Open Doors Mission Statement by Richard Lanza
Each of us has the potential to grow beyond our preconceived limitations. Each of us has the right to pursue those things that enliven and inspire us. Each of us has the innate ability to be happy and discover the truth for ourselves. Open Doors is dedicated to providing the space and opportunity for individuals to transform their lives.
The Open Doors History
Joining a Zoom meeting from Sofia, Bulgaria where he frequently teaches, Richard Lanza wears a reverse ballcap and an easy smile framed by a dark brown beard and mustache. The (allegedly) 74-year-old founder of Open Doors Yoga is a youthful, engaging, energetic testament to dedicated meditation, spiritual practices, and community-driven service. Having recently stepped back from the Open Doors franchise he founded, Richard is thrilled that the company’s mission to create space for personal awareness and spiritual connection continues to evolve and touch more lives.
Richard’s fascination with meditation, eastern philosophy, and metaphysics began in his teenage years and eventually led him to work as a psychic, offering energy healing, and the spiritual and physical practices of yoga. Originally from Boston, he spent time in San Francisco and made a brief pitstop in med school before opting instead to cultivate his passion for alternative paths to health and wellbeing, including acupuncture, massage, hypnosis, firewalking, and more.
Richard lived in Braintree, a small town in Massachusetts, “at a time when people would say [yoga’s] a cult and in a location where I couldn't get a license to read tarot cards,” he remembers. Reams of bureaucratic red tape and community resistance stood between him and a permit to offer psychic readings and to open a small New Age store.
Undaunted, this former student of Tony Robbins’ early entrepreneurship classes found a loophole: he secured the license to drawings by a local political cartoonist and offered “free” psychic readings with the purchase of a silkscreened T-shirt. The publicity from his resourceful stunt led to the opening of a new age retail space, Open Doors Holistic and Metaphysical Center & Learning and Healing Center, which featured products and classes devoted to the many different spiritual maps charted by all humankind and still operates to this day. To this day the Braintree location still gives a gift of free crystals with every reading or purchase as an homage to the beginnings of Open Doors. The facility also held a large classroom for community events (including the free Reiki sessions that have been going on for 30 years). The store has grown since its beginnings in 1992 and still offers spiritual and new age products, as well as metaphysical & holistic health services to its large community base.
“One of the things that I discovered about myself, about my purpose, is that I simply provide a wide space for something to happen,” Richard says. “And in that space, I wanted to give people a deeper experience of themselves, and the ability to connect back home, so to speak. To connect with their essence whether that's through yoga or some other means.”
The Door to Yoga
Always into fitness, Richard was never much of a gym-goer. But when he went to his first Baron Baptiste class, he was hooked. The problem was that it took “maybe three hours to get in and out of the city, find a parking space where you wouldn’t get a $50 ticket, and take a class that was typically sold out.”
The solution: host his own classes back in Braintree. He got 20 heaters and 12 humidifiers to heat the space and the classes grew organically and gradually. Eventually, through a lot of experimentation, he was able to come up with a way of heating and humidifying the studio to provide heater yoga flow classes. Then, on the day his regular instructor didn't show, Richard stepped in to teach his first class.
With Open Doors Yoga classes full and the suburbs still underserved, Richard opened another studio and then another, and developed a style of vinyasa yoga and a teacher training program to feed his new studios. By the time he hit 15 locations (in Massachusetts and one in Texas), he was sinking every ounce of energy he had into his flourishing enterprise.
It was a struggle to give the care he wanted to every studio. So, in 2022, Richard handed the franchise reins to others who are “fostering the collective growth of the brand, bringing studio owners constructively into the fold, and supporting next-level connectedness.” With his newfound free time and when Richard is not at the Braintree location, he travels and conducts a variety of yoga, meditation, energy healing, and metaphysical programs in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Many Doors, One Community
From her first yoga class at Open Doors, Easton in 2007, Marilva Wedge was captivated by the practice. “I felt completely out of my element and comfort zone during class, but after, that’s a whole different story,” she recalls. “There was this sense of calm. Peace. Relaxation. My entire energetic being changed that day and I knew I wanted to go back and keep that feeling with me.”
She completed her 200-hour certification, followed by a 300-hour advanced training with Richard and Shawn Cornelison. Then, In 2015, Marilva and her husband Mike reached out to Richard to discuss a franchise opportunity. Later that year, they opened in Taunton and eventually purchased the East Bridgewater studio. In 2022, they took over franchising with Mike leading location prospecting and Marilva managing the day-to-day.
“The franchise is operated by partners who together discuss the company’s growth plan,” Marilva explains. “It’s definitely a cooperative effort. We love input from our franchisees and hold regular meetings to gather intel on what’s going well, what’s not going well, and what they would like to see in terms of advertising, growth, marketing, etc. The franchise company covers the website costs and has the main input to what is placed there.” This provides a unified hub and a strong brand presence for customers across a variety of locations.
Community-building is an Open Doors hallmark – from their collaborative franchise approach to regular events that support the arts, trainings, and classes that uphold the commitment to spirit, potential, and connection. With hopes for new locations in Massachusetts, New England, and beyond, Marilva is eager to open doors to “safe places that honor the individual practices of our student base. We all believe strongly in the values embedded in our mission statement: to provide a vehicle for people to enjoy health and happiness, taught by Open Doors teachers who genuinely want to be part of a culture that is creating a positive force in the world.”
Credit: Fitness Business Insider Magazine, Spring 2023
Richard Lanza, Founder & President, Open Doors
Richard Lanza, ERYT, CYT, has been exploring the different branches of yoga and forms of holistic health for over 50 years with special focus on psychic development and spiritual healing. His background also includes training in Yoga, Eastern Philosophy, Hypnosis, Acupuncture, Massage, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Energy Healing, Essene Therapy and Therapeutic Touch. He is the originator and owner of OPEN DOORS HOLISTIC AND METAPHYSICAL CENTER and OPEN DOORS YOGA STUDIOS, creator and Instructor of the OPEN DOORS YOGA TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM, Co-Director of the OPEN DOORS School of Energy Healing, Creator and Instructor of the Intuitive Mastery Program, producer of Guided Meditation CD's and creator of TranceFormation Workshops. He also has received training and certification from Tolly Burkan as a FireWalk Facilitator. He has taught yoga workshops nationally and internationally. Richard currently teaches in at his home base in Braintree, MA, Los Cruces, New Mexico, Sofia, Bulgaria and Tokyo, Japan.
Richard believes his purpose is to provide the space to allow individuals the opportunity to transform their lives. As an instructor, his intent is to support his students to empower themselves, lighten up and enjoy life, deepen their spiritual practice, explore their potential, and discover their unique truth.