It is no stretch to say that yoga has changed attorney Robert Altman's life for the better. Now, he's using it to help others.
Altman is a co-founder of Grounded for Good, a not-for-profit service project for abused, homeless and at-risk children at the Covenant House in southeast Atlanta.
The idea, he says, is that "yoga and mindfulness training could be a wonderful resource to calm, focus and heal young people who are facing the trauma and stress associated with abuse and homelessness."
Altman has been on a path of helping people for some time.
He did legal work early in his career representing Native Americans who had been prosecuted by the federal government for taking over a reservation in Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973.
Altman moved to Atlanta in 1976 to work with Millard Farmer and Morris Dees in a project called Team Defense. "We went around the South representing mostly poor black defendants against whom prosecutors were seeking the death penalty in murder cases," he said.
He became the head of the federal public defender office for the Northern District of Georgia in 1980 and entered private practice four years later.
"In 2007," he said, "after more than 30 years as a litigator, I began winding down my practice to the point where I now spend most of my time working on my volunteer activity, traveling and exercising to stay healthy. I only handle a few selected cases that I take from time to time."
He talked to the Daily Report about his career and his new yoga service project, beginning with an obvious question.
The most it's ever got me was a table at a restaurant. The hostess asked me, "Are you the Robert Altman?" I said, "Well, I'm a Robert Altman."
She said, "We're full but I love his movies, so I'll find you a table."
When did you start doing yoga?
I started a yoga practice at the time I began winding down my law practice in 2007. I had a lot more time to enjoy activities like traveling, cycling, running and yoga.