For seven years, Chris Dunphy sat behind a desk, giving people financial advice on behalf of RBC. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find him sitting at all.
“I thought I was more a part of the problem as opposed to part of the solution — giving people loans, credit lines, advising on their finances and watching their self-worth rise and fall with the value of their RSPs,” he said on the phone from Port Moody, B.C.
Dunphy, 35, left the security of the institution, trading in dollars for downward dogs. Always athletic, and slowly realizing the limitations of an aging body, he decided to make a 180-degree career change and pursue yoga instruction.
“I found people were wrapped up in the material,” he said. “Yoga gets you out of that and says all the rest of this stuff is just frills. If you can’t be happy with yourself, no amount of frills is going to make you happy.”
He shed excess, refinanced his home and opened Newport Yoga Studio in Port Moody in late 2006.
Now, his studio offers 15 different kinds of yoga and pilates classes, taught by nine different instructors.
To become a certified teacher, Dunphy took an intensive 200-hour course at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga on Salt Spring Island, B.C. Standards to become certified vary across regions. But the international body Yoga Alliance outlines educational requirements necessary to be dubbed a registered yoga teacher (RYT) that include technique, teaching, anatomy and philosophy training over a 200- or 500-hour period.
“Once you get into yoga instruction, you’re a yoga student for the rest of your life,” said Dunphy. From hatha yoga, which uses poses to promote flexibility and relieve stress to laughter yoga, which uses breathing exercises and chanting to stimulate laughter, Dunphy said there are dozens of styles to try out.
“There are so many areas to continue to learn and grow in terms of teaching and practice.”
One area he’s grown in is the spiritual side of yoga. As yoga means “union” of the mind, body and spirit, it’s separate from other modes of exercise that are usually bound solely to the body. Admittedly far to the physical end of the yoga continuum when he started, Dunphy said he learned to embrace its other spheres, motivated by his passion to help others.
“I think one particular part of yoga grabs you and then from there you really start to investigate the other parts,” he said. “You can take them as deep or as shallow as you really want to take it.
“That’s the beauty of yoga — it’s got something for everybody.”