Work: Co-owner, Keene Yoga Center
Individual and Organizational Champion since 2014
Bryan Russell has been a health champion in spirit from a young age. In high school, he would ride his bike to and from school many days — more than 25 miles roundtrip. He became a vegetarian at age 14. He hiked 1,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail with his brother at age 16. Always involved with sport, soccer, skiing and track, swimming, hockey, and Frisbee, Bryan says he loves the aliveness he feels when he moves the body. He enjoys hiking Mt. Monadnock, which he has climbed hundreds of times. Bryan was also exposed to Yoga at a young age since his mother, Josephine Russell, is a yoga teacher. He opened Keene Yoga Center (www.keeneyogacenter.com), as a co-owner with Josephine in 2014. Bryan — and the Keene Yoga Center — became Healthy Monadnock Individual and Organizational Champions the fall of 2014.
“Healthy Monadnock’s mission aligns with our mission,” says Bryan, who became a yoga teacher in 2005; he also holds a degree in economics and environmental studies and has earned an MBA. “We believe that more people doing yoga equals a better, healthier and happier world.”
Running a yoga studio and school
Not only does Bryan help run The Yoga Center in Keene, he is also founder of the Sadhana Yoga School (www.sadhanayoga.com), a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training that holds certificate programs in New Hampshire, Bali, Fiji and Greece. Despite his busy schedule with his two businesses and his family life — wife, Anjili (who is also a yoga instructor and offers yoga therapy training) and their 9-month old son, Jaian — Bryan still manages to find time to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
“I go for a walk every day, and, of course, I do yoga every day,” he says. He plays hockey on Sunday mornings; in the summer he switches that out with Frisbee. “I’ve started adding skiing on Wednesdays and hiking once a week … my goal is to do three activities per week. With our new son, it just a matter of making the time,” says Bryan.
An active family life
As a family, they try to all get plenty of exercise each week. “My son does some baby yoga,” he says. “We also all go hiking or walking, and skiing.”
The Russells are also mindful of what they eat. “We are vegetarian … we try to eat real food instead of packaged foods,” says Bryan. Their meals consist of a lot of rice, beans, lentils, tofu and vegetables. Bryan is also a business partner with Bethel Farm (www.bethelfarm.org) in Hillsborough, an organic farm and yoga center. “They have a great garden and we get some of our vegetables from there,” he says.
Looking to do more in the community
Keene Yoga Center, as an Organizational Champion, will make available the Healthy Monadnock mission to all its members, staff and volunteers. “We want to encourage them to become Champions as well,” says Bryan.
Bryan also hopes to reach out to local businesses in the region to offer the health benefits of yoga. “I’d like for the Center to find ways to help employees become healthier … through either a special membership at the Center or in-house yoga classes and stress relief workshops,” he says.
He’d also like to consult with local businesses on how to integrate healthy habits into their corporate culture. “I think Healthy Monadnock is a wonderful way to promote health and to really reach out to the community.”