Rick’s yoga journey started 17 years ago in a little country town in the Upper Hunter Valley, and like a lot of us he came to it as a way to keep a back that had been badly injured, mobile. At the time he was working and running a cattle property with his partner, and regular Yoga became an excellent addition to the exercise programme his physio had prescribed several years earlier.
Yoga also blended nicely with the meditation he’d been introduced to through his partner attending retreats with a teacher.
That little town in the bush was unusual, yoga was strongly supported, and as one teacher moved on, another student would pursue teacher training to step into the void, the differing styles being a great addition to what had come before.
One evening an old teacher rang suggesting he thought it was time for Rick to pursue teacher training too as he’d heard the current teacher was soon to leave.
In 2012 Rick completed a RYT-200 teacher training and became accredited with Yoga Alliance and soon started teaching, working with and then taking over when the towns’ then teacher moved on, classes being held across three country towns.
Several years later during a particularly turbulent and challenging emotional time, a clever psychologist pushed him towards a Vipassana meditation retreat, ten days of silence and meditation, a period of intense self-discovery that illuminated the benefits of a daily meditation practice, which along with his yoga helped navigate the uncertainty of the next couple of years where he left the country and teaching, moving to the city to start afresh while continuing to
intensely work on healing and learning.
Having worked through that healing phase and moving from Canberra to the Northern Rivers in 2018, it’s now time to again pass on how powerful yoga and meditation can be to help us navigate the vicissitudes of life. Seeing people experience those small moments of peace is a real buzz.
Rick’s formal training was in the classic Hatha style, while his very early teachers used a Japanese style that is based on the seasons, Chinese medicine, and is very core focused. These, along with the many classes he’s been to have all been influences, but he tends to teach with a focus on core
strength and slower movement focusing on alignment and breathing, and often using props such as straps, blocks and blankets to help as arm and floor extensions.
Physiologically we’re all different, with vastly different levels of strength, flexibility and old injuries to work around. Sometimes it’s just impossible to approach a ‘classic’ posture which is where modifications and props come in to help ease our movement.
Physical yoga is more than just stretching. Our breath dictates where we start and stop the movement. The breath and movement being inextricably linked.
‘Yoga is movement contained within the breath’ is something you’ll hear in class, an aphorism picked up from an early teacher.
Rick has used his own practice to help manage and work around old injuries like back, knees, shoulders, wrists, etc that we tend to accumulate over the years, and it enables him to continue working at his current full time occupation as a commercial refrigeration and air conditioning tech which can involve quite a bit of hard, physical and awkward work.
And while we tend to focus on the physical benefits, he feels the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation are probably more powerful than the physical. Having battled lifelong anxiety, Rick believes that meditation with yoga can give you the mental space to help manage that most debilitating disorder.
"A regular meditation practice allows our mind to put things in perspective, things become less overwhelming. Meditation acting like a circuit breaker allows us to manage the stresses of life in a much more healthy way and live life with greater perspective."