I am Brian Castellani.
There’s not a compartmentalized version of myself that you meet when you meet me. You meet the real me.
I have been dead before. I have a head injury. I re-taught myself how to walk and talk. I looked in the mirror and spent endless hours watching how I spoke and pronounced words. I spent years being looked at with some strange look on people’s face because they either pitied me or never thought I would be able to get my shit together. I know what disappointment is. I know what losing faith feels like.
I understand what it means to have nothing. I know what it means to start over, more than once.
People have said what they want to say. I haven’t stopped them because I don’t need their validation, nor do I need their support.
I am blunt, pragmatic, impulsive, realistic and very stubborn. Despite intellectually realizing I shouldn’t hold grudges, I tend to hold on to them anyways. Almost like I am keeping count, and who knows… subconsciously I might be.
There isn’t a compartmentalized version of myself that you meet.
I’m not going to pretend that I’m better than I really am, I’m not going to tell you about how great everything is, I won’t tell you how to embrace the abundant possibility of your new consciousness, I won’t fix you, you won’t fix me, and you’ll never hear how I am building the next dot.com “new economy” to save the world.
I won’t claim to vegan-ize, hippi-fy, greener-ize you today to save tomorrow….
I am who I am. It is all right there and I have nothing to hide from you or from anyone else.
To Be Born
I was born in the month of December at some point in the seventies. In Decatur, Georgia, at Dekalb County Hospital and at 11:35 am, my life began.
Adopted at two weeks of age by my loving parents, Edward and Hazel, I have one adopted brother, David, an adopted sister, and one half-birth sister, Vera.
Currently, each of my family members lives on the complete opposite spectrum of the United States. My parents are in Florida, my brother in Washington State, my half-sister lives in Texas.
The reason why I find yoga useful is for the medical benefits and personal growth I have experienced.
On December 4, 1993, I was in an altercation where I suffered a head injury, with brain damage. I was in a four-day coma and when I came to, my eyes had crossed, I had trouble speaking, I lost all equilibrium and mobility on primarily my left side, and could not walk unassisted.
I was at Harborview Hospital in Seattle for a month doing physical therapy and speech therapy. I eventually left the hospital in a wheelchair, later graduated to a walker, and then for some time after, I used a cane. The doctor’s prognosis of my injury upset my parents and friends a great deal, and it is probably one of the lowest points of my life. I also feel it is 100% responsible for my tenacity, resilience, and ability to have courage when there is absolutely no reason to.
Doctors conveyed that physical rehabilitation would be a lifelong process and that people with traumatic brain injuries have little to no hope of significantly changing.
In retrospect, the information was sparse and fragmented and the negative “sentences” that the doctors gave was more of a poor legal disclaimer. Even though there are effects today, it wasn’t an accurate hypothetical of my situation. Life deals tough breaks, and in many head injury cases, the situation is much worse. How was I to know what would happen in the future? How is anyone supposed to know, for that matter? They didn’t, and no one can foretell the future.
I had never been in a position where my reality had been so altered. There was nothing I could do but accept and adapt. My eyes had crossed and my left foot would not “sync” with a regular pattern of walking. There was nothing I could do about it. I had to focus on what I could do mostly because I couldn’t understand half of what was said to me for years to come. For over 8 years I found myself off balance, quite literally. I practiced my pronouncing words in a mirror for over a year and a half. Even today, I will stop mid-sentence and re-start a sentence if I feel as though I am saying it improperly. Some people think I write this for understanding or a need for compassion, but don’t let that fool you, I just want to move on. The incident itself has altered my life enough. I have accepted it as being a part of who I am and I have moved on. I have carried so much rage over the circumstances of December 4th and it affected me to such an extent, that they have shadowed the entire decade of my twenties.
In 2008, I made the discovery that I had a younger half-sister Vera Anne and also confirmed that my roots are Greek, Cherokee, and slightly Welsh.
Regrettably, my birth mother Mary Jo Stover passed away on April 22nd, 2005.
Today I have close relationships with my adopted family and a distant but amicable relationship with my sister. My conclusion? We don’t choose our family’s, they choose us.
I remember many things about my mostly loving childhood, but above all, the reoccurring theme that stands out to me is in the 7th grade, when I first noticed a world beckoning to me.
I’m not a theoretical person, I’m quite a creative “take your time, but hurry up,” kind of person.
I started yoga in 2006, when I first started working at Yoga Journal Magazine as a temporary employee. I was then hired on permanently, and my practice continued to flourish. Today, with regular and consistent practice, I have seen huge improvements in my physical, mental and emotional abilities, in every area – but, particularly my left side.
I am now doing things that I seriously never thought I would be able to do again…like regaining range of motion in my left leg, getting better with balance and (oddly enough, because I don’t wear my glasses when I practice) my depth perception. Yoga humbles me on a regular basis and I am constantly amazed by how my life continues to change. With the best of intentions, I would encourage anyone to start today.
I have since left Yoga Journal to start Yoganomics, continuing to work in fields related to yoga. I am currently more engaged with individual studio’s and individual teachers than I ever have been.
Yoga has opened up the world to me in so many different ways and now it’s my intention is to give back to the community that I now call home.
In November 2009, I started Yoganomics. I spend a great deal of time alone because I am in an unknown territory that I have yet to experience. Sometimes I am completely terrified and other times I think I just might make it.
I try to practice yoga 4-5 days a week. Feel free to drop me a line if you’re in town and want to go to a class. Yoga has given me a worldwide community of people I love being around, and each person I get to meet, I always walk away feeling blessed.
© 2006 – 2017 Yoganomics®. IndieYoga®. Independent Yoga™ by Brian Castellani. All rights reserved.