Ricky Tran’s Yoga
For transformation & healing
Dallas Yoga Magazine is honored to keep our readers updated with Ricky Tran’s new adventures. From his Pop-up Yoga Dallas classes, teacher trainings and bringing his classes to other cities throughout the country and internationally, Ricky is a very, very busy yogi. His experience and knowledge are phenomenal and anyone who has the chance to be one of his students is never disappointed…and they often become his life long students. Let’s have Ricky tell us all about what’s currently happening in his practice.
DYM: For the new yoga enthusiast reading this who may not know you, why don’t you share a little about your background and how you got into yoga?
Ricky: Namaste. I started practicing yoga over 13 years ago solely for the physical benefits. I was recovering from a meth addiction at the time, and all I wanted was to repair the damage I had done to my body. I was lucky to have found Suze Curtis in Addison and I consider her my first yoga teacher. I don’t think I would be here today doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for her. She set me on a long and fulfilling journey towards knowing my true Self.
The more I practiced, the more I learned about my body and mind.
The more I learned, the more I wanted to know. At some point, Suze nudged me out of her studio and practice, so I could spread my wings and fly. I sought out some of the most respected teachers of authentic yoga I could find. I had tried some Iyengar and Ashtanga classes locally and regionally. I had met some wonderful teachers like George Purvis of the BKS Iyengar Method and David Swenson of Pattabhi Jois’s Ashtanga Vinyasa Method. I then met Sri Dharma Mittra and took a few weekend workshops with him. His compassionate nature had a big impact on me at the time. Then I found Srivatsa Ramaswami and he taught the Vinyasa Krama Method, and I studied with him in Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University for 6 weeks during the fall of 2008. He blew my mind with the yoga practice and theory. You see, he had spent 33 years studying with the teacher of Iyengar and Jois. His teachings were so profound and unique that I had to go back and do it again, so I could begin to understand what he was talking about. I have returned to study with him 7 times over the past 10 years, and I will be spending another 2 weeks with him later this summer. I also lend loving credit to David Williams, whom I met after Ramaswami. Williams and I have developed a friendship and continue to stay in touch on a regular basis. For those who do not know of Williams, he is the man who brought Jois’ Ashtanga Vinyasa out of India in the 70s. He was also the only westerner to have learned the entire Ashtanga Vinyasa syllabus from the first movement to the final posture of Advanced B (now 6th Series) and the complete Ashtanga Pranayama sequence directly from Jois. In summary, my practice is a combination of Ashtanga Vinyasa, Vinyasa Krama, Iyengar as well as other useful methods I have learned along the way from wonderful teachers of other wonderful traditions.
DYM: I know you and still every time I hear your background I’m so overwhelmed. It’s very impressive. So, you have taught yoga in many different cities in the United States. Where are some of your favorite places to teach and why?
Ricky: I have indeed taught at many places around the US. The neat thing about teaching outside of my home town is there is much more respect for what I have to say. There are a couple sayings that come to mind: “An expert is someone from out of town” and “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” I have enjoyed the yoga communities in New York, Florida, Massachusetts, DC, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, and California. It is always enjoyable when others pay attention to what I have to say about yoga and life! I haven’t gone internationally due to passport issues, but I plan to begin that journey in 2019!
DYM: We can’t wait to hear about your International journey! We are so happy for you. Why do you think people love your trainings and classes?
Ricky: I think what people love about my yoga is that there is a transmission of authenticity to them. When the student is open to what I have to my teachings, it usually has a profound impact on their mental and physical states. For those who want to go deep down the rabbit hole with me, I can show them how to experience their True Essence and verbalize what the experience should or would be. On the other side of the coin, the things that people like about me are also the things that people dislike about me. I call things how I see it and those who are easily offended or tend to judge quickly may get turned off. You see, I challenge people to get over themselves and sometimes that is uncomfortable. I can be nurturing and equally tough. Call it tough love.
Picture Headstand on Bridge goes here
DYM: You do incredible balancing and strength poses. One of my favorites is when you are in a handstand and in a flash you have crossed your legs. It’s like you are in an upside down lotus pose. What is your advice for someone just learning to balance and build their strength?
Ricky: Practice and patience. Let go of your attachment to the outcome. Just do the work. Do your best. Listen to your body. Rest when appropriate. Do not push through pain. Last but probably most important: find a good teacher. Not all hand balancers are good teachers.
DYM: You are so much more than your poses, you love kirtan. Can you explain what kirtan is, in case someone does not know, and also how it enhances your practice?
Ricky: Kirtan is essentially call and response singing of Sanskrit names of the Divine. The kirtan leader will sing a mantra or few names and the participating audience will sing it back as they heard it. We do this back and forth for some time until the busy mind quiets and the heart opens. Meditation spontaneously happens and for some, a feeling of love and surrender will overcome the participant. It enhances a true yoga practice by quieting the mind. For those who are only interested in attaining a physical posture, I’m not sure it will help, but for those who are interested in authentic yoga, it is the fastest path to union.
DYM: You had a yoga studio in Carrollton for years, and you recently closed it. I know you are planning on traveling again, are you going to open a new place any time soon or utilize other places when you are in town?
Ricky: I do not plan on opening a new space anytime time soon because I do plan to travel again. In the meantime, I have started “Pop Up Yoga Dallas” and have been offering classes at in Addison Circle Park and other outdoor locations. I am not opposed to partnering with someone for a new studio. I just haven’t met that person yet! But with the PUYD program, I have recently had a vision of duplicating myself around town with the PUYD Affiliate Program. I am recruiting yoga teachers to train with me on how to do what I do and I will list them on my website to help them promote their classes. I am also going to offer monthly support meetings and help them grow their small business. My intention is to have 20 pop up yoga locations around town by this time next year. I believe that affiliates who can successfully build a new location can earn more money doing this than working their tails off at a yoga studio anywhere in town. I am here to help!
DYM: Tell us more about your Pop-Up Yoga classes…I’ve seen them on FaceBook.
Ricky: I secure outdoor locations with permits, if necessary, and then pop up and hold yoga classes for all levels on donation. The more I do this, the more PUYD evolves and I see partnerships with other entities such as restaurants that offer brunch, museums and other yoga friendly spaces.
DYM: Your teacher trainings are popular. Are you planning on having any this summer or fall?
Ricky: Because I am planning on international travel the second half of 2019, I will only be offering one last 200 and 300 hour training in Dallas if I can find a space to host it. I plan on meeting one weekend per month for both the 200 and 300 training starting in September. The 200 hour training will end in May while the 300 will meet for an additional 3.5 weekends in June 2019. After that, students will have to travel to train with me, so I hope to have a full class this next go around. I plan to cap the trainings at 15 students each.
DYM: What should students expect during your teacher training?
Ricky: The 200 hour trainees will learn how to breathe properly. It is so crazy to me that so many graduates from other 200 trainings still don’t know how to breath properly and how to connect correct movements with correct breathing. They will learn and experience the bandhas correctly as intended in the ancient scriptures. It seems there is a lot of bad information on the bandhas out there today. They will learn the essence of yoga philosophy, i.e. Yoga Sutra and the 8 limbs of practice. In learning this fundamental philosophy, they will understand why yogis practice asana, pranayama and meditation. So many people say there is no goal in yoga, but that is incorrect. The goal of yoga is Self knowledge. They will also learn several purifications known as kriyas. I use a lot of Sanskrit to transmit this ancient knowledge, because I believe the essence of yoga can not be adequately taught without Sanskrit. You see, it is only within the past century that we have come up with words to describe what the yogis have known thousands of years ago. The 200 hr trainees will learn how to make their practices feel good so they can practice the rest of their lives. They will learn how to do postures correctly for their bodies and see where the basic postures can advance. They will learn basic intelligent sequencing (krama) and how to do various sun salutations correctly. To exit the 200 hour training, they must be able to teach a well-rounded 60 minute yoga class leaving students in a true state of yoga. — The 300 hour trainees will revisit the fundamentals.
I have had 500 hour graduates from other schools come tell me they learned more about yoga and themselves in one weekend of training with me during my 200 hour than they did in all of their 500 hour training. There will likely be some of my previous students enrolling for the 300 as well as students who have trained elsewhere. The students coming from other schools really ought to take my 200 before taking my 300 but I will try to accommodate all by going over basics before we dive deeply. It’s always good to revisit the fundamentals. I say an advanced practitioner is one who have mastered the basics. My 300 hour training will focus on advancing their physical practice, pranayama, concentration and meditation, as well as advanced Yoga Sutra theory and more Sanskrit. My teacher who studied with Krishnamacharya said it wasn’t a matter of Krishnamachayra’s knowledge; it was a matter of retaining the information he was giving. I believe that is the case with my trainings as well. There is just so much knowledge presented. If the student is ready, it will be life changing. If not, it may be over their heads. When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
DYM: Often, I have yoga teachers ask me if I know of places who have the 500 hour teacher training. Are you planning on offering this certification?
Ricky: Yes, I plan on offering it. We begin in September if I can find a space. Please sign up for my newsletter at www.rickytranyoga.com
DYM: What is your future vision for your personal practice and your teaching?
Ricky: My goal is to maintain my physical practice, but in maintaining it, it advances! When I started, I could barely do wheel pose for a few breaths. I hated backhanding. I am now loving it, especially after a good warm up. I would like to be able to do all classes of postures with ease and stability for as long as I can this lifetime. My pranayama and meditation practice will continue deepen each and every year. I plan to continue to study the philosophies of yoga and my teachings will reflect that, but it seems my teachings have not really changed a whole lot over the years as I haven’t met many students who take their practice as deeply as I have taken mine. I meet them where they are and help guide them down the path of Self-Realization. The first stage is good health and therapy. The second stage is cheap thrills. The final stage is the highest spiritual knowledge; knowledge of Self.
DYM: Love that! What else would you like our readers to know?
Ricky: I would like the readers to know that yoga can be as much or as little as they want it to be. It can be something that will heal your physical pains. It can also be the thing that gives you enlightenment. Because the tools and knowledge of yoga have transformed my life, enabling me to experience true freedom, I have dedicated my life to sharing this with any and every sincere seeker who comes to me. Some may feel that I’m intimidating or scary, but I would like to let everyone know that I’m just a regular guy. I may not accept students forever but at this time, my door is open to any sincere and friendly seeker. Please reach out and let me know how I can help!
DYM: As always, you offer so much experience and insight into yoga utilizing the traditional aspects of yoga. We appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions and let our readers know your future plans and where they can find you. I have spoke to so many of your students and they absolutely love you! Your teacher trainings have the reputation of being amazing. We look forward to hearing more about your future travels.
Get in touch with Ricky and find his schedule: