Having a scientific mind, Jonathan Moore expected the health benefits of Bikram yoga—“weight loss, increased muscle tone and stamina.” But other aspects surprised him.
“The lessons that yoga teaches through the practice are invaluable,” he says. “Being uncomfortable, and being okay with it. Figuring out what you can do today, and being okay with it.”
An instructor in the Biology Department at VCU, Jonathan was born in Houston, the exact middle child of five: one older brother, one older sister and two younger sisters. The family moved from Texas to Virginia when Jon was very young. He spent most of his childhood in Prince George County.
“We moved to Chesterfield my freshman year of high school, when my father became the president of Virginia State University.”
Jonathan graduated from Matoaca High School in 1997 and went on to VCU with “pre-med intentions.”
“My sophomore year I took ecology, and that led to the switch away from medicine,” Jon says. He graduated in spring 2001 with a major in avian ecology and a minor in musical performance (he plays classical clarinet).
That fall he entered the graduate program at VCU to study stream ecology, earning a master’s in environmental studies in 2004.
He first came across Bikram yoga in 2005 and was surprised by the amount of athleticism it required.
“I feel so much better afterward, and I feel less than stellar when I have not been practicing with regularity,” Jonathan says.
Nevertheless he took a break from yoga in 2006, when he returned to his post-graduate studies, this time at Virginia Tech. His focus was again on avian ecology and climate change. He returned to Richmond in 2010 and now teaches a variety of biology courses at VCU.
“I’m an ornithologist by training, so I love to bird watch,” Jonathan says. A project dear to his heart is a long-term VCU study of the Prothonotary Warbler along the James River. Outside of work he enjoys movies, cooking, being with friends and reading.
And of course, he resumed his regular yoga practice upon his return to Richmond.
Jonathan is drawn to the yoga because of “a general peace that persists.” He’s also been moved by the various walks of life brought together by the practice. “I love the people associated with this community,” Jonathan says. “They are truly amazing, supportive, beautiful, kind, compassionate, gracious people.”
Jonathan’s husband, Joel, is also a familiar face at Bikram yoga. The two were married in December on their anniversary, having found each other 10 years earlier on Match.com.
“Yoga has carried Joel and me through some tough times, allowing us to bond and work though challenges together.”