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Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence Paperback – May 27, 2008
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“Losing his father, his sister--and his legs--in a terrible car accident at the age of 13 did not stop Matthew Sanford from living his life . . . In Waking, he offers a powerful, honest account of his battle: awakening a spirit within a damaged body.” ―Psychology Today
“This is a riveting, heartbreaking, heart-opening saga. . . . Months after first reading it, I find myself appreciating his writing and the depth of his thinking more and more.” ―Nina Utne, Chair, Utne magazine
“His paralysis has taught him powerful lessons about consciousness . . . [Sanford] will truly dare readers to appreciate their own bodies and lives.” ―Yoga Journal
“From a hard-won understanding of how the body has intelligence and is an aspect of the soul, the author presents us with a new revitalizing vision of what it is to be human.” ―Susan Griffin, author of Woman and Nature
About the Author
MATTHEW SANFORD is the founder of the non-profit organization Mind Body Solutions. He specializes in adapting yoga to people living with disabilities and teaches workshops around the country. He currently resides in Orono, Minnesota.
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Beautiful, well written, I have a new understanding of anyone who has experienced body trauma.
I learned that the author is a leader in adapting Iyengar yoga to meet the needs of the individual. Matthew's mental awareness--as a result of a spinal cord injury--was literally knocked out of the lower two-thirds of his body. While doctors were able to keep him alive, he was not given the tools to reconnect his mind to his paralyzed body.
Matthew describes how for years after the devastating accident, from the chest down, he experiences a "schism" or "a form of silence" between his mind and his body. During his first months in the hospital and later periods in intensive care units there was so much pain that leaving his body became a survival skill. These experiences alone catapulted Matthew into unknown territory when it comes to understanding the mind and body.
In 1991, he began studying Iyengar yoga with Jo Zukovich, co-founder of the San Diego Yoga Studio. When they started, it was not clear how yoga would travel through his paralyzed body, and there were no examples to emulate. WAKING describes how teacher and student learned and adapted together.
In 1998, Matthew began to share the results of their work in an adaptive class for people with disabilities. About the same time, he began teaching people without disabilities. He found that the principles of yoga apply the same way in both cases. WAKING helps the reader to understand why the author's unique perspective is equally applicable for people who do not have his limitations.
Matthew's broader aim in writing this book and in teaching yoga is to infuse the importance of mind-body integration into the rehabilitation process. To this end, he offers workshops to healthcare professionals and yoga teachers alike. He uses his story to share how yoga is indeed a "waking" of the human consciousness. This is a book that can potentially revolutionize the thinking of physical therapists and anyone that works with people who are coping with past trauma and injuries. I recommend it with all my heart and soul!
--Suza Francina, author, The New Yoga for People Over 50 and The New Yoga for Healthy Aging.