Brittany Richard is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Instructor who specializes in teaching curvy, body positive yoga. Since early childhood, Brittany has battled with a binge-eating disorder, obesity, depression, and negative body image issues. In March 2014, then 26-year-old Brittany fell in love with yoga shortly after having her second child. Like many women and mothers, Brittany found herself at a place in life where she knew she needed to become more active and healthy for herself and children.
Through her practice of yoga and meditation, she has learned to accept and love her body and is now helping others find a new way of living life without limitations.
As a larger, curvier woman, Brittany now teaches ‘Body Positive' Yoga Classes designed with everyBODY in mind—from first-timers and the yoga-curious, to those who have been practicing for a while but are seeking to practice with others who are similar in shape and size.
Name: Brittany Danielle (Faulk) Richard
Occupation: Yoga Teacher
Location: Charlotte, NC
Favorite yoga style: Vinyasa
Favorite yoga pose: Adho mukha svanasana and Hanumanasana
Yoga is… Therapy. A natural way of healing the body and mind from the inside out. It's a grounding mechanism that gives you the power and freedom to become your ultimate self. Challenging yet satisfying yoga, if you let it, can change your life in so many ways. From learning to accept and love yourself as a whole to gaining self-confidence that empowers you to live a life without limitations.
What Do You Love Most About Yoga?
Yoga gives me a euphoric feeling that is intoxicating. Like a drug, yoga is my ‘healthy’ addiction that gives me the power to fight back.
Whether I'm battling with an ED episode or struggling with my depression, anxiety, body image, and all of life's ups and downs, yoga saves me from the darkness and from self-destructive behavior that negatively impact my life and overall health.
Yoga is not just a pose. It is a practice and an art, and the freedom of self-cultivation.
How Has Yoga Changed Your Life, Personality And Physique?
Yoga has given me the tools and ability to take control over my life. Three years ago, prior to any knowledge of yoga, I never thought that I, an obese, depressed, conflicted woman could ever love herself, much less like the reflection in the mirror.
My self-discovery journey started when I began practicing yoga in March of 2014. Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing. All that knew was yoga made me feel good about myself, and that was enough for me to continue practicing despite the physical challenges.
Throughout my practice, I have grown into a confident, open minded, strong woman. I now understand that just because you don't look like or have the "ideal body" that society says is acceptable, it does not mean there's no value in who you are. To me, value comes from embracing yourself and giving your body the love and respect it deserves, at any size.
Yes, I have lost a great amount of weight practicing yoga, but that is not my personal reason for getting on my mat daily or what I teach to my students. I have come to accept and love my body, and all its imperfections. Because of this, I've become happier and healthier, and can now help others move towards their own self-realization.
There is a story behind every stretch mark, dimple, and ounce of cellulite marked on my body, and to me, all that is written is beautiful and unique on any body.
What Everyday Things Did You Get Better At Because Of Yoga?
To be honest, I got better at living life, my life. Yoga has a way of stirring up a lot shit that resides deep within us. Things that are tucked away so deep that in the daily swing of things, we tend to forget they are there.
My practice of yoga began at a crucial time in my life. I was separating from my husband, had just recently had a baby three months prior, and also had a two-year-old. Life for me was anything but normal. Yoga gave me the strength get through all the difficult transitions.
How Do You Keep Your Yoga Practice Interesting And Challenging?
There have been and are still times I get burned out on teaching and maintaining my own practice. It's hard to always be on repeat and give yourself to others. I feel any yoga teacher or practitioner at some point has, or will, experience that feeling.
So to keep my practice interesting, I like to travel and explore new places that my soul can connect too. Getting outdoors and away from the yoga studio is how I often reconnect myself to my practice and rediscover my purpose.
To keep things challenging, I like to find and create new ways to make yoga more accessible for myself and my students. Doing yoga is like participating in any other sport. You have ups and downs, but the love for the game is what keeps you going.
What Book, Website Or Person Inspires You?
From the beginning, to where I am today, the Instagram Yoga Community has been my inspiration and support system, and at times, my life support. To be able to connect with millions of women all over the world and share our experiences, thoughts, encouragement, and love is rather remarkable.
With all the negativity people encounter daily and see on social media, it's comforting to know that there is a place that will accept you. I know many people think us "grammers" are here doing what we do for the "likes"—some may be, but for myself, I gain inspiration from seeing other women and men transform into their true selves.
That is the reason I became a yoga teacher; to connect and help heal those who are a lot like and unlike myself.
Daily, I get hundreds of emails and messages from followers who trust and confide in me; sharing their fears, self-doubt, and mostly just what's going wrong in life. To know their struggles and then witness them overcome years of abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, and much more, gives me hope.
This is the hope that inspires me daily to continue what I am doing and be an active, positive figure both within my community and social media.
Which Yoga Pose Challenges You the Most?
Any type of arm balances. At one point, I considered myself less of a "yogi" because I couldn't do them. Side Crow, Firefly, and forearm stand, etc. are all still very hard for me.
Accepting that my body isn't ready for advance poses was tough. However, I found peace in accepting my practice for what it is and what it isn't, and I think that is what yoga is supposed to teach us—to accept and love ourselves for who we are now.
What are Your Go-To Yoga Poses When You’re Stressed or In Need of an Energy Boost?
Sun Salutations, hip and chest openers, and inversions.
When I'm stressed, I tend to hit my mat hardcore. Pounding through a sweaty, power Vinyasa class and/or emerging myself into deep stretches and inversions helps relieve my stresses and gives me a boost of energy that leaves me feeling grounded, powerful, and refocused.
What Do You Listen To When You Practice Yoga?
A mix of everything. From indie music to rap, hip hop, and rock roll. I love it all.
What’s The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?
I’ve gotten a lot of great advice over the years, but I've found that the best advice is usually the simplest and can often come from ourselves. The greatest advice I've ever given to myself is, "Follow your dreams and stop caring about what people think of you. Whatever you do, do it for you and because you're worth it".
What’s Your #1 Piece of Advice for Those Just Starting Their Yoga Practice?
For anyone who's looking to get into yoga or is just starting their own practice, I'd like to say, Yes, it may be hard in the beginning, but don't stop practicing because you think you can't do it. Just keep f*cking going. If you fall, go ahead and fall three more times. Laugh at yourself. You are human and allowed to make mistakes.
No one's practice will be perfect and no individual practice will ever be alike. Don't get caught up in trying to do fancy poses, it's the basics that will build you. Never lose sight of why you practice, and if you do take a break, your heart will guide you back.
Trust in yourself that you can do anything, because you really can! And always, always accept where you are—both in life and within your practice, and remember to give yourself and body the daily love and attention it deserves.