Frank Iszak – One Man’s Journey from Hijacking Mastermind to Celebrated Yogi
Local author of Free For All To Freedom, Frank Iszak’s life story challenged the scales of morality as he transitioned from youthful hijacking mastermind to world wise yogi with the grace and poise of a man who has known internment and found freedom.
Frank Iszak grew up in communist Hungary behind the Iron Curtain. After 25 years in virtual slavery, Frank, and six associates participated in the first hijacking of a commercial airliner in 1956. The only possible outcomes they faced were escape and freedom, or capture and execution.
After three hours of unimaginable fear and suspense, including a brutal fight for the control of the aircraft at ten thousand feet, a two- hour flight over the Alps in blinding cloud cover, and a landing without navigational aids, Frank and his team touched down in West Germany, the free world.
Approached by military personnel at the airstrip, as Frank describes it, “The answer of life or death came in the form of the Stars and Stripes, flying from an American army military Jeep: I was free, I was born again this time to live the real life of a free man.”
Drawing from this harrowing adventure, Frank wrote Free For All To Freedom to detail his exploits in masterminding the hijacking. Now, 56 years and a lifetime later, Frank has learned the meaning of reciprocity for his actions as a young man by giving back to the senior community through the teachings of yoga.
As a former martial arts practitioner, Frank says the transition into yoga was an easy one. “I realized that I am too old for the demands of karate so my wife, Serpil and I decided to try yoga.” The mental and physical challenges of yoga have inspired Frank and now help him direct his energy toward helping others learn of its cathartic benefits.
Frank and Serpil created Silver Age Yoga with the help of geriatric scientists from UCSD, Scripps, UCLA, and participating seasoned yoga teachers. With the mission of providing free health-enhancing yoga to economically disadvantaged and underserved seniors, the award-winning program has delivered more than 12,000 yoga classes without a single injury.
Frank Iszak’s story is one of determination and redemption. The incredible chances Frank took to achieve freedom truly changed his life. His attitude of paying it forward has served him and his community well.
For more information about Frank Iszak’s book Free For All To Freedom or to learn about or participate in Silver Age Yoga, please contact Frank directly at SilverAgeYoga@yahoo.com.