affect them for a lifetime.

What’s the biggest difference in outlook being a professional athlete and where you are now? Being an athlete is a role that you play, a persona. It’s like you choose the role of athlete before you choose to grow as a human being. Yoga builds my relationship with myself; it’s a deeper connection. When you start to listen to your body, your body will speak to you. It’s an evolution of growth and development as a human being.

What are you trying to accomplish through the gatherings, held through schools and other organizations, sponsored by your Light It Up Foundation? We bring the practice of mindfulness, building the awareness of resolving problems. When we decide to create changes within, that creates a ripple effect on the people and places around us. So we share these opportunities of connection. The most challenging thing is for people to be vulnerable.

Who are we meeting when we engage with one another? We meet the facades of people. Therefore, we are malnourished of that one simple thing called connection; this equates to much of the chaos we see in the world.

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