Rachel Hector, IAYT certified yoga therapist and ERYT-500, has been teaching yoga since 2002. She holds a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas at Austin where she is currently completing her doctoral degree with a focus in yoga-related research.
Presently, Rachel teaches courses in the Austin, TX and Lafayette, LA areas. Rachel believes that everyone can benefit from yoga and that teachers should be equipped to adapt to a broad range of individual needs.
Thanks to the guidance of an aunt, Rachel was introduced to a book of hatha yoga techniques at the age of 16 as a method of physical pain management. Like many chronic pain sufferers, she battled depression and found yoga to be a key ingredient in her treatment. At 19, she went to San Francisco and studied at Its Yoga with Larry Schultz who was known for his creative and intense take on the Ashtanga sequences. Upon return to Austin, Rachel found more traditional Ashtanga teachers (Sharon Moon, David Swenson, Richard Freeman) and began training to become a teacher. She also studied with Patthabi Jois and his son Manju in NYC.
After many years of teaching and practicing, Rachel began to notice differences in body types and the prevalence of injuries as related to those differences. She stepped away from teaching for a summer and reset her intention. Rachel returned with a focus to reduce injuries and to improve integrated, effective movement in her students. During this time she took a multi-lineage approach, leaning on additional training from Donna Farhi, Gary Kraftsow, Leslie Kaminoff, David Williams, and Ramaswami.
Rachel began training teachers after eight years of full-time teaching. In 2011, Rachel studied with Seane Corn in preparation to lead the first hatha flow teacher training at an Austin-based studio. The success of that program offered her an opportunity to begin a more targeted teacher training for healthcare professionals. Rachel spent the summer of 2012 studying with Dr. Timothy McCall, author of “Yoga as Medicine,” and Nischala Joy Devi. She has completed Nischala’s Yoga of the Heart program geared towards individuals with cancer and heart disease. She helped to design and teach the first yoga therapy teacher training at Yoga Yoga and served as the lead mentor in the student clinic.
At the university level, Rachel studies anatomy, physiology, psychology, biomechanics and neuroscience. She went back to school at 28 for the explicit purpose of bringing yoga techniques into modern society via research. Her master’s work focuses heavily on inversion techniques and mechanics while her upcoming research tackles yoga as a vehicle for positive behavior changes. Although she is very interested in the science behind yoga, she concedes that the magic of it is what keeps her coming to the mat.
Rachel is a very direct, compassionate, and genuine teacher. She uses clear language, metaphor, and humor to unpack complicated concepts. She is a firm believer that yoga is most effective when the teacher directs the student inward. In this way, she works to be a conduit for the teachings and an advocate of student-centered learning. Personal history aside, Rachel sticks to the practice because it sticks to her. She notices that she is nicer, happier, and more alive when she keeps to a committed practice. Yoga provides her with a deeper awareness of daily life, inside and out. Offering that awareness to everyone, exactly as they are, is her personal and professional goal.