The Rising Lotus was incorporated in 2018 as an educational nonprofit to train individuals to become yoga teachers.
The program operates under the therapeutic emphasis of encouraging graduates to volunteer a small portion of their time to share their skills with the community.
Phillip Bibb operates the facility out of a home on St. Ann Street while graduates from the teacher-training program dedicate their time to many local nonprofits. Those nonprofits range from the Daviess County Correctional Facility and Owensboro Regional Recovery to The Amethyst House, Girls Inc., and The H.L. Neblett Community Center.
“The Rising Lotus Yoga Teacher Training Program is a scholarship program; when a trainee accepts a scholarship, they agree to volunteer their skills to the community,” Bibb said. “We most recently formed a co-op with Meta Crystal and Gift Shop that holds outside public and nonprofit yoga and meditation classes in our garden space.”
Bibb opened the School of the Rising Lotus in March of 2018 as a space for yoga teacher trainees to study and practice. They have since added several new components to the school, including online programs.
“Beginning Oct. 4, all classes will be online, which is unique because there is a six-member cap on class size, and the instructor is watching the students giving real-time personal instruction,” he said. “Our Yoga Teacher Training Program is online too with multi-day intensives available at retreat centers across the U.S.”
Bibb was born and raised in Cleveland but graduated from Russellville, his parents’ hometown. After many educational and occupational experiences worldwide, he landed in Owensboro — his grandmother’s hometown — in 2017.
“Owensboro has been a wonderful place to begin a very unique project like Rising Lotus,” he said. “The community has not only been friendly; the community has become my family. The people here are generous with their time and financial support of Rising Lotus.”
Bibb spent the early part of his work career as a massage therapist and a personal trainer, practicing yoga on the side. He soon fell in love with the ancient practice and became a teacher in 2001.
For a decade, he traveled internationally — learning the practice of sustainable gardening and permaculture in Hawaii. He also studied land and aquatic bodywork and worked at the Heartwood Institute and The School of Shiatsu and Massage.
“I learned that these obscure, esoteric practices could be translated into empowering and uplifting marginalized communities,” Bibb said. “These practices can change (culture), the beliefs, customs, and habits that a community deem essential, which in turn can lessen the burden on an individual’s mental and physical health which will decrease the strain on a community’s medical infrastructure. They can instill self-esteem, moral values, patience, and sustainable gardening principles, reducing crime and poverty. They focus on discipline, concentration, and awareness which strengthens our connection with our individual spiritual or religious practices and values.”
Bibb has taught classical studio Hatha yoga professionally since 2011. He’s also had stints in northern and southern California and Louisville. He’s often asked, “why Owensboro?”
His response: “My paternal grandmother passed during a church service here in Owensboro. I have been close to Owensboro my entire life. I moved to Louisville in 2013 from Northern California and would host VEToga.org fundraisers in Louisville, and Dr. Kay Corpus — owner of The Yoga Loft Owensboro — would attend with her yoga group. In 2016 the Louisville yoga studio I taught at closed, and Dr. Corpus offered me an opportunity to teach at her studio.”
For more information on The Rising Lotus, visit their website here, or search The Rising Lotus on Instagram and Facebook.
By John Kirkpatrick The Owensboro Times