Our second edition of Yoga Dudes features a graduate from our teacher training program at Grateful Yoga. So far Ricky is the only male to graduate from the program, though we do have another man currently training and planning to graduate at the end of this year! To any men out there thinking about enrolling in our training or simply taking a class, don't hesitate, the time is now. A huge thank you to Ricky for sharing his heart not only in this blog post, but every day in the world. Best of luck in Colorado!!!!
How long have you been practicing yoga? A year and a half
What styles and practices make up your daily routine? Well I was trained in Ashtanga Vinyasa for my 200 hr teacher training, so that is the biggest influence towards my Asana practice anyways... Although I did early on have some exposure to Kundalini. My partner also practices/teaches techniques from the Sivananda lineage, so I merge that style in as well.
To begin I meditate until I ground into the moment, then warm my body up slowly including 3 or 4 pranayama practices, then I move intuitively to start my day. This is often followed by a more bandha activated, deep breathing, vigorous vinyasa in the afternoon.
Are there any big landmarks in your journey so far? There have been so many in my short journey thus far but the biggest moments were when separation ceased to exist. Whether it was my own body parts working together to move in unison, or my heightened awareness of others and what they are going through bringing me closer to this idea of a collective consciousness, or finding the love of my life and practicing union everyday. And of course after thousands of tries and many workouts... a press to handstand was quite the landmark.
What other activities fill your days? I am a massage therapist and aspiring body worker in a program currently acquiring my Colorado license. Teaching yoga when I can. I am also a carpenter, and avid snowboarder in the winter.
Do you have advice for any men thinking about picking up a yoga practice? If you love the rush, slow down and listen to your body, your thoughts, your emotions. Study yourself! If you start to feel amazing strength, increased concentration and peaceful stillness...stuff unlike you have ever experienced....then you are doing it right! Use all this information to find that human who is under all the layers. It is FAR from just the surface perception of a workout. If you practice all eight limbs, NOT JUST ASANA... you will notice the deepest transformation you can ever find.
Can you describe some of the benefits you've experienced through yoga? First of all PATIENCE! The biggest of all benefits in which I am grateful for. Definitely with my asana practice but also in life. Among others are, expanded lung capacity, CRAZY strength, gymnastic-like balance and a fiery digestive system. Overall, yoga has enabled an alignment with my wildest dreams and given me the courage, perseverance, and ultimately a superhuman-like focus to actually get any job done that is needed. It’s raised the bar for what can be accomplished. Limits faded and freedom expanded.
Anything else? Yogic practices, techniques, meditations whatever you call it....the technology has an amazing way of showing you a mirror. You start to see what you project onto others, your self-doubt, any judgments, or monkey-mind chatter; all the stuff that really takes you away from your soul-level individuality. This old survival/sympathetic system approach is indeed designed since the dawn of time to protect you and your ego. But once you open up, and start to enjoy the observer’s seat...having fun, (while not being so hard on yourself!) life unfolds, yoga “union” becomes a state, a lifestyle. Sayings like “I am because you are” or “all for one, and one for all” begin to reverberate through your existence daily. For me, truly without stumbling upon yoga, I’d be lost. Haha, seriously lost.