Paraplegic Yoga Teacher Receives Judd Jacobson Award

In October, Orono resident and Minnetonka non-profit business owner, Matthew Sanford, received the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award for his work with yoga and disabilities at a recognition luncheon at the Golden Valley Golf and Country Club. The award is given annually through the Courage Center in Golden Valley, a leading rehabilitation and resource center for people living with disabilities.

Sanford, president of the non-profit yoga studio, Mind Body Solutions, is a paraplegic and a gifted yoga teacher. He founded Mind Body Solutions for the purpose of helping others to awaken the connection between mind and body. The studio offers corporate stress management programs, and brings the benefits of yoga to those living with disabilities.

Matt’s story started 25 years ago when his family’s car hit ice and went off a bridge. At 13, he was told he would never walk again and he was urged to accept his condition by doctors at Mayo Clinic. But Matt’s personal development as a result of the accident led him to accept a different path. “It took a devastating car accident, paralysis from the chest down, and dependence on a wheelchair before I truly realized the importance of my body. After the accident, I spent the first twelve years believing that my mind was completely shut out of my paralyzed body. Worse than that, I actually believed it didn’t matter. I spent the next thirteen years practicing yoga and discovering how deeply I was mistaken. Living vibrantly through one’s whole body—whether paralyzed or not—is a powerful part of living.”

Matt says, “Deepening the mind-body connection improves the quality of our lives. As a writer, philosopher, and yoga teacher, I have dedicated my life to making this insight a practical feature of our everyday living.”

Established in 1992, the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award recognizes the pursuit or achievement of an entrepreneurial endeavor by a person with a physical disability or sensory impairment. The award is named for the late Judd Jacobson, a Minnesota business pioneer who became a quadriplegic as a result of a diving accident. The award is administered by Courage Center, with funds made possible by Daniel J. Gainey, a lifelong friend of Judd Jacobson.

Recipients of the award receive $4,000 to advance their efforts. Sanford plans to put the money toward a video/DVD on the intersection of yoga and disability, “Our work at Mind Body Solutions is reaching a tipping point. I get requests from all over the world from disabled people and instructors alike. We need a video/DVD to meet this rising demand and help as many people as we can.”

For more information about Mind Body Solutions, call 952-473-3700 or visit the Web site at www.mindbodysolutions-mn.org.