Ryan has become a hugely valuable asset to our community in the last months. Truly, it’s hard to imagine what it was like before he started practicing here!
He comes to numerous classes each week and helps us out in so many ways. From folding towels to parking duty to construction projects, Ryan shows up like a champ with a great attitude and plenty of energy for whatever arises. He is a true Karma Yogi, constantly looking for ways to serve without waiting to be asked. In fact, when we try and thank him for all he does, most often his reply is to thank us back! This kind of purity of service is rare and beautiful, and is an inspiration to us all.
Here’s what Ryan has to say about his practice and his journey with yoga:
“The experience that got me hooked on yoga actually happened when I was in treatment for addiction. I started because I wanted to get my anxiety and depression under control without using any substances. I found the asanas and the meditation gave me the tools to look inward and work on myself from the inside out.
What keeps me practicing almost every day is that it gives me an opportunity to check in with myself and really know how I am doing, what may be frustrating me, and also to push myself out of my comfort zone. I also have recently been diving into the yoga lifestyle and slowly trying to incorporate many of its values into everyday life, especially ahimsa (non-harming).
The most challenging pose for me at this moment would have to be tree pose. I think I let out a big sigh every time I do it. I am not the best at balance but it has helped my practice compassion and now I can laugh when I fall out of the pose instead of getting frustrated.
My favorite pose would be warrior 1 with the arms up and the heart shining forward. It has the feeling of being strong and rooted but also compassionate and vulnerable at the same time.
My mantra is to show up, be present and be non-judgmental. I do my best to practice my mantra on and off the mat.
I’m so grateful for having yoga in my life and all the great people I have met along the way. It’s hard to say how yoga has changed my life, the best way I can describe it is that yoga was the spark that ignited my passion for living to my fullest potential. It’s helped me find balance in my life when I had none and has given me the tools to uncover my true authentic self.
I can’t thank the teachers at Asheville Community Yoga enough for their support and help; they really make it a safe and comfortable place to really explore why you came to yoga in the first place. When I volunteer it feels more like a gift and not so much a task; sometimes I feel like I’m getting more from the whole volunteer experience than I am giving back.”
Ryan, you are an amazing inspiration, and it is an absolute honor to bear witness to your transformation. We love you and honor you, and are so grateful you choose to make Asheville Community Yoga your home-away-from-home.