Rudy Peirce, MA, E-RYT 500, has studied and practiced yoga and meditation for more than 30 years. Rudy’s passion is helping people discover the best of themselves through a self-nurturing practice of yoga. His gift is leading Gentle Yoga, a particularly accessible, yet deep and effective style of yoga he has developed over the years.
Rudy has practiced and studied yoga and meditation since 1973, when he attended his first yoga class while a student at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire. Though intrigued with the physical practice of yoga, it was really peace of mind he was after when he began his spiritual journey. He began a regular meditation practice at 19, managing to find a quiet place to court stillness for twenty minutes twice a day which he credits for significantly reducing the shyness and insecurity he had experienced as a child and young adult.
Rudy’s yoga and meditation practice continued in earnest throughout his undergraduate studies and attendance at Lesley College where he obtained a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology. He also worked at a Community Mental Health Center working with adults whose dis-eases required them to live with continual supervision. He attended local Kripalu yoga classes in Concord, NH, during this time and began going to retreats at Kripalu in the Berkshires.
In the summer of 1982, Rudy resigned from his job to move to Kripalu to participate in the lifestyle of the spiritual community where the practice of yoga and meditation went hand in hand with the hard work of running the guest center. He began teaching classes for residents and guests of the yoga center and became certified as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 1983. Soon after, he became a junior teacher trainer and coached the teaching staff of the guest and resident yoga classes.
Rudy then became a senior teacher trainer and participated in the development of Kripalu’s teacher training curriculum. He directed yoga teacher certification programs for more than 10 years. His classes for guests and for the resident community were well-loved and some of his colleagues dubbed him the “Dr. Feelgood of Yoga.” His unique style of leading was effective for those new to yoga as well as others just wanting to “slow it down” without sacrificing the deeper benefits of yoga.
Rudy was instrumental in creating the distinction of ”gentle yoga” which transformed the way guest classes were structured. The characterization of daily guest classes as gentle, moderate or vigorous continues to this day. During his teacher training career, Rudy also created a mentoring program. He coached yoga teachers to hone their skills in the use of a developmental training method unique to Kripalu that is based on compassionate self-observation rather than typical trainer to trainee feedback. These teachers became mentors for other teachers, filling a need in the yoga teacher community and offering a unique skill set to professional yoga teachers.
In 2010, Rudy developed and directed a yoga teacher 200-hour certification program with Ed Harrold of the ComfortZone in Delaware, which launched their Whole Self Yoga School. He is currently developing a yoga teacher training with Amy Weintraub, author of Yoga for Depression. This new and unique 200-hour certification program, LifeForce Yoga® Teacher Training will be offered beginning in December 2013.
Rudy currently teaches Gentle Yoga programs at Kripalu Center several times a year, and offers Gentle Yoga and advanced teacher training workshops throughout the northeast. He leads Kripalu Center guest classes regularly, and a week-long yoga vacation in Tuscany every fall. He also teaches men’s yoga retreats, workshops and classes—a program he developed long before men’s groups and personal growth programs became popular—at Kripalu Center and around the northeast. For those interested in a home practice, Rudy’s popular Gentle Series CDs are appropriate for anyone interested in yoga regardless of experience, flexibility or strength.
A native of Topsfield and Boston, Massachusetts, Rudy has been a resident of the Berkshires for 30 years, where he makes his home with his wife Joyce, and their chocolate Lab rescue dog, Brownie.