Former NFL player now teaches yoga

Melanie Lawson Image
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
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Former Texans linebacker changed careers to become a yoga teacher after serious injury

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- It's an unlikely career change from professional football player to yoga teacher. But for one man, that's the path he chose.

Former Texans linebacker Keith Mitchell says mindful-meditation changed his life, and now he's changing others.

"I played in the NFL for 8 years, played here for a year with the Texans," said Mitchell.

It was the career so many dream of. Mitchell played with some of the league's best teams.

"But when I left here and went to Jacksonville, I suffered a severe injury playing the linebacker position making a tackle I'd made a million times. It left me suffering paralysis from the neck down," he said. "One minute, I'm this powerful functional individual and the next minute, feeling helpless."

Doctors had few answers, including whether he'd ever fully recover.

"Luckily for me, someone introduced me to conscious breathing and told me what it could do and I bought into it," said Mitchell.

He'd heard of yoga before.

"My first introduction to yoga was when I was playing football and said, 'Are you crazy, I'm not into this. But this time, a yoga teacher told him mindful breathing could help," he said.

"And meditation for me was one of those things that kept me sane, kept me in that position of hey, I'm here, and I'm not going to let this defeat me. I'm going to empower myself and it's changed my life," he said.

Now he's trying to change other lives, travelling around the country, teaching yoga, meditation and he often sees himself.

"People who would hold the position I held when I played football, when I come to them, whether they be military or sports guys say, 'Well, I know where you've been. Maybe I'll try it,'" said Mitchell.

He says anyone can learn how to change the way they see life -- from athletes to parents to kids and after years of pain...

"I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life, after all the injuries I've sustained. I believe that," he said.