Mike Riley

“Do you know any good yoga jokes?” Mike Riley said.

No, can’t say I do. Do you?, his interviewer responded.

“What is the pirate’s favorite yoga position? The plank pose,” he said and chuckled.

Riley says he’s normally quite serious during his yoga sessions. The laugh comes after class. He wants to guide people within their own bodies towards a place of calm, a task he has devoted his life to over the past decade while teaching throughout the Greater Hartford area, including at Hartford Public Library.

Riley will be part of HPL’s Wellness Wednesday series, airing on Facebook.

Breathing is the most important part of yoga practice – it’s called pranayama, or controlling the breath. “When you laugh it is a way of controlling breath unconsciously,” he said.

For a long time in his life, Riley was angry. He felt unsettled. It impacted him as a father and as a husband. “I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t be quiet. I reacted to every thought I had in my head,” he said.

Ten years ago Riley saw an advertisement for a yoga class at a local church on Thursday evening at 6 pm. He decided to give it a try. “I don’t know how the seed got planted but I wanted to do it,” he said.

After three classes, Riley began to pay attention to what was happening inside. He was unearthing things from his past, wrestling with his dissatisfaction and sadness. He came out on the other side with insight and more peace than before.

“I went deeper and deeper. I became a teacher,” he said.

Thanks to constant yoga practice, Riley feels he is better able to manage his life and hopes that he can share his tools and techniques with others.

“Yoga has allowed me the space to let go of that which doesn’t make sense to me, which can be challenging,” Riley said.

Riley believes that yoga is an answer to the anxiousness and anxiety that pervades the modern world. “The answers are there and the need is there,” he said. “What yoga does is connect your mind, body and breath … the minute you are focused on your breathing, you really don’t do anything else. The mind really just begins to calm.”

The stakes are more than just a vague sense of peace. Riley believes that yoga helps us become a witness to our own lives, and leads us to our truest self.

“We are more than our names. We are more than the color of our skins. We more than who we ever believed ourselves to be,” Riley said.

– By Steven Scarpa, Manager, Communications and Public Relations


2 Responses to Presenter Profile: Mike Riley

  • Sean Weir says:

    Mike Riley is a Veteran and Certified in Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans
    I am very thank full to notice that the public library is making these Mind Body practices available especially for what many are experiencing challenges stress that these practices have been shown to improve a person’s and community wellness
    I highly recommend

    Sean Weir



    Mindful Responder.org

  • Sharon Riley says:

    As a sister I am proud of your achievements so continue doing your good work and stay blessed


Encore Search: