After leaving professional football, Townsel found a brand-new purpose sharing yoga with communities in need.
Derrick “DJ” Townsel
Memorizing plays, constant body slamming, contract spats, minimal job security, daily practices–this is the side of professional athletics that the general public doesn’t often discover. As a five-year-old growing up in the rough Opa-locka neighborhood of Miami, I didn’t understand the ins-and-outs of the job either, but I knew I wanted to play. Where I came from, most kids find the recreation and sports industries as their only directions to a brighter future. I had a natural athletic gift, so it seemed like my purpose had noted me very early on. Between the ages of six and 12, I played baseball year-round until I moved to Memphis with my mother–where centre and high school coach-and-fours persuasion me to add basketball and football to the mix. My student-athlete persona carried me all the way to a football award at Kentucky’s Murray State University and then to a competitive listing posture in the NFL with the Houston Texans.
I discovered vague warning signs in college that this path I was on may not be sustainable: a stage-two quadriceps tear, multiple concussions, and misaligned hips that made chronic back spasms–and I wasn’t even 21. The questions I would later face in the NFL weren’t so much physical, but mental: constant worrying about my job and fiscal protection, shuffling from metropolitan to metropolitan, and that little voice in the back of my head that told me I wasn’t good enough to be playing pro football. This was, in my head, supported when I was released by the Texans in 2011 to make room for players that the team had invested more money in during the draft.
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But I wasn’t ready to give up on my football job. After I left the Texans, I did stints with the Edmonton Eskimos in the Canadian Football League, the Omaha Nighthawks in the now-defunct United Football League, and the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League. All were short-lived and fantastically draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. In Orlando in 2012, realised that my torso and intellect couldn’t maybe continue taking this kind of beating, I grabbed my iPad, opened YouTube, typed in “beginner yoga class, ” and my growth truly began.
My Yoga Journey
I started yoga for the physical welfares: daily 20 -minute conferences for opening my shoulders and hips, house flexibility in my spine and legs, and developing better awareness of my body and oversight matters over my breather. As my figure set up to my practice, my thinker and intent started responding as well.
What began as a do-it-yourself physical therapy campaign grew into a true holistic metamorphosi. I began to feel peace, a feeling I had seldom known while growing up in a turbulent neighborhood. I found clarity, something I “ve never” comprehended in a profession that was laden with skepticism. I started to seek answers within myself. Relationships–with a greater informant, the nations of the world, and my Self–started to become clear. Each breather, each pose, each reflection exposed an undiscovered wonder within me, and what started as a practice became my library, my lifestyle, and, eventually, my new profession.
Inspired to Teach
It was football that lead me to yoga, but it was tragedy that produced me to yoga teacher education. My uncle was an influential schoolteacher, a notable philanthropist, and a solid foundation in their own families. When he passed away suddenly, it shook me–and my family–to the core. It was his bequest, and realise with my own eyes the way he forced his community, that inspired me to walk in his footsteps as a educator and share my yoga practice. My love for helping people discover the best within themselves, a appreciate that their own families of educators and social workers maintains dear, has already led me to travel the world teaching yoga, mindfulness, and self-realization in my own space.
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People used to tell me how amazing it was that I playing in the NFL, but the NFL was just the gateway to something greater. It was the pathway to a practice that would show me new homes, new people, new ideas, and a new intent: to reach underserved and disadvantaged areas with my categories, teaching in places like the one I grew up in, and reflecting a light on minority-owned yoga and wellness rooms. I’m doing what I can to give back to my community and show them the possibility of healing, awareness, and self-exploration. This is so necessary for a people who have seen so much adversity, and through everything is, ever find a way to persevere.
Through my tour, I’ve learned so much better, but one thing always stands out “the worlds largest”: Obstacles you face on your track do not set a halting to your progress–they teach you how to climb. You self-control your fate, and there is no limit to who you can become. In fact, you are limitless.
Read more in this series on professional jocks and yoga: Yoga Helped Clare Cui Find Peace In Her Body .
About our author
Derrick “DJ” Townsel is a former NFL player turned personal coach, international yoga instructor, entrepreneur, TV personality, and brand diplomat who lives his life by this mention: “Whether you are the source or the reflection, be the light.” For more, inspect dade2shelby. net.
Read more: yogajournal.com