Richelle Muscroft moved to Squamish from Vancouver last year as a brand-new yoga teacher. “I hadn’t even taught a public class yet!” Richelle said, “This year has been quite the ride in a lot of beautiful and difficult ways.”
Richelle said that the driving force that inspired her to get her yoga teacher training was when she learnt of an organization called Yoga Outreach who offered yoga in treatment centres and correctional facilities.
“I lost my dad to addiction and thought a beautiful way to honour him and help others would be by teaching yoga at treatment centres,” Richelle said.
Richelle completed her 200-hour training in 2015 followed by a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training, and then began volunteering at a treatment centre in Vancouver.
“Whenever I left the treatment centre, I felt elated and refreshed. I loved offering yoga in this setting and found it really fulfilling. I was learning more and more about the amazing ways in which you can offer yoga and it felt very empowering and motivating.”
After taking a Yin Training, Richelle came across the concept of yoga therapy and the 300-hour Foundations Yoga Therapy Program. “Everything I was reading made me think ‘Yes! This is what I want to do with yoga!’”
From her personal experiences with loss, Richelle entered the program with the intention of helping people suffering from grief, depression and addiction. “Chelsea Lee [Yoga Therapy program director] and the other facilitators really opened up the doors,” Richelle said. “They showed me the different avenues that you could use yoga therapy. It was inspiring.”
Richelle enjoys the personalized and individual nature of Yoga Therapy and said that through the program, she discovered a new love of anatomy.
“It was really cool to see how much I enjoyed integrating those tangible elements through identifying misalignments in the body and understanding how I can help with that on a physical and energetic level.”
In addition to her volunteering, Richelle now works at an addictions and wellness centre in Squamish teaching yoga and meditation. She also offers private yoga therapy sessions and teaches a variety of public yoga classes including Yin, Healing Hatha and Yoga for Men.
Despite all of her success, Richelle says she still has moments of self-doubt and impostor syndrome.
“In those moments, you really have to look at what you’ve done and be proud of that. Squamish is a beautiful community and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to teach and how much I’ve learned and accomplished thus far. I am also so grateful for the practice and how it has helped me on my journey.”
Richelle hopes to continue studying to become a fully certified Yoga Therapist with the 500-hour Advanced Yoga Therapy Program, which is currently in development at VSOHA.
“It’s been a really cool journey so far and truly empowering for me to be able to turn my experiences into something positive that I can offer others. I’m looking forward to seeing where yoga therapy is going and excited to be part of the team of people pursuing this field.”
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