Literary and Language Arts Teacher Vinny Rico ‘Maintains Balance’ in the Yoga Studio and the Classroom


Courtesy of Vinny Rico

Literary and language arts teacher Vinny Rico performs a calisthenic move called lunge jumps. Although Rico mainly instructs yoga, he has also taught a variety of other fitness classes, such as pilates, spin and bar. “One thing I for sure love is I get to spend time with my friends and people that I enjoy being around, and I think that the best thing about teaching yoga is the community,” Rico said. “The people who go to yoga are just very positive, grateful and good energy.”

During school hours, literary and language arts teacher Vinny Rico can be found in his classroom giving a lesson on how to write an effective thesis statement or explaining how to identify the author’s tone in a story. But after school, Rico drops the novel and whiteboard marker for a duffel bag and rubber mat to teach a completely different class—yoga. 

Rico, a new hire for the 2021-22 school year, has been a yoga instructor for nine years. 

Rico’s journey with yoga began in 2011 as a University of California, Irvine student. In search of physical activity to cope with his school-inflicted stress, Rico turned to the yoga studio, the perfect place to mentally unwind and stay fit while socializing, according to Rico. 

“I would go every day, and sometimes I would go more than once a day,” Rico said. “I just really enjoy having that avenue to move and clear my mind and challenge myself and also feel accomplished at the end.” 

Being a yoga instructor has allowed Rico to become a more empathetic school teacher, as it has helped him to apply important aspects of yoga, like maintaining balance and prioritizing mental health, to the classroom. 

“I realized that everyone, students and teachers included, need to take time to take care of themselves first and foremost before they can work or do classwork,” Rico said. “I realized that people have lives outside of the classroom and also realized that everyone’s lives are different. Everybody has their own personal issues, whether visible or not, whether you’re talking about them or not.”

Learning how to do a headstand pose in yoga and learning how to write a stellar persuasive essay in English are two very different tasks. But the key to perfecting both? Patience, according to Rico. 

“It takes a lot of time to learn how to become a good writer, and becoming a good writer isn’t an end goal; it’s a journey,” Rico said. “Similarly with yoga, it’s not so much like, ‘Yes, I can do this posture,’ but it’s always continuing to improve yourself. So you have to be patient with your journey and be patient with yourself and your accomplishments.”