On Thursday afternoons at Samadhi Yoga on 19th Avenue, you can hear a teacher, just above a whisper, calling out soothing directions.
"Take notice of your breath," she said.
Something that may be easy for most people, but for those who have battled back from severe injury, or in Tommy Hinojos' case, a brain aneurysm, it is not something you take for granted.
"I was told I was going to die. I was told I was going to die within six months and I was in a coma for two weeks," Hinojos said.
He survived, but Hinojos relies on a wheelchair. After years of physical therapy, he was still struggling to do everyday things.
"I was dealing with chronic pain. After a while your body kind of tends to tense up and collapse on you, especially when you're in a wheelchair," he said.
His body felt weak, but his heart felt strongly that there was more he could do.
"It was like you set me in prison and I started slowly coming out. When I started doing yoga, it's like freedom. You can actually see light at the end of the tunnel," Hinojos said.
That light is something he wanted to share with others.
Collaborating with yoga teachers and downtown Denver studio, Samadhi Yoga, he helped to start an adaptive yoga class.
It has grown from just a few people once every few weeks to almost a dozen with two classes a week.
"The students can gain all kinds of things - more mobility, less pain and less stress - a lot more hope and a lot more joy," Samadhi Yoga owner Annie Freedom said. "It's not very prevalent in this area right now, we're hoping that's going to change. We want to see this gift grow in people's life. It's our dream to see this become a normal thing."
Hinojos may never walk again as he did before the aneurysm and he says, that is OK.
"You learn to appreciate what you have and what you can do," he said.
He can walk with others in another way.
"It's something beyond words. Something that I felt inside that needed to be shared with others in my situation. To see people who have never gotten out of their [wheel]chair get on the mat with a smile from ear to ear, gives me so much satisfaction," Hinojos said.
Breathing for Hinjos is now a little easier and it's making other things easier.
"You realize that you have a life to live and now you want to get your body back to as good as shape as you can. That's what yoga does for me, it makes me able to see my life again and go after what I want," he said.
For more information on the adaptive yoga class, head to the Samadhi Yoga website or check out Colorado Adaptive Yoga's Facebook page.
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