Meet The Teach: Justin Ritchie
Justin Ritchie wants to extend the post-yoga-class-serenity into each moment of the day. To boost awareness, he encourages his students to feel more and think less. In his classes at Laughing Lotus, Mang’Oh and Crunch he may experiment with diaphragm breath work, or a chanted mantra. He’s now offering a new style of teaching that’s called the Constant Yogi which calls on a variety of mindful practices with the intention to connect deeper into life. YogaCity NYC’s Elysha Lenkin sat down to learn more about Justin and his latest endeavor.
Elysha Lenkin: What brought you to yoga?
Justin Ritchie: I first started these practices through meditation. Many years ago I was a stock broker and couldn’t sleep for the life of me. I was very intense all the time. I would lay my head down at night, and it couldn’t stop -- I couldn’t sleep. The only thing I knew about meditation at the time was that it was a practice of quieting the mind, and that’s what I needed. So I looked up on the internet how to meditate, found a great article, and it worked. In 6 weeks I had very little trouble sleeping and after 6 months I never had trouble sleeping again. Through my gym I had found my way into a yoga class, and as soon as I took the class I understood (after years of meditating) it is like meditation, but with your body as well. So it stuck and I ended up taking more classes, and I eventually started going to a yoga studio full time.
EL: What led you to teaching?
JR: The more I found myself in yoga and meditation, the less my job made sense at a deep level. Being a stockbroker was fun and entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. It brought out the worst in me. It brought out the aggressive side and the manipulative side of me. I started to make decent money at it, and realized that either I was going to have to give it up , or probably not be able to turn that sort of mentality off because I was having trouble turning it off already in my personal life. So I just up and quit one day.
EL: Now, several years later you’ve developed a new teaching style called Constant Yogi. Where did this idea come from?