Yoga. Philanthropy. Psilocybin: the spiritual path of Adam Rice

His path Adam Rice started with learning Integral, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga. Afterwards he invented his own way of teaching, where his mantra was «Peace through Power», which combined softness and awareness of Integral yoga, strength of Ashtanga, and flow of Vinyasa into a challenging but inspiring to understand your innerself practice. Adam also believes in a power of music, so he finds special soundtracks to combine physical and philosophical sides of yoga, along with meditation, hands-on adjustments and evolving his students into a deeper understanding of the body. 

Adam also develops his yoga path from the karma point, giving life to different philanthropic projects. This and more you can find here in his interview below, as well as get acquainted with Adam on Avatar fest in Summer 2021. 

Your life path is so adventurous. You are a businessman, an athlete, a traveller. How did you come to yoga teaching? 


Since a very young age I was an athlete. I was playing soccer and then I started with wrestling in the US Olympic Wrestling Team. We were training very hard, aggressively. And when I got older I had to pay my debt for that. In my twenties I was suffering a lot with my body: neck problems and joint issues. 


Going to a massage therapist 3 times a week was not really helping. And the therapist advised me  yoga, saying  “I can work with you every day, but it will not help the problem, you need to do structural changes to the body”. I didn’t feel that yoga is something that resonates with me, I imagined it as some lotus sitting, chanting, doing nothing. And I was used to the “no pain no gain” lifestyle I was living, where I used to push myself. I was desperate and ready to do anything. That first yoga class kicked my ass. It was a very good workout and I was sweating. And I got that special feeling right after the class — that my feet are fully connected to the earth and a sense of stillness that I never noticed before. And I thought — whatever it is, I want more of this. Thus I started to go to yoga several times a week. And then another big shift happened — I fell in love with my yoga teacher and we started dating. She showed me the other side of practice: meditation, mantras. And that was the beginning of a big path — back to myself. 


Who were your teachers, what styles did you practice and what influenced the style you are teaching now? 


It was by the time when there were no large yoga organisations we have now, like Yoga Alliance. I was doing some traditional class with my teacher Sri Devi, that was my asana training. Important teachers for me were Bryan Kest (Power Yoga), Ana Forrest (Forrest Yoga). I started with integral yoga, and then did ashtanga and finally settled down with vinyasa. Vinyasa gives me, as the teacher, a lot of freedom. I like to come to the studio and feel the energy, feel the people and feel myself. I craft the flow that fits that. I never take something “out of the box”. And I love a sense of flow in my practice, and in my life. 


Your method, Pure Prana Yoga, what is it about? What to expect from your workshops? 


Pure Prana method is about reconnection to your inner power. Our life is not the easiest thing, sometimes we have to fight, and we require a warrior’s energy. But we need to combine it with softness. My classes are about pushing you to your boundaries, but not over them. Despite the practice can be hard, having some fun is important  (not to take yourself too seriously), so sometimes I can tell jokes. But still it is strong practice and it keeps people focused. Working on physical power, it is even more important to feel emotional power. 

You are doing Reiki healing, tantra training and shamanic practices. Does it complement or contradict your yogic path?


My spiritual path starts with yoga and meditation. I was looking for ways to know myself, my true essence. I started with Reiki and I did a lot of energy work. And 8 years ago I discovered Ayahuasca. I started doing ceremonies with Ayahuasca. And It was a great insight: all the things I was reading about and glimpses of understanding I had in meditations, I now can feel as a reality and fully transport myself in that.


 Plant medicines have the potential to take us to a spiritual place that we have heard about and are eager to reach. You can get there by meditations, but it takes 20-30 years. I believe that plant medicines were given to us as a tool to reach the highest states in a more accessible way. 


I was also exploring psilocybin mushrooms. Many researches doing these days on psilocybin show its ability to help with depression and anxiety. I began working as a guide and facilitator with Dutch first fully legal professional psilocybin retreat center. This was a quantum leap forward in my own spiritual development. My meditations are deeper. I am more present in my journey. To stay present and aware is important as you can ask questions and get answers. It was a powerful healing tool for me and I am happy that I am bringing this healing tool to others. 


You have a philanthropic project related to helping orphans and travelling. What is it about and how it works? 


I have been leading yoga retreats around for 20 years now. Typical yoga retreat follows the same scenario: the group goes to some beautiful place, we do two classes of yoga a day, meditation, maybe we do shopping in the city nearby. Many students told me they feel like doing something, helping others, but they don’t see the proper opportunities to be personally involved. I wanted to create an opportunity for people to give back — not to only consume in the location they go, but to practice karma yoga as well. And thinking about such a project, I met a friend, an American woman who lived in Rishikesh for 25 years. She started a center for orphans there. Around 60 children are living there now, victims from all kind of abuse, like sex tray, physical and psychological abuse. She also opened a school there. Every day around 200 kids come to that school. For some of them their school lunch is the only meal they get each day. I fell in love with this project and created a partnership with her. 


“Travel with purpose” is an annual yoga retreat, when we take students to Rishikesh. We spend 5-6 days doing our yoga practice 2 hours a day, and we spend some hours volunteering in Orphanage. And every person who is involved should prepare some activity to do with kids. And we also work in an organic farm that orphans manage. It is a fantastic way of practicing giving, and actually you get a lot in return. 


In order to let readers know more about you and your personality, describe your usual daily routine. 


I believe in living your yoga. But there is a fragile balance between yogic discipline and enjoying life. I know many yogis who locked themselves in the cage of a very strict routine. My philosophy is about enjoying life. If you feel like eating meat now is good for you — do it. You can drink alcohol or do some drugs, but do it with full awareness. I can do many things in my life, but keep consciousness, and never let anything to start controlling me. It is where ahimsa stops and this thing starts to harm you.


I am a night awl and I like to work at night. I wake up at 8-9 am and do meditation using jungle tabaco — Rapé. It clears energy and is widely used among shamans. I do my asana practice in the evening around 6:30. Sometimes I do active meditations, I like Osho meditations. After years of practice, my asana routine is going a little down and meditation goes up. I feel it as a natural transformation.

Thank you for the conversation. Looking forward to joining your classes during the Festival.


Let me add one more thing I feel is important these days. You can use it or not. It is about the Corona situation. 

The most important thing that I have learnt from my yogic practice is that there is a way to step out of the expectations that I felt are pressing on me — social expectations, expectations from myself, from my family. The expectations that were pushing me to the idea of what “success” is. That is why I got into banking and did many other things. And with yoga and meditations and started to drop those expectations coming to my true self.


Right now many people are going through an existential crisis, losing their jobs, losing their identities, sometimes losing everything due to this crisis. Although it is scary for many, it could become a moment of a huge reset. Now, in times of changes we can start to examine if we are living the life the way we wanted to. Many people are losing jobs, but sometimes they are losing jobs they never wanted to have. I hope this can motivate people to think from their heart. 


The interview was taken and translated by Dasha Rolina

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