Everyone from the newbie yogi to yoga instructors can learn something from Richard, I know I did!
Through his workshops, classes and individual sessions, Richard Gartner reaches 100 yogis a week in Pittsburgh and beyond. He fosters a non-dogmatic and compassionate attitude about students’ abilities and circumstances.
Richard’s style is paradoxically both unique and universal. His instructions allow for any student to approach the practice, embracing all levels of experience and ability. This allows for anybody to explore their own unique structure and make every practice their own.
This philosophy is carried over to Onward Facing Yoga, an app Richard released in September 2015.
The eleven sequences on Onward Facing Yoga playfully explore various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and breathwork, at various levels of challenge. This results in a robust yoga curriculum that allows anybody to listen inward and choose a practice that’s right for them.
His knowledge of yoga and his willingness to give you advice allows you to improve your skills through a deeper understanding of your body. The benefits of this knowledge extend quickly beyond the yoga lesson to everyday life.
For teacher training programs looking to enhance their curriculum, Richard offers several modules. They include a 12-hour Yin Yoga module called ‘Guiding the Quiet Revolution’; a 15-hour study of the vertical fascial lines, using Tom Meyers’ ‘Anatomy Trains’ as a base; and a 12-hour Foundational Anatomy series that covers all the major joint and muscle functions.
Richard’s approach is influenced by his primary teacher, Tias Little. Tias developed Prajna Yoga, which means ‘the yoga of deep insight.’ Tias describes Prajna Yoga as a ‘style-less style’, where the yoga should fit the student and not the other way around.
For Richard, this ‘style-less style’ means a yoga practice should be vibrant, in-the-moment and multi-disciplinary. His teachings fuse traditional posture and breathwork with contemporary anatomy and bodywork. He draws from many forms of yoga, fascial release, mindfulness techniques, and common sense.
Richard helped me understand that yoga is not a substitute for something better, but indeed is the foundation of a complete physical regimen that can be as intense or as restorative as anyone might want.