Opening Yoga Instructor Highlight: Paul Richard
Ohio-based yoga teacher, Paul Richard, is a recent graduate of our Opening Yoga Instructor (OYI) certificate program and shared with us how his journey led him to MBS. Here’s his story:
It seems that my path in yoga was charted out before I even began my practice, and that path pointed directly toward serving those living with disabilities. Shortly after beginning my practice, I came in contact with an organization in our community that was seeking a yoga teacher to develop a class for people with and without disabilities. I was so intrigued and thought this would be a great opportunity for a new yoga teacher. I told the lead teacher at one of our local studios about this. Nothing came of it. After I completed my 200-RYT, I approached them and asked if I could do it. That was 2015.
It did not take me long for my naivete to collide with my ignorance. This is when I began to explore further training possibilities and discovered MBS. I completed the Opening Yoga Workshops in 2017 and went right into the Opening Yoga Instructor Certificate. Both of these were so valuable for my growth as a teacher and for me personally. Today I teach (along with an awesome assistant!) 4 classes on Monday evenings 4:15-8:00 for 12-18 people each week. We have a great time!
As a teacher, I learned important principles about engaging with students who live with various forms of disability. I learned about being present with the student. I learned the power of touch – well placed and timed references and assists that enhance the experience for the student. I learned the significance of chest openers for someone with disabilities.
But what continues to keep me growing personally in my journey is what able-bodied yoga teachers could not teach me, as gifted as they are in their own teaching abilities. I learned from those who live with disabilities the essence of what yoga is: the core sensations of grounding, expansion, balance, and rhythm, the sense of direction and the integration of the mind and the body. I continue to grow in these, and they, in turn, enhance my teaching.
I keep going back to the materials to refresh and renew, gaining new insights for the journey. I am grateful to all the community of Mind Body Solutions. Thank you all!