Volunteer Spotlight: Rita Ramos
For many of our volunteers, the connection to both yoga and the military runs deeps. Rita Ramos is no exception.
Ramos grew up in a military family. Her grandfather served in World War 2 in the Philippines and was a Prisoner of War.
“[Yoga] is a regular and important part of my life,” says Ramos, who studied business in college and started a career in corporate retail. “Throughout my busy career I’ve relied on yoga to help me feel grounded and centered.”
“Growing up he would always share his war stories and how proud he was being an American and fighting for our freedom,” says Ramos. “He’s truly amazing and resilient and will become 103 years old this March.”
Ramos’s father was a Navy Pilot, flying P-3s. Ramos grew up across the country, as well as the globe, living where her father was stationed. Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Ramos would move to Subic Naval Base in the Philippines, Yokosuka, Japan, back to Jacksonville, Florida, and finally to Hawaii.
It was in Hawaii where Ramos was first introduced to the asana practice of yoga.
In 2015, Ramos went to India to pursue her 200-hour yoga teacher certification. In 2018, while living in New York, she would also achieve her 300-hour teacher certification.
“This is where my journey and confidence in teaching yoga started,” says Ramos.
This is also around when Ramos would learn about Veterans Yoga Project. She was passionate about VYP’s mission and wanted to be a part of it.
“I felt that yoga allowed me to be a bit more in tune with myself, allowed me to breath and relax in such busy and chaotic times,” says Ramos. “I wanted to create a safe space for others to feel the same way about themselves and felt that VYP aligned with the same values.
She began to teach several classes for Veterans Yoga Project, including at the Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn. As the area manager, Ramos has also collaborated with Deb Jeannette, the president of the board of directors for Veterans Yoga Project, to execute VYP initiatives in the NYC area.
“With Covid-19, there were a lot of pauses, but I am looking forward to the more creative things we can do to reach our veterans this year,” says Ramos.
Ramos has been grateful to be a part of the community, and appreciates all that the organization does for those who have served.
“It’s really amazing to know that so many people that I’ve met through the VYP are just as passionate about helping our veterans,” says Ramos.
Yoga helps people from all walks of life, something that Ramos truly believes in.
“Though we target the veteran community, the mindful resilience yoga that we teach is applicable to everyone,” says Ramos. “Yoga is a constant practice and can be done on and off the mat.”