Let me introduce myself- my name is Jodi. I’m a mom, wife, sister, aunt, former police academy director, friend and yoga teacher. I was born into the law enforcement family that honored discipline and service. I naturally gravitated to a career in criminal justice and my law enforcement career spans 27 years and counting. I was the Police Academy Director at Grand Rapids Community College for 12 years and I am proud to have graduated approximately 500 new officers. I have a huge passion for all people, but First Responders are my heart. This is the story of Yoga Blue.
My personal journey with yoga began 7 years ago, after realizing that I needed an alternative to running and the gym. “Hot” yoga was the new thing to do, and one steamy day in July I found myself in a 96 degree room on a rented yoga mat. I didn’t have any yoga clothes. I wasn’t versed in yoga poses or the vocabulary. I just listened to the teacher and took one breath at a time. I could not do every pose. I rested often. I modified a lot. After a few classes, I noticed I felt more alive and less stressed. My husband even started to suggest (often) that I needed to go to yoga. Looking back, I realize he saw the change in me. He liked the wife that returned from yoga better than the wife that left for yoga. I did, too.
After 3 years of practicing yoga, I knew that I needed to share Yoga with Police recruits and Police Officers. I attended a two-week training in Texas to become a certified Yoga Teacher. It was inevitable that this practice would be beneficial to the Law enforcement field in managing stress with focused breathing, movement and mindfulness. I was able to share Yoga for over 3 years with boot camp students and Police recruits before leaving my position at the college.
During my yoga teacher certification, I was also training for the Police Unity Tour. A large portion of my $2,000 pledge money for the four day, 350 mile bike ride was raised by teaching yoga to local Police departments and Grand Rapids fire department. The overwhelmingly positive response from the departments was thrilling. It was incredible to watch their bodies morph from stiff and sore to peaceful and relaxed by the end of the class. They left the room more aware, awake and revived. It was exciting to see the benefits I had personally been experiencing from yoga come to life around me. Thank you to my little brother at Wyoming PD for being the first to say yes and to ALL of you who opened your doors to yoga training in your departments!
The idea of opening a yoga studio specifically for first responders and their families rolled around in my head for more than 3 years, resurfacing again and again until I finally listened. Facing one of the most historically stressful times for law enforcement, I was convinced and supported by my friends and peers that the time is NOW. I was encouraged that making my idea a reality, could only be a positive move. As trained, I responded quickly. Within 90 days, I found a studio space, signed a lease, and watched my rock star husband buy power tools and use a staple gun. My two sons pitched in building, learning the power and reward of doing hard work for a bigger cause. YOGA BLUE is ready to serve mind, body, and soul today because of the loving hands that believed in my idea enough to make it tangible.
The truth? This is scary. The financial and time commitment is enormous for me and my family. We are only at the very beginning of completely uncharted territory. The reality? All my training and all my experience has led me here. I know my parents are cheering me on in heaven, and I won’t let them down! I was born for this
I am so excited you’re here.
Peace and Namaste!
Jodi Richhart, 500 hr RYT
Jodi fell in Love with Yoga after the very first class and never stopped. She got her 200 hour level certification after only 2 years of practicing Yoga to share with her Police Recruits and First Responder Community. Her 27 years in Law Enforcement field has prepared her to be easily adaptable, flexible and easy to get along with. She has a strong passion for people and for sharing her excitement with others. She really believes is her Yoga Blue mission to build Strength, Flexibility and Community for First Responders, their families and our Community.
Jodi has a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice Leadership, 500- hour RYT through The Yoga Project. Cooper Certified in Law Enforcement Fitness Specialist, and is a Broga ® Yoga Instructor.
Jen Monroe, 200 hr RYT
Katie Richter, 200 hr RYT
photo credit: Christina Leskovar Photography