About Ryan McGraw

I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years. As a person with Cerebral Palsy, I started doing yoga for my physical benefit; to keep my muscles strong and flexible. When I first started doing yoga my goal was to obtain the full expression of each pose. Even though I still received some benefits from yoga practice, I found that my body was often in pain after yoga class.

As I began to do yoga more regularly, I found that yoga was becoming more than just a physical practice for me. I was noticing the mental and emotional benefits of yoga. I wanted to delve deeper in the philosophy of yoga. At this same time my physical yoga practice was evolving. I was learning to listen to the needs of my body and adapt yoga poses according to those needs. Many of my yoga teachers showed me how to respect the needs of my body. With this knowledge of greater body awareness, I was able to deepen my practice by adaption. Thus, my practice got deeper as moved away from the thinking that obtaining the ‘classical’ form of the pose was the goal of yoga. I discovered by respecting the needs of my body I was not only better to able to receive the physical benefits of yoga, it opened me to the mental and spiritual benefits of yoga as well.

Along with this new connection I felt with my body, I wanted to learn as much as I could about yoga. I took many workshops during these next few years, using the information to grow in my personal practice. A special thanks to all my yoga teachers and mentors that have helped me grow on my yoga journey and in life, especially: Gabriel Halpern, Karina Ayn Mirsky, Lori Gasper, and Chris Briney

In 2010, I finally felt prepared to enter a yoga teacher training program. I received my 200 hour Yoga Alliance teaching certification through Prairie Yoga. Although I have enormous respect for and have practiced many styles of yoga: Iyengar, Para yoga, and Anusara just to name a few, my personal practice and teaching is mostly based on the Iyengar style of teaching which emphasizes adaptation of poses as well as body awareness, and alignment. Even though I may have a teaching certification, I am still constantly learning and growing in my yoga practice. I primarily practice at the Yoga Circle in Chicago, under the guidance of Gabriel Halpern.

Outside of yoga, I hold a Masters Degree in Disability and Human Development. I have a passion for disability rights and advocacy. I enjoy Zen meditation, running, swimming, being out in nature and travel.