I started yoga after a strained neck and back injury I endured while working as a courier in 2006. Advised by my physical therapist to join a gym and to strengthen my core, I started on the path to getting my core strength back by using the usual equipment at the gym. The gym I went to offered a daily schedule of yoga and I decided there was no reason not to give yoga a try. After my first yoga class I noticed the tension and pain in my back had decreased noticeably. Yoga became my daily after work rehab routine. These classes had an effect on me that went beyond the gym and I began getting out to experience different practices such as Bikram, Ashtanga, martial arts and mindfulness training. In time I think yoga practice became a gateway to better living. In addition to getting relief from pain, I was finally able to adhere to a vegetarian diet (I had been what I called quasi vegetarian since 1991), noticeably my state of mind was more clear and positive, and I went back to school to work in a field that inspired me.
Interested in getting certified to teach yoga, a mentor suggested I develop a strong personal practice for a year before getting certified to teach yoga, I took this advice to heart and I believe it made a difference in getting the most out of my teacher training experience. During the time spent developing my personal practice I incorporated influences that I continue to be inspired by today. One philosophy I learned during this time was, in practice, adhere to elements that resonate most. In yoga there are a lot of styles that grab our attention, having a foundation of basic principles has helped me minimize going in too many directions. My practice was refined later during my yoga teacher training with knowledge on healing the body using massage, nutrition, herbs, and energy work. I was fortunate to be near the spiritual center of yoga in North County San Diego and was blessed to receive the guidance from so many knowledgeable teachers.
I had completed a 1000-hour Holistic Health program which included a combined 200-hour Yoga Teacher and Movement Therapy (Somatics) program in 2008. Ben Hicks Yoga started in concept while teaching free yoga out of my art studio in Encinitas, CA and at the beach in Carlsbad, CA around 2009. In 2010 my dad became ill in Lake Havasu City and I moved back to be near family, I never went back to California. I taught free yoga classes in the park and offered workshops for about two years to try and build interest in yoga. I was hired as an independent contractor and developed a weekly yoga program Monday through Sunday, teaching between 21 & 23 classes a week, consulted clients using herbal & nutrition solutions and performed massage therapy for over 5 years. In March 2015 I went to India for six weeks to continue my education in Traditional Yoga. In India I was looking for more yoga and philosophy understanding. After adhering to such a rigorous teaching schedule for the past 5 years I was not interested in going back to Lake Havasu or in teaching yoga, but rather just to take a break.
When I returned home from India to Lake Havasu in June 2015, I worked some odd jobs and taught yoga where and when I could. I was starting all over again and I thought about going back to California, Phoenix, and even looked into continuing my education in another field of study. A yoga student of mine suggested I rent a space that was available and open my own yoga studio. I had no income from the prior 6 months and was uncertain about where I wanted to go in life but I said yes and opened the Ben Hicks Yoga Studio Upstairs in September 2015. The yoga program consisted of classes that I had already been teaching over the past five years though I added more traditional styles of yoga. I started a yoga teacher training program, continued to offer massage therapy and continuing education classes for massage therapists. I expanded the community based herbal clinic to offer more tea and classes. I have been able to continue teaching free yoga classes outside, host donation-based workshops, offer meet ups for the outdoor community including nature hikes, paddleboard yoga, & full moon paddle gatherings.
Mission statement; A yoga program that is based on inclusion and my personal practice that is guided by the fundamentals of traditional yoga in an effort to improve the lives of others through positive experiences.
Quote: “Rather than looking at when the practice started, analyze the quality of the hours spent practicing.”