Celebrating Yoga Month: An Interview with Kevin Ryder

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September is National Yoga Month. To invoke the spirit of the month, I have been interviewing yoga instructors and asking them what inspires and motivates them.

This week, I would like to introduce you to Kevin Ryder, founder of Kashi Kids, a foundation that creates education opportunities for impoverished children in India.

Kevin and I discussed what yoga means to him, his daily yoga practice, his work with the Alice Project and the Swami Harshwananda School and his beliefs about the importance of Karma Yoga, the yoga of work, deeds and action, a much neglected part of the American physical yoga scene.

KevinRyder

Kevin Ryder in Varanasi, India with Alice Project students: Yogi, Bachu Baba, Manish and Ashish. (Photo credit: Darren River)

Meet Kevin Ryder …

Olive: Let’s get started … How long have you been teaching yoga?

Kevin: 14 years

Olive: What inspired you to become a yoga instructor?

Kevin: I loved all aspects of the practice, physical and philosophical, and friends asked me to teach. I took 1000+ hours of different teacher trainings to guide me.

Olive: Wow! More than 1,000 hours of training? That’s dedication! How many hours a week do you dedicate to you own personal yoga practice?

Kevin: Asanas, pranayama, meditation and study of texts takes between three and four hours every day. I take one day off per week of physical practices. Then, I teach several hours a day, which doesn’t count as practice time.

Olive: You have a very full schedule. Do you have any favorite travel destinations?

Kevin: India, Pakistan, Italy and Spain.

Olive: Do you have a passion project? 

Kevin: I do and I invite everyone to read this article that ran in the Battery Park Broadsheet. This article provides in-depth details about Kashi Kids and the Alice Project. (Page 2; “Burning Desire: ‘Kashi Kids’ Project Helps Youths Live and Learn”).

Olive: What an incredible article! I encourage everyone to take the time to read it and get involved.

Olive: Do you have a favorite place to go or visit in NYC?

Kevin: As long as I’m on my bicycle … everywhere!  All the bridges, DUMBO, Prospect Park, and anything on the water.

Olive: What is your favorite yoga pose?

Kevin: The closing sequence: headstand, shoulder stand, plow, fish, kapalabhati, pranayama, savasana.

Olive: What advice would you give to yoga beginners?

Kevin: The first Yoga Sutra of Patanjali says: atha yoganusasanam, which means “Now we begin yoga.”  It is always “now,” so begin.

Olive: Do you have a personal philosophy about yoga that you are willing to share?

Kevin: Courage, compassion, gratitude and love are the keys to yoga. The rest is all advertising.

Olive: How has yoga impacted your life?

Kevin: How has it NOT impacted my life? I am in awe of its’ constantly unfolding nature.

If you wish to help sponsor more children at the Alice Project by contributing to Kashi Kids or just seeking more information, please contact Mr. Ryder by e-mail at YogaCycle@yahoo.com.

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