As Valedictorian of my high school and top of my Chapman University graduating class, it may seem strange that I have chosen yoga as my full-time job, but I have been a lover of yoga since age 11 when I stumbled upon my first yoga book.
A couple years later, my mom brought me to my first yoga class. While I found the moving and stretching to be quite enjoyable, it was Savasana (Corpse pose) at the end of the class that really sparked my interest. As the teacher mentally guided me through my body, I drifted into a state between sleep and dream that I had never before experienced. Fascinated, I started reading every spiritual text I could get my hands on and got a job working at the desk at the former Yoga Place (now Yoga Works) with the perk of free yoga classes.
The gifts of inner peace, self-acceptance, and joy that my regular yoga practice brought me over the years naturally led to my desire to teach others. By the time I was 17, I had saved up enough money to enter a formal yoga teacher training program through Yoga Place, under the tutelage of Karin O’Bannon (dedicated student of BKS Iyengar). I received my National Yoga Alliance certification in 2002 and soon became an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher).
As a Social Science major at Chapman University a year later, I investigated humankind on a social and emotional level, studying philosophy, sociology, religion, leadership, and psychology. Realizing that Chapman offered no courses in yoga, I determined to create a Yoga Club on campus in which I acted as both president and sole teacher. Then in February 2004 I got my first real teaching position at Triad Yoga in Irvine, California. Shortly thereafter I graduated summa cum laude from Chapman University with a degree in Social Sciences.
A year later, I went back to school to fulfill an aspiration to learn more about the science of the human body. I studied anatomy, chemistry, biology, and physics with the goal of obtaining my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. In my heart though, I was unsure if science alone was my true path and vacillated between an interest in Western medicine on the one hand and spiritual studies on the other.
As fate would have it, I was contacted in 2008 by National Yoga Institute in regards to taking on a position organizing and leading courses for their accredited 200-hour yoga teacher trainings at the newly founded Orange County location. This job would require me to not only teach, but also design all of the daily lessons plans for the course. I knew this would be quite a demanding undertaking and indeed a full-time job. Seeing this as a chance of a lifetime, I quit my job waitressing, discontinued my Physical Therapy studies, and jumped passionately into this new job.
Leading teacher trainings for NYI turned out to be a life-changing decision and a dream come true! I got the unique opportunity to marry my love of science with my passion for philosophy. I taught my teacher trainees everything from anatomy, physiology, and the nature of the human body to the history and philosophy of yoga. They learned the Sanskrit names of yoga asanas (poses) as well as their benefits and modifications, proper breathing techniques, kriyas (cleansing techniques), and even the business and leadership aspects of becoming a yoga teacher.
In 2009 I created my own independent yoga school, True Flow Yoga, through which I am capable of certifying teacher training graduates as National Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teachers at the 200-hour level (RYT-200). I also currently teach regular weekly yoga classes at Sports Club LA in Irvine, Yoga Shakti, and Equinox in my own TrueFlow style. In addition, I teach promotional yoga classes for Lululemon Athletica, offer private yoga lessons by appointment, teach topic-specific workshops, and host yoga retreats in the most beautiful places in the country and the world!
Teaching yoga is so rewarding for me. As the mutli-dimensional and multi-disciplinary practice that yoga is, the learning never ends. After 16 years as a student of yoga, I am still eager and passionate to dig deeper. I continue to enjoy practicing many styles with an open heart and mind, extracting the nectar of what each has to offer: Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bhakti, Yin, Viniyoga, Anusara, Restorative. With almost a decade of teaching experience, I have finally found my own voice and style that blends anatomical precision, philosophical eloquence, and spiritual curiosity. TrueFlowYoga ©, as I have coined my style, is an innovative blend of traditional yogic disciplines combined into unique and vigorous vinyasa flow sequences that synchronize breath with movement. I strongly believe in the personal benefits of yoga but also hold that the true purpose of yoga is not just to make an individual feel better, but also to make the world a little better by bringing more consciousness and compassion into it, one yogi at a time.
Brynn Rybacek, E-RYT