Alumni Spotlight: Ross Rayburn

Journalism alum Ross Rayburn (B.A. '93) shares how Meadows impacted his career path as both an author and fitness instructor of yoga and meditation.

Alum Ross Rayburn (B.A. '93) is the Lead Instructor for Yoga and Meditation at Peloton.
Alum Ross Rayburn (B.A. '93) is the Lead Instructor for Yoga and Meditation at Peloton and author of "Turning Inward: The Practice of Introversion for a Calm, Joyful, Authentic Life."

Ross Rayburn (B.A. ’93) is this week’s featured alum in our new Alumni Spotlight series for the This Week at Meadows e-newsletter. Each week, a different Meadows alum will be highlighted for their accomplishments post-graduation.



Since graduating from SMU with both a journalism and political science degree, Ross Rayburn has made a name for himself in the fitness community and is currently the Lead Instructor for Yoga and Meditation at Peloton. After attending his first yoga class in order to rehabilitate a knee injury, he fell in love with the practice. He spent several years instructing yoga classes, even opening his own studio in 2004 and eventually traveling internationally teaching yoga-based therapeutic trainings.


Following his success on the road and at his home studio, he received a call from Peloton in 2018 asking him to join the team in order to help launch yoga and meditation on the Peloton app. And though the journalism degree to fitness instructor path might not seem straightforward, Rayburn’s time in the program has given him tools that have helped throughout his professional journey.


“It’s difficult to fully count the ways the journalism department helped me through my career, but in one of my first classes the professor spoke about the importance of pedagogical significance, or finding the teachable moment,” explains Rayburn, who considers the concept one of his guiding philosophies. “Almost nothing has served me more in navigating change and overcoming failure than my practice of trying to find the pedagogical significance in everything!”


During his time in the journalism program, Rayburn also learned how to organize his thoughts and articulate them cogently, which has had incalculable value on his career. These skills have clearly translated well to how he structures his yoga and meditation classes for Peloton, resulting in a deeper connection with his students. Though Peloton classes are conducted via a screen or device, Rayburn has found that there is a closeness in the community that is hard to explain. Whether it’s because he is technically teaching in people’s homes or if it’s just the “secret sauce” of the Peloton community, Rayburn is content to wonder as he appreciates this aspect of his job.


“I also credit my time at Meadows with sparking my love of curiosity,” he says. “Diet and exercise are usually considered the keys to staying healthy and feeling good, but I would argue that curiosity might be the true fountain of youth.”


Continuous curiosity allows for an open-mindedness of new experiences, which no doubt paved the way for Rayburn’s most recent professional endeavor: becoming an author. Rayburn released his first book this month called Turning Inward: The Practice of Introversion for a Calm, Joyful, Authentic Life, which is based on the belief that what you will find within yourself is valuable and finding ways to turn inward will help you discover your most authentic self.


You can learn more about Rayburn’s book, Turning Inward, and purchase a copy here.


Learn more about Meadows' Division of Journalism here.