Yoga Goes to University – An Interview with Ryan Fong


Don’t you just love them?   

I know I do.   

There are those that inspire me and those that make me laugh. Some help me solve problems in my classroom and others that help me solve problems in my life.   

I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite teachers here.   

Teachers in studios, classrooms and in the world at large. These are the folks you will see featured in my new series of interviews here at Teacher Goes Back to School.   

I hope you enjoy these teachers as much as I do!   

Ryan Fong is October’s Featured Teacher. I met Ryan at the studio and we went on a yoga retreat together this summer.

What and where do you teach?

I teach English literature and composition at UC Davis. 

This quarter, though, I’m a teaching assistant for a Women and Gender Studies course, which is a bit of a change.  It’s the introductory level course, so it’s a big 200 person lecture, but I have two 25-student discussion sections were we get to work through the history of feminism and think about the role of gender in our daily lives, especially as it intersects with other facets of our identity.

What is your teaching history?

I still feel relatively new to teaching, even though I’ve been doing it for quite a while now.  My first “official” teaching happened when I was a TA as an undergrad, where I assisted in both English and Sociology classes. 

As a graduate student at UC Davis, they start us out at TAs for literature classes for majors and then let us teach our own courses for the remainder of our time there.  That’s where I’ve taught both Introduction to Literature and freshman writing.

What brought you to teaching?

One of my big mentors growing up was my aunt, who was a high school English teacher and is now the Executive Director of the California Writing Project.  She was the one who would always buy me books for Christmas and birthdays growing up, and she really instilled a love of language and learning in me. 

My family is generally filled with teachers, so when I decided a long time ago in about 7th or 8th grade that I wanted to be a teacher, I got a lot of support.  My parents are both pretty avid readers, and would read to me when I was a kid. 

When I went to college, I decided I wanted to be an English professor, because I loved the freedom and intellectual rigor of the university classroom.  I went to a small liberal arts school where teacher-student interaction was and is really prized, and I decided that creating the kind of rich classroom environments I found there was what I wanted to do. 

Now that I am reaching the end of my graduate student career, I’m facing the realization that being a professor will ultimately not be up to me, based on how the economy is looking and the realities of an incredibly competitive academic job market.  Nevertheless, I know in one way or another, teaching (in the largest sense) is my calling.

Tell us about your blog

I actually have two blogs. 

The first—Two Of Us Riding Somewhere – – is a blog that I started recently to record my 30th birthday roadtrip to the Pacific Northwest with my partner.  It’s been so much fun, and I think it will be a regularly maintained blog that will record our experiences traveling, eating, and seeing natural and urban wonders!

My second blog Deep Homework.  

This is a much more personal blog that is focused on issues of spiritual growth and my quest for balance and well-being.

About a year ago now, I had a tarot reading with my uncle’s partner, Greg — a reading that was prompted by the changing of the seasons and the shift from fall into winter.  It was a cold day out in San Francisco, and I was feeling like I was on the cusp of a big change.  At the same time, I felt like I was incredibly stuck. 

What came out in the reading was that I could either slip into the quietude of sameness and continue to be stuck in my old patterns or I could embrace the process of engaging in what Greg called “deep homework.” 

The result of that homework, the reading portended, was nothing short of a radical rebirth and transformation.  I started the blog as one part of my effort to do that “deep homework.”  

Being a classic extrovert, I need to write and talk to actually know what I’m thinking and to give the endless circles of conversation in my head some direction and shape.  The blog has thus become a place to really work through my stuff in writing, while also exploring my new discoveries in yoga, meditation and Eastern spirituality.  

What other blogs do your read? Why?

I read your blog {awww…} and Michelle’s blog with regularity and occasionally I drift on to other people’s blogs from the studio.  {see the TGBTS Yoga Story links} Since my blog is so yoga based, I like reading other blogs that are using the sphere to explore those particular issues.

As a foodie, I’ll also come in and out of browsing food blogs like Bakerella, Pioneer Woman Cooks and Prudence Pennywise.  My two favorite local food blogs are Sac Food In the Hood and one by my cousin-in-law, Out of the Kitchen.

Who and what inspires you?

I have many people who inspire me. 

  • My partner, Eric, inspires me to see myself in the way that he sees me—with unconditional love and compassion. 
  • My uncle is an inspiration for a life lived well and very mindfully.  He’s a friend, mentor, and model in addition to being my blood relative. 
  • I’m inspired, as I think many of us at IAY are, by the way the community there supports us in experiencing the challenges and joys of really embracing it *all* as yoga. 
  • But mostly, I’m inspired by the universe’s generosity in giving us this present moment to do and be right.  Not right as in correct, but as in right here, right now and just right. 

Please leave any questions or comment love below:     

If you want to learn more about Ryan Deep Homework and Two of Us Riding Somewhere.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – Ryan is  a Yogi!


September 2010: Michelle Marlahan– Proprietress/Fairy Queen of It’s All Yoga in Sacramento, California.

5 thoughts on “Yoga Goes to University – An Interview with Ryan Fong

  1. Pingback: Yoga Goes to University – Part 2 – Ryan Fong, Yogi « Teacher Goes Back to School

  2. yay!

    even after spending time together at the retreat, i didn’t know this about your work…

    i vote for keeping the travel, eating, awesome pictures and funny stories blog. love it.

    the more i’ve learned about you from “the two of us riding somewhere” and here in this interview, i’m really moved by how important family is to you… sounds like you’ve had some wonderful, loving role models. NO WONDER you are wonderful and loving =)

    thanks tami!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s