From wheelchair to fitness coach

It’s a dismal rainy Thursday morning in Shoreditch and Jason is prepping to teach his highly dynamic exercise class. Impressive given that just a few years ago he was in a wheelchair.

“I could barely walk and had numb feet and legs. I was depressed and had been in and out of hospitals and rehabs. I remember one time when my teenage daughter had to carry me into hospital. I knew then that something had to change,” he says.

With yoga mats slung over his shoulder, Jason is looking good. At 44, after a life of smoking, drinking and injecting, he’s kickstarting a new career in fitness under the watchful eyes of Sonja, one of SCT’s fantastic volunteers. “He has a big career in front of him. He’s very powerful and dynamic. He’s also an entertainer. He has so much in him to give.”

“He has a big career in front of him. He’s very powerful and dynamic. He’s also an entertainer. He has so much in him to give.”
Sonja.

Jason was recommended to SCT by his partner who believed that we could help recover from his addictions. “Just before I left Australia for London, I found myself on a train platform, intending to kill myself. Then I heard myself saying ‘don’t do it!' I had a moment of clarity or a spiritual awakening or whatever people want to call it. I asked for help. I started ringing round some rehabs but they all had six month waiting lists. My partner was scared I wouldn’t make it so she brought me to London and to SCT.”

Jason started our creative writing and relapse prevention classes, but it was after taking one of Sonja’s physically challenging ‘stretch’ classes that the fundamental transformation of his life began to take shape. Sonja immediately saw in him something extraordinary. “Sonja asked me if I wanted to take my physical fitness to the next level. If I wanted to train as a teacher in her particular form of exercise.”

Jason started our creative writing and relapse prevention classes, but it was after taking one of Sonja’s physically challenging ‘stretch’ classes that the fundamental transformation of his life began to take shape

Today Jason is teaching his weekly fitness class to some of SCT’s residents, students and staff. “I used to be very physical but my addictions damaged by body. I lost my balance and I wasn’t able to play sports anymore. My physio told me that I had inflicted serious damage to my brain and that’s why my balance was so bad. After my first class with Sonja my body felt free again. I felt so great. I had found it really hard not to be physically active. I used to play everything - gymnastics, trampolining, basketball, football, you name it. I couldn’t believe that I felt so good again after Sonja’s class.”

Sonja told us: “I saw what journey Jason could make and help bring in other people, to bring them back to life. I witnessed the strength he had in him and could see him build a career in fitness - and I knew he had to be with me in my business. So I started to train him in my fitness instruction techniques.”

“Aside from my improved physical health, I’ve also made big progress in my psychological health and self-esteem and overall well-being. I feel like I’m learning more about myself and what I’m capable of.”
Jason.

“Aside from my improved physical health, I’ve also made big progress in my psychological health and self-esteem and overall well-being. I feel like I’m learning more about myself and what I’m capable of,” says Jason.

Sonja has plans to open a Shoreditch studio soon and we look forward to seeing Jason in action there.

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