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 Matt Sanford at UMD

Everyone's Disability

Matt Sanford will speak at UMD on "Everyone's Disability at 7 p.m. on April 8 in the Kirby Ballroom.

We are all losing presence within our bodies - this both the inevitable arc of aging and an insight into the nature of disability. Through his unique experience with paralysis and yoga, Matthew Sanford, author of Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, explores the mind-body nature of disability. He breaks down barriers between the "abled" and "disabled" communities, between clients and caregivers, and shows that the transformation of trauma and loss is everyone's story. Finally he offers practical tips on managing stress.

"Losing his father, his sister—and his legs—in a terrible car accident at the age of 13 did not stop Matthew Sanford from living his life . . . He offers a powerful, honest account of his battle: awakening a spirit within a damaged body."—Psychology Today

"His paralysis has taught him powerful lessons about consciousness . . . [Sanford] will truly dare readers to appreciate their own bodies and lives."—Yoga Journal

A booksigning will follow the presentation.

At 4:30 p.m. on April 8, Matt will present a Yoga Demonstration in Sports and Health Center Room 135.

For information contact Disability Services and Resources at 726-8217, or see

About Matthew Sanford

Matt once led an ordinary life in a loving family. But at the age of 13, a devastating car crash took the lives of his father and sister and left him paralyzed from the chest down. Advice from his doctors to “forget his lower body,” however, was what really crippled Sanford, leading him to ignore his once-athletic body, until at age 25 he discovered yoga and the healing power of the mind-body connection.

Now 42 and still paralyzed, Matthew has inspired and enhanced the lives of thousands as a nationally recognized yoga teacher, author, and a leading voice in the integrative health movement. His inspirational story proves that a mind-body approach to trauma and loss can enhance quality of life. He wants the world to know that healing is possible, even when a cure is not. Sanford graduated with a BA in philosophy from the University of Minnesota, Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude, and received a Master of Arts from the University of Santa Barbara in philosophy.

His pioneering work began in 1998 when he started teaching an adaptive yoga class for people living with a wide range of disabilities. Realizing all individuals could benefit from having a deeper connection between mind and body, Sanford founded Mind Body Solutions in 2001, a non-profit 501c(3) organization dedicated to his simple, yet universal message — minds and bodies work better together. The organization provides a vehicle for Sanford’s work and voice to reach audiences nationwide. Sanford is using his pioneering experience with yoga, paralysis and disability to transform our current approach to rehabilitation, which includes a growing initiative for veterans.

He is currently spearheading a groundbreaking pilot program at Courage Center, a leading transitional rehabilitation facility in Minnesota, which incorporates a mind-body approach into the rehabilitation process while measuring outcomes. Sanford shares his philosophy on the importance of the mind-body relationship in his critically acclaimed memoir WAKING: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence (Rodale 2006/paperback spring 2008). In 2007, Waking received both a Minnesota Book Award and Northeastern Minnesota Book Award. A documentary on his life’s work is being developed. Sanford received a Karma Yoga Award (2003) from the Yoga Journal for his work as founder of Mind Body Solutions, which also operates a yoga studio for traditional students. He also received the Judd Jacobson Memorial Award (2004) for his work with yoga and disabilities through the Courage Center and the prestigious Eleven Who Care Award (2007) from KARE-TV for his years of service teaching adaptive yoga in the community. Sanford was just named a winner in the 6th Annual Volvo for Life Awards, which recognizes and rewards heroes across America. As the winner of the Quality of Life category, his non-profit will receive a $100,000 donation. Sanford will receive his award at New York City’s world famous Cipriani’s 42nd Street on March 19, 2008. Sanford lives in Orono, Minn., with his wife and business partner, Jennifer and their son, Paul. For more information visit: or

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