Rhett's life (abridged)

I used to suffer from a sometimes debilitating depression, beginning in childhood. At one point I took antidepressants, which I was not really comfortable with since I believed it handled part of the problem but not the root cause: my perspective. It did give me a window of relief though, and I jumped through this window into the world of Yoga.

In my early 40s I could feel myself shrinking up and couldn't get the vision of a hunched-over old woman out of my mind. So, in 2001 I took a 6 week introductory Yoga course with John Hawkins, a fortunate turn of events in many regards. Thinking yoga was just twisting the body into impossible shapes, I was confused when people said they hoped to find spiritual fulfilment and peace through the practice. John quietly and systematically introduced the practice of Yoga with a capital "Y", one that has many other aspects besides physical. Within 2 classes I was completely hooked, another surprise since I'd never felt that way about anything before.

I continued going to the weekly class, attempting to remember the poses and order of them so I could practice on my own. After the course was over, I began studying with Lauren Marie Thomas, quickly working up to three classes a week. She continued introducing yet more Yogic principles, suggesting books and other resources. I still was not convinced of the power of practice that was talked about during class, but I did know I felt better. Sometimes I felt out of place - it took me 1.5 years to be able to chant "Om." But, then I had three separate incidents happen in rapid succession that would have normally sent me in a tail spin. I was really surprised to find I was quite calm about all of the mayhem, and then I knew for sure - Yoga was seeping into my brain and my heart.

In 2005 I decided to go to Teacher Training at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch ashram in upstate New York, the same place my beloved teacher Lauren studied. I was mostly looking for spiritual enlightenment, but figured a teaching certificate couldn't hurt either. To say the experience changed my life is a gross understatement. Upon returning home, I was very fortunate to begin teaching right away at private studios and health centers. I discovered I love teaching, another surprise, and feel great reward by passing on the positive and practical aspects of Yoga.

Through refining my personal practice, I have become more and more interested in the connection between consistent practice and the relief of depression and stress. I feel better than I have ever felt, with no medications, and am convinced it is because of my Yoga practice. In 2006 I went to the Integral ashram Yogaville in Virginia to study Yoga for Stress Management. I currently incorporate many of the practices I learned there into my yoga classes, as well as teach stress management workshops at conferences and in the workplace.

I am a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level, and am a Certified Stress Management Instructor. I am also First Aid and CPR Certified, and carry liability insurance. As long as my money lasts, I will continue my training, attending workshops and programs taught by noted individuals in the field. I also read everything I can get my hands on pertaining to Yoga, Buddhism, spirituality, meditation, stress and depression. Even though this practice is 3 or 4 thousand years old, it is still relevant and there is always a new way to incorporate it into our days.

May everyone find peace and contentment in their lives,