Yoga Student of The Month

Yoga Student of the month

I practice yoga every single day.

Every morning I roll out of bed, get onto my yoga mat to stretch and breathe. Some days I do crunches and push ups, other days I do sequences of poses, but most days I lay on the floor to stretch my hips and spine. It doesn’t really matter what I do, the most important thing is that I get on the mat every single day and connect with myself and how I feel.

I also then show up to 3 or 4 and sometimes 5 or 6 studio classes a week.

Yoga is a major part of my life. For the past 6 years, I have answered all my problems with “Just do more yoga”. Silly as it sounds, that has always helped me find a solution. That works for me and where I am at with my life.  I directly credit showing up on the mat and for myself with all the success I have had in my architecture professional life.

Yoga has:

kept me skinny, mentally sharp and strong.

forced me to slow down, take a step back and reflect.

taught me to be less reactive, when stuff goes wrong.

introduced me to many many beautiful and inspiring people.

provided a beautiful framework for being a better person.

allowed me to accept and be OK, with wherever I am at in life.

During the Spring of 2015 I spent 200 hours over 10 weeks becoming certified as a registered yoga in a very mentally challenging and physically rigorous program. This was why I wasn’t at the 2015 AIA Convention. I took this training to strengthen my personal practice and yes, I would like to teach yoga as a hobby and a form of expression.

In July 2015 my yoga studio in Portland Oregon, YoYo Yogi, named Michael Riscica the Yoga Student of the month. This is a huge honor to be chosen, among the hundreds of brilliant students at the studio.

Below are the student of the month questions that they asked me to answer and I decided to share them with my blog.

Yoga Student of The Month Questions:

In three words, describe yoga:

Cultivating self-love, regularly.


What do you do for a living?

I am a Licensed Architect.

I currently work for the City of Portland as a Capital Project Manager. I put together, oversee and lead talented teams of Architects, Engineers, and Contractors. I guide construction projects from “understanding what the problem is” to following up years later. In the recent past, I have done many projects for PSU, Portland Parks and Recreation, the Mayor’s Office, and Portland Police Bureau.

I also write a popular blog at  It’s a blog for Architecture students and professionals working in the architecture industry. Right before yoga teacher training started this spring, I published my first book, titled How To Pass The Architecture Registration Exam. It shares everything I learned during the 4 year adventure I went on to get my architecture license.


What song should be on every yoga playlist?

The Rainbow Connection by Kermit the Frog, the original version. Definitely!


What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

I grew up among the Beaverton’s and Gresham’s of New York City. Immediately after I graduated architecture school, I took a 90-day, 5000-mile bicycle ride across America with my 2 best friends. We cycled from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Portland, Oregon.

Shortly before we left, I decided to make it a one-way trip, stay in Portland after the bike ride was over and start a whole new life. After I arrived, my Dad mailed me my portfolio, and I landed an architecture job before I even had a place to live.

In September, it will be 8 years since I took that bike trip and moved to Portland. There is no other place in the world I would rather call home. I feel like the more I love this city, the more it loves me back.


When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?

Spending time with my best friend Molly, who is a 7-year-old Yellow Labrador Retriever. We chill in Wallace Park, Kelly Point, Couch Park, Cannon Beach, and Forrest Park.


How did you find your way onto the mat?

I have a very long history with running and cycling. In 2010, I ran 2 different marathons. While training, I discovered yoga helped me run faster and recover quicker, and I got hooked. At that time I also lost 35 lbs and was getting used to my new body.

When I started coming to YoYo Yogi in 2012, yoga quickly shifted from a weekly exercise into a daily practice.  I stopped caring about results and started consistently showing up more for the mental workout than the physical one. Being physically healthy came as a side benefit from being mentally sharp.

In Spring 2015, I completed my 200-hour Teacher Training at YoYo Yogi, which drastically changed everything thought about yoga, in a very beautiful way.


What’s the most challenging yoga posture for you?

Seated forward fold. I have really tight hamstrings and hips. I also carry a lot of tension there. When I can get them stretched, the world is a much happier place.


How has yoga improved your life?

Yoga has forced me to accept that always pushing harder, faster, and stronger with whatever I am working on does not work. It has taught me that when I can back off, slow down and breathe, I can always go significantly farther with whatever I am working on or trying to achieve.

Practicing on the mat, testing the limits of what is possible, and paying attention to “what comes up” during these postures has changed how I relate with the outside world. I directly credit yoga for strengthening my ability to stay calm, react, and respond when life, my job, or my many projects throw monkey wrenches at me.  And sometimes, they throw all at the same time…

Spring 2015 YoYo Yogi Teacher Training
Spring 2015 YoYo Yogi Teacher Training




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Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, Founder and Head Coach of the ARE Boot Camp Coaching Program & Online Study Group.

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