Student Spotlight – Ricardo G.

Testimonial by PURE Yoga Downtown Austin student.

My name is Ricardo Gonzalez. And I was a raging alcoholic/drug addict for over 10 years.

Then, after an intervention, I checked myself into rehab at a place called The Ranch. That is where I attended yoga classes once a week through Pure Action with Teddy, Monica, and Emily. I was completely out of shape… But I loved what it did for my mental and spiritual condition.

After my rehab treatment, I started the 30-day yoga passport granted to me by Ted and Pure Action. I’ll never forget how difficult my first class was in the heated room. It was overwhelming. I was at the point of tears. It was hot. So hot. And so difficult. It was frustrating. It was challenging. It was “impossible.”

Yet, it was awesome all at the same time.

I thought I was going to die at many points. Or at least pass out from dehydration. The only reason I didn’t give up and walk out was because of the support I received from Teddy during my first class. He noticed how severe my struggle was. He kneeled next to me, assuring that I was not alone and asked me to hang in there. He kindly whispered, “I have your back,” as he handed me a cold coconut water. Best coconut water ever!

I detoxed so much after my very first heated class that I had puss coming out of my eyes. Though I only attended something like 10 of the 30-day pass classes, I got results. That’s when I started my practice. I was obese. That led to sleep apnea and as a result, I was always tired. Being obese led to shooting pain in my back, ankles, and legs. I had high levels of stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and bad dreams were the norm. Yoga has cured all these things for me. And since I started practicing in January 2016, I’ve lost 60 pounds!

When I practice yoga I make better decisions about so much. What I eat, what time I go to bed, how I sit or stand, how I breathe, and how I react (or don’t react) to uncomfortable situations. As a direct result of my practice I even gave up cigarettes and coffee! I am proof that Yoga can help you stay off drugs, both the illegal and legal kinds!

I am 100 % drug free because one day my yoga practice became more important to me than cigarettes and coffee.
I saw those elements as hindrances to my practice.Yoga is a challenge that I embrace every time I practice. It is my church and my gym. It has been and continues to be an integral part of my recovery. And life! In my addiction, I always ran from my problems. Yoga teaches me that, in times of difficulty, it is important to stand strong and to be present in the moment. To face my fears, instead of run from them. Yoga teaches me patience, discipline, focus, perseverance, determination, and to love myself.  Yoga is my medicine.I’m now 2 years and 9 months sober.

I don‘t know that I would have ever gotten this far without my consistent yoga practice. I am forever grateful to Teddy, Monica, Mardy and Jeff for Pure Action; and to ALL my teachers at Pure Yoga Texas. This is very personal to me but I share my story in hopes that I may inspire someone who is suffering and is ready to make a change.


  1. Joe cuccaro on August 12, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Such a great story of sucess.

    • Ricardo Gonzalez on August 29, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Thanks Joe! I always loved taking your class! :). Hope all is well my friend.

  2. Cec n Jules on August 12, 2018 at 10:58 am

    Over the past two decades, you have Transformed into someone that makes us strive for the “impossible!” We are so proud of you and know that this is truly just the beginning of amazing things to come!!

    • Ricardo Gonzalez on August 29, 2018 at 6:10 am

      Aw, thanks Jules. From the bottom of my heart. That means so much to me. I love you guys 🙂

  3. Chuck on August 12, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Fantastic- learned about yoga in rehab many years ago myself, keep trudging (and balancing!)

    • Ricardo Gonzalez on August 29, 2018 at 6:09 am

      Thanks Chuck! Same to you my friend ????????????

  4. Angela on August 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Your story is so inspiring to me!! Thank you for sharing …I feel like we are all part of the same struggle on different levels . Somehow that room brings out my fear of not making it through and the accomplishment of finishing-every time! I’m so proud of you for loving yourself more than the external enticements. We are so blessed to have these teachers at Pure !!

    • Ricardo Gonzalez on August 29, 2018 at 6:07 am

      Aw, thank you Angela! I am a firm believer that we are all in recovery from one thing or another-it doesn’t have to be drugs or alcohol. It could be an abusive relationship, it could be sugar, it could be television.
      I know exactly what you mean about that feeling of accomplishment at the end of every class. Most days I have to remind myself to take it one posture at a time, one breath at a time. 🙂

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