I am pleased to introduce you to Ross Stambaugh in this podcast titled Yogis Helping Yogis.
Visit Ross on his Instagram site here @ashtanga.yoga.ross
Find him on his website ashtangahub.com
Ross is a 20+ year veteran of Ashtanga Yoga, and is an authorized teacher who learned directly under the teachings of Saraswati Jois in Mysore, India. When he is not traveling internationally for workshops, he welcomes the opportunity to help all levels of dedicated yoga practitioners. He makes annual trips to India to continue his studies and has assisted Saraswati on multiple occasions. Ross seeks to preserve the traditional Ashtanga method by maintaining a daily practice, and has extensive knowledge in the areas of pranayama, philosophy (yoga sutras), and certainly asana.
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Welcome to Native yoga, Toddcast. So happy you are here. My goal with this channel is to bring inspirational speakers to the mic in the field of yoga, massage bodywork and beyond. Follow us native yoga, and check us out at Nativeyogacenter.com. All right, let's begin. Wow, yes, I'm so happy you are here. Today I bring to you a special guest Ross stem bow. His website is Ashtangahub.com. You gotta go check him out on Instagram. If you don't like Instagram or use Instagram, I understand. So definitely go to his website. But he does a great job on his IG page. It's @Ashtanga.yoga.Ross. And also want to give a shout out to Waleah Norton at Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma, check her out as well www.redearthyogacenter.com. She introduced me to Ross and those guys had a chance to practice in India together and she got me so pumped to speak with him. And she said you gotta bring this guy on your podcast. He's great. And he is great. And I had a really nice conversation with him. And I hope that you enjoy this. And so on that note. Let me go ahead and push play for you here. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to speak today with Ross Stambaugh. Ross, how are you doing? Fantastic. Thanks for asking. I'm so happy that you're here. I received rave reviews from our mutual friend while Leah who owns red, a red earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma. And she mentioned that you have visited her there. Is that true? You went and taught some yoga there. Actually, I taught my first official Ashtanga Yoga workshop with her I met her in Mysore India. And it's kind of a funny story. She She posted a picture of her standing in front of her apartment, and I knew exactly where it was. So I knocked on her door. And she's, you know, she kind of wishes Who is it? And I said, Hey, you know, my name is Ross. We've talked to each other on, you know, I think at the time was Facebook. And she kind of looks out and she was she didn't want to open the door. So she's like, how do you know who I am? And then I said, Well, I put things together and I saw Yes. So but eventually, over the course of the to the next two months, we became fast friends. And she invited me to her studio and we we did a lot of yoga. That's awesome. I know she's a really great person. So I appreciate the introduction. Thank you. Waleah, and Ross, I noticed that your website is Asthangahub.com So anyone listening I'll put the links in the description below. So it's gonna be really easy to find Ross and also you're on Instagram. What's your handle is Ashtanga dot yoga dot Ross, which will also be down below. And I love your Instagram posts. Since I've gotten a chance to follow you. You do a great job with your posts. It seems like you're having fun doing it, which is an art form in and of itself. And then in the process of going to your website and learning about you. You are an ashtanga yoga practitioner and teacher and you've studied in Mysore with Sarswati Jois, is that correct? That's right. That's right. Yeah, um, about I think 2014 I took my first trip to Mysore and I'm a school teacher. So I had the summers off, and that's when Saraswathi Jois the daughter of Pattabhi Jois, teachers out of her Charlotte, and yeah, went there a couple for a couple of years. Several years actually, and just fell in love with the city fell in love with the temples. Fell in love with philosophy and of course, of course yoga. Right. Mysore is an amazing city. What are some of the favorite things to do for you in mind? For what do you enjoy doing while you're there? Apart from the yoga? Yeah, I think, I think everyone, if they want to have a quintessential Indian experience, you have to get on a scooter. And you have to get lost in the city. And you have to get try to navigate your way around the cows and the people in the temples and just get immersed in in a culture that's so very different from our Western eyes and ears and cents and everything. Nice. I agree. I did. No, actually, I did not rent a motorbike in India. I was a little timid of that. I've rented motorbikes in Thailand and in Indonesia. But when I was in India, I really just stuck with the with the rickshaw. And so that's a bold move to get on a motorbike there. I applaud that courage, courage. Oh, thanks. Yeah. Have you ever had any close encounters there? will lead and I had a few. Yeah, she jumped on the bike. And, of course, she was holding her camera up, and I was waving and a bus. And I came like within a whisker of each other. Oh, I did. My last trip. I was with my mom. And we it was the last day and I was running her around Mysore. And I slipped on some gravel, and I and I busted up my elbow. Long story short, I'm in the emergency room in there, and in front of us. I don't know what happened. Or there's a group of people there waiting. And like India, you know, money talks sometimes. And they and I'm like, wow, I have a I have a flight to catch in like three hours. i They won't let me on the airplane. Because I'm just it's not stuff. You know, I needed to get some stitches. And so in my, in my pocket, I had all my rupees left. So I had, I don't know, maybe $200 and rupees. And I take it on my pocket. And I kind of wave it to the, to the nurse up there. And that they they weighed me in and I got the stitches. And I think I think it was maybe 40 Maybe 60 US dollars at the end. Right and then out the door and I got on my flight. Yeah, amazing. That journey from which which airport, were you or what city were you flying out of? I was flying out of Bangalore. So it's a four hour drive from Mysore to Bangalore. So we have to jump in a taxi and then get that taxi to the airport. That's an amazing trip, isn't it? I remember the first, my wife and I went to Mysore and 2004. And when we got to Bangalore and walked out the doors and there was it seemed like at least 100 people all willing to help us out. And that was our first like overwhelming like, oh my gosh, what did we do? unique experience. That is amazing. You're right. That's what makes it so fun to go there. I'm I'm really curious, how did how did it evolve that you were able to invite your mom and your mom being willing to say yes. And how did that happen? Well, I would spend time there. So like I said, I was teaching I had a few months off. And my mom just recently retired. And she's always been, you know, one very quiet mom. But she's she's, she's always been has a little adventure, this venture side to her. And she said, Well, you know, can I come and see what you do you. You talked about yoga, you practice yoga, you're always talking, you know, you're always doing yoga. Can I come and see what you do? And I said, Yeah, sure. So she jumped on an airplane and she hung out with me for almost three weeks. It was a great experience. That's so cool. What a great opportunity. Yeah, that's amazing. And when was last time you were in India, have you been there since 2019 2020? No, I was I last trip was 2018 at the end of the summer. And then of course COVID started to build. So I've missed out the last two seasons. Yeah, three seasons almost. And so but I'm hoping to return this coming July. Cool. Yeah. Nice. And I noticed that you said you're a school teacher but you you teach art to Tilton to the school kids. Yeah. I'm a middle school art teacher. I've been doing that for 2022 years. because this is 23rd Wow, that's really cool. Did you? Have you been an artist your whole life? Is that something that you were involved in when you were in middle school age and then progressed to wanting to go to school for it and now teach? Yeah, it was sort of the only thing I could I could get at school with I would, I would, you know, I would take all the classes and in, in Junior High in high school, and of course, college, and I was a fine arts major for two years. I focused on like, traditional painting. And I, I didn't really have the aptitude for it, you know, I was okay. But I wasn't. I was in a group of people that were better than okay. You know, they were they were really driven. And I noticed right away, I simply didn't have that level of talent. But both my parents were teachers, and my sister's, a teacher, and all my cousins are teachers. So it just felt like, a thing to do. I enjoyed traveling, and I recognize that a teacher's schedule would allow me to do that. So yeah, I've been a teacher. And I've been really enjoying it. That's cool. You know, on that note, I have a daughter who's in fourth grade. And as I was studying up and getting ready for this opportunity to speak with you, I heard her in the background, she had a substitute teacher, and she said, All he did was look at his phone all day, he didn't teach us anything. And I gotta crack up. They can like, yeah, substitute teacher gig, but when I was in school, we didn't have cell phones back in the old days, and, and I just thought, I just kind of cracked me up to think about a substitute, just like staring at his or her phone for the whole session. All right, kids, just do what you want. I'm guessing, though, that you take a really proactive role in the education process, can you share a story or two about what it's like being a teacher and working with middle school aged kids? Ah, well, you have to be proactive, or else they'll they'll just eat you alive. The you know, I have I have such a spectrum of abilities and such a spectrum of maturity. And you have to be able to figure out how to engage each and every one. And, you know, sometimes there's success, and But oftentimes, there's trial and error, and we certainly fall on to the air of things. So I think that's a great kind of segue into yoga, you know, recognizing when the external circumstances are not in your control, and you have to rely on a little bit of faith, and rely on a little bit of skill and a little bit of, of the unknown to get through the day. And hopefully, you have something left to give to children give to to people that are, are not, not oftentimes willing to accept the struggle of of learning. Right? Whenever we grow, especially in yoga, whenever we grow, we have to be okay with the struggle, which is certainly hard. Hard to do. Yes, yes. How did you What was your first yoga class I kind of had to first yoga classes, my first yoga class, I was say, I have to say, junior or senior in high school. And this was in 91, or 92. And at that time, any, if you wanted to do in the yoga, you either read it from a book, or you took it from someone in, in the basement of a church. So I did the ladder. And it was, you know, I couldn't even really tell you what type of style it was, except I remember this line on the floor, believing that this yoga teacher truly have the ability to read minds. And this is amazing, but I don't want her to read my mind. Because I don't know. And I thought I thought that was interesting. And but I I just didn't have the the focus, you know, as a teenager, you certainly now focus. And it wasn't until I was done with college. I was walking down the street in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I look inside a head shop. And they were playing a video of Richard Freeman. And he was doing this believable, unbelievable handstand. It has legs and Lotus and he did this beautiful handstand and then he jumps out out of it and he floats down. And I was mesmerised. I was hooked. And I bought the VHS and I brought it home and I tried to do it. It was like an hour and 40 minutes of him doing primary series of Ashtanga yoga system. If you don't know about that, it's one of the most difficult systems of yoga, most strenuous styles of yoga. But I practice every day until that VHS tape broke. And yeah, the rest. rest was history has haven't stopped since. That's so cool. Ross. I'm curious. That must have been around about like, 2002 or so for you. Yeah. earlier? Yeah. Especially if you're one doesn't want it because my first ashtanga yoga experience was through David Swensons. VHS tape, his primary series. Yeah, that opening scene where he's out on the dock out over the water. And he does that, like, really beautiful display of combination of poses from first second third series that I was like, holy cow. What is that? And that's so cool to hear someone else say that from watching an early you know, some are our heroes from the early days of Ashtanga just a demonstration was all it takes to get completely fired up. On cure. I'm curious, how long did you practice on your own to the VHS before you then had exposure to a teacher? Oh, I'd probably say five, six years. Wow, I practiced. And, you know, I always I needed discipline. You know, from the day of at school, I needed an outlet to vent and I needed an outlet to release all that energy that's always been pushed on you. And I thought it would be something more explosive, like boxing or MMA or something. But I found that I knew that I needed quiet, you know, and it wasn't happening in my head until about the third or fourth sensation. And I could I could feel like I was breathing again. Nice. And and yeah, so I did that for five, six years. And then a studio opened down the street from from where I was living, and they did ashtanga they didn't they didn't call it ashtanga but they call it a stronger but they didn't count. And then they they you know there wasn't a traditional lead class, but they they did the best they could with the knowledge they had phenomenal, phenomenal teachers. And I did that for six or seven years. Nice. Awesome. Yeah. And say like, a pose like Marichyasana D in relation to how flexible or not flexible where your hips when you started practicing from watching and doing self practice not having a new anyone assist you. Well, could you do Marichyasana A right off the bat? Or I'm sorry? Marichyasana D right off the bat? Or was it something that was really challenging, but you figured out how to eventually slowly ease your way into it? I'm gonna say both. I could I can force myself into it. And so I didn't have a teacher to tell me that. That wasn't the best way. So I would force myself into it. Because at one time someone told me Oh, Hatha Yoga is the way forceful yoga. It's and I took it as physically forceful, not, you know, mentally, like you need mental fortitude. And being being an ex college swimmer and being an athlete. I recognize that you could push past it. So yeah, I could I could do it. But I wasn't doing any yoga. I was doing sport yoga. Yeah, yeah. No, I was just doing doing what what I what I thought I saw what was the turning point that helped you to feel the transition from sport yoga into a deeper layer of the yoga practice. Ah, boy, you know, all of the above. And I know that's kind of a wishy washy answer. I recognize the you know, you grow into this maturity of, of yoga and it's not like you master any part of it. I think the exact opposite you, you gain the knowledge that you don't know anything and you Then you become you have to add some humility to your practice. You know, I learned at kind of a younger age, about the limits of the physical body, you know, I get injured to another sports, swimming, judo, you know, I get hurt all the time in judo and then I'd go practice more yoga and then come back. The you know that I can't say that there was a monumental shift, like I woke up one day and go, Yeah, yoga, it was only recently, when I look at the 20 year olds that are now starting yoga, and how they've been exposed to just phenomenal teachers, and how easy it is to get this knowledge. And I recognize that the knowledge that they're they're receiving is the same knowledge you and I are receiving or have received, we're just receiving it, they're receiving in a different pace. And they don't have, which I didn't have, and neither of us had at the time is the experience of yoga. To to have a filter, clear enough to put some of these bigger philosophies and these bigger things into perspective. And use it less as a as a form of, of argument or critique. And more of, of a lens of of inclusion. With with this with yoga. Nice. Yeah, I would agree with all that. That makes perfect sense. I'm thinking I think, what if you mentioned that you took your first show your class in like junior senior, and it was round like 91? Or 92? i We must be the same age. Did you graduate in 92? As a senior? I graduated in 94. Gotcha. 4047 All right. Yeah, I'm just a year older. So we're around about the same time period. Um, that's, that's awesome. Nice to meet a fellow same age God. So, on that note, I'm curious, we know from watching your Instagram, you've been able to maintain strength and flexibility to an incredible degree. Kind of you say, our youth, does that fit? Does it feel that way to you? It is starting to leave, you know, I fight you know, you gotta fight for what you like you what you want, and you have to be okay with what you have. But I've had to adopt a strength training routine few years ago. Again, from injuries I I forced upon myself, like, like, I'm sure you've heard this, too, Yoga will cure every ailment that you have. And one ailment I had was back pain. And it wasn't until my third or fourth trip in India where I was literally crawling up the hill back to my apartment because my back was in such pain. This is 10 years of back pain. And then I got lucky, short, short, long story short, got lucky. And there was a massage therapists and the healer there that helped me through the process. But I learned that I couldn't yoga couldn't cure my back pain, I had to find a physical therapist, I actually found several physical therapists and they brought me back to life. But one thing I had to do was I had to have proper strength training. And so I started lifting weights kept kept in my yoga practice. started eating much, much healthier. And yeah, took care of my body the best I can. Yeah, I hear ya. Awesome, man. Great to hear. Do Where are you currently teaching? Are you teaching? locally? Where are you? So you're in Ohio? Is that correct? All right. Yeah. And do you do work in a studio do work via internet. Do you work one on one? Do you work with groups? What is your typical teaching schedule look like on a weekly basis? Yeah, I'm, I'm reluctant. I'm a reluctant yogi. And you know, I don't I don't have any of that kind of nailed down. I recently i i teach abroad a lot now. And, and I tried to dabble in everything. Dayton, Ohio was not the hub for Ashtanga Yoga. So I have to be a little creative. I use my my studio here. You can see back here I have, you know, space for two or three people, if they if they're in the neighborhood and they wish to practice So I invite them. But I've found that my favorite way to interact is an in person workshops. I, yeah, a lot of yoga, yoga, I think is doesn't necessarily need to be over explained. And it doesn't necessarily need to be complicated. But it needs to have an interaction of a trust and a certain level of interaction that is, that can that's a give and take. And I think that's very difficult to do online and very, certainly difficult to do with tutorials. So I teach pranayama, online for for some people, and teach a half lead primary, online. And then on the weekends, I do workshops where I'm invited. So I have a few coming up right now this month in the surrounding tri state area, Kentucky and Tennessee, Raleigh. And then at the end of the month, I'll be in New York, and then UK and, and Lisbon, and Portugal, and Madrid. Nice as well. Awesome. trips planned. Very cool. I saw that on your IG, your Instagram, your schedule posted, and I was excited for you to see that. That's really cool. I know that for people that travel and teach the last two years have been very challenging for that. So I'm always excited to see anything that resembles that kind of pre 2020 model. So when I saw that you're going overseas and traveling around the area, I was like, that's really cool, man, I'm excited for you, Ross that you're keeping that going I do. There is something that's completely magical about being in the room with people and having that feedback process and the energy and the experience of being able to see other practitioners hear other practitioners breathe. So I agree with you. I also love the online element, too. I'm really excited about it. But I see the benefits and the challenges of both, for sure. That's cool man. Do when you teach pranayama online? Can you give me any insight about what type of are you doing all audio cueing? Or are you utilizing a camera on in front of you to be able to make any sort of hand gestures such as the inhale with your hand going up or an exhale with your hand going down or something of that nature? What have you found works well for you? Well, I found a simple formula to follow is key. Obviously being on time is key. And q&a, I've found is is really good as well giving them enough time to think about, you know, a burning question and respond. And I always find it great. When other students from other countries chime in. They always have a unique perspective, apart from us kind of Westerners saying, Okay, did I do it? Right? Did I do this? Right? You know, they always want to be reassured that they did exactly right. I find where it more Europeans have little softer, more philosophical approach to the way they form their questions. So I think we get a great a great exchange. And, and I think zoom particularly has made yoga teachers have to step up their game, you know, Assamese are known for their physical adjustments, not their cues. So they had to be creative. I certainly had to be creative on how to explain the nuances of three konasana tasks to perform this task and I you know, had to be very creative with that. And, and you have the opportunity now to study with some absolutely top notch yoga teachers. And so it's, it's great to be exposed to people you would you would never ever be able to be exposed to this way. Good point. What was your first experience with practicing the traditional, strongest style pranayama I hated it. I absolutely hated every second of it. By you know, there's Caitlin's. You know, and everyone does Asana. You know Asana is You can't deny the magnitude and attraction of it. And I was in Mysore. And I wanted to learn the traditional pranayama sequence. Tim Miller and in Encinitas, California, did it at a workshop that I attended. I don't know when he was in Columbus, Ohio. And he didn't do much. He said, I'll just do a little bit. And he did a little bit. And he wanted, you know, he wanted to do the whole sequence. And I tried to piecemeal it together. You know, they're the six techniques, and no one would teach me in India, I go, and I talked to people and they go, Oh, no, no, no, it's, it's scary. You're gonna go crazy. And then I finally found David Roach, he's expat living in Australia. He's certified a Xiangyu. Teacher. I said, Will you teach me the sequence? And he said, Yeah, yeah. Come on, come tomorrow, and I'll teach the sequence. And as soon as he started, you know, he did it traditionally. But he did it with a metronome. And he started, he's like, let's make it easy. Let's put it at 30 beats per minute, let's two seconds of beat. And so he started to like, Okay, we're gonna, you know, we're going to keep this cadence up for the duration. And, you know, I was a college swimmer. So I said, Okay, I think I, you know, I can, I can, I can do this. And I did everything I could from from, you know, seeing stars to trying to pass out and I said, David, thank you so much for teaching me this guy, my scooter. And I said, never going to do this again. And, and it wasn't until the next trip, I went, and I saw him again, where I, you know, I dug my heels in and said, Hey, this is there's got to be a reason why this is important. There's got to be a reason why it's in this particular order. You know, I Asana I can't can't live in Asana forever. And so I approached him a second time and said, Okay, David, I, I confess, I didn't practice, can we start again. And of course, he said, Yes. And then something happened, where I, I noticed that I started to withdrawal in the ways that were described in, you know, in these texts that we read, and the stories that we listened to, about pratyahara about about a truer sense withdrawal. And it wasn't until my my guru, or one of my Sanskrit teachers, off the cuff, said, you know, yoga is about living your life at 200% 100%, internally, 100%, externally. And that just kind of floored me, where you have to be able to be frictionless between these two realms that you live in, and know that your internal realm deserves just as much attention as your external realm. And I couldn't, I couldn't reach that, or I couldn't, I couldn't dig into that until I started with a daily pranayama practice. And with that daily, pranayama practice came an understanding a little bit more of Asana. And I noticed that the asana wasn't, wasn't didn't need to go as deep in order for me to get a reaction. You know, internally, yeah, you know, I didn't need to beat myself up until I was exhausted, to feel the, you know, to feel okay to calm down. And so, now, if I miss pranayama, that for a couple of days, I noticed my my practice, like physical practice is fine, but my mental practice through it isn't the same. Nice. Yeah, I hear Yeah. It is an amazing practice. When you teach students pranayama. So say, for example, on the very first one with the red chicka, campaka and portica calm because the exhale retention and the inherent tension, what type of ratio Do you like to start people with in terms of like, a six second inhale and a six second, exhale, and then hold for four seconds, eight seconds, and then on the inhale side? What is your kind of go to ratio? When you are working with a group? Yeah, if I'm, if I'm working with anyone more than one on one, it's always Is count of eight, you know, and then I kind of, I started that at, you know, 50 beats per minute with a metronome. And I, I have everything as a candidate, inhale eight XL a hold for eight. Just for a few logistics, one, it's simple to follow. To it's, it's for people that have never done pranayama. It's a challenging pace, but not impossible. And I try to stress that we're only doing the mechanics of it, you know, we're only scraping the surface. And so that holds me accountable for a certain standard, and that holds them accountable for a certain standard. And I don't, I don't, one thing I always enjoyed is I that there's no wishy washy stuff, but that there's no unicorns, there's no mystic chatter, that, that I have to give someone, there's no, there's none of these metaphors, that forces forces their imagination to build. I think the idea is to do it. I'm not going to influence what's happening, I'm just going to facilitate what's happening. And rarely ever, do I have a student not go through. Like in a whole range of emotion. I've always asked, did you guys get frustrated? And I'd be surprised how often people put their hand up and go, Yeah, I was frustrated. And then I would follow up, do you? Do you guys feel calmer, you know, and everyone will put their hand up? And I'd say, Do you feel focused. And they Yeah, and that is, I find to be a bridge to practice Ihara know, a bridge to this opportunity to know that yoga is skill and action. And in order to develop a skill, you have to you have to have focus. And with focus comes this, this cushion between you and any distraction. And, and you can focus on anything, that's the beauty of it, anything you want. And an establish a clear understanding of you know, it's not held to the highest regard of a priest or the person that can bend their back the most. All you have to do is have a benefit of focus. And I think you're doing yoga. Great answer on that, on that topic, I feel like one of the things I on the first time, I got a chance to take a serious Ashtanga class with a serious group of people and at the closing posture time, shavasana, or I know, we could debate whether we should call it Avastin or not, but when you lay down, that there would just be take rest. And then be quiet. There was no, you know, now do this. Now do that. Now imagine this and I liked that when you mentioned with the pranayama that there's not a unicorn or rainbow sort of visualization attached to it more the experience of the practice and, and then I also like that you brought up the range of emotion that's potential to come up all within the same practice that there can be calm, as well as anxiety, you know it within the within a 30 to 45 minute routine that you could go through that whole range, which is really amazing part of the yoga practice. I agree with you. That's cool. Our I'm also curious, how do you structure your physical practice time these days? Do you keep a very regimented routine in terms of like, okay, on Sunday, I do second and Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I do third and then on? Whichever day primary, or are you waking up? Or maybe it sounded like maybe you go to work and then after teaching is where you enjoy practice at the end of the day as like a process, a way to process everything. How do you structure your physical practice in relation to the different series? Yeah, I always practice after work. And I recently I'd say the last eight months, it's been primary one day, second, the next day and then most of third one. I'm practicing a third. The following day. So I, and then, and then I reverse that to the rest of the week. So Thursday, Thursday, or sorry, Wednesday would be third, Thursday would be second, and then Friday, I always do try to do primary, but it's in the week and I do what I can. Saturday, I recently Saturday has become my rest day and then Sunday I start start the process again. And, but, you know, I'm human like anybody else. So I'd say, nine out of 10 times I forget two or three postures or you know, phone rings or dog has to be fed or, or something. But I would say I still get a solid time give myself a solid B plus, when it comes to keeping, keeping the postures and I but I do get get on my mat every day. Even if, even if it's just for a couple of sun salutations. Nice. But I have but I've, I've had, I have a lifestyle that permits me to have that extra time. And I've always I've always held that to high regard. And with that comes, you know, you have to, you have to put some walls up to be able to have that choice, yeah. compliant, in relation to relationships with other people and then wanting us to do something and you saying, No, I don't have I got a I want this time for me. Is that what you're alluding to? Or a different type of putting up barriers? Or is it all the one one of the same thing? I, I've had to put up some barriers, certainly, we're probably about the age where drinking just simply doesn't appeal to me at all. It's been a long, long time, since about any sort of reaction to a drink, or a drink itself. So that's not easy to bet, or that's easy to distance myself from from people to do that, that's easy. The other part that becomes a little bit more and more difficult to do is have a barrier at work, you know, where I can't give, I'm not willing to give that the emotional time the physical after school time, and, and simply the intellectual time. It needs that, that I see a lot of teachers do. Just for my own mental health, too. I need to dial that back. And that gets me on the mat. More and more often. That makes sense. And it really is just going to bed on time. Yeah. Yeah, I hear Yeah. Yeah, I don't think I've seen 10 o'clock on a on an alarm clock. In 1015 years. He's like, I even if I tried, like, I get up at five every day, and even if I tried to sleep in like some days, I'm gonna give a real good, honest effort to sleep in like, I my body at five o'clock, like, I'll look at the clock and it's 500 like I'm gonna come. Why? It's crazy how, how structured it can become. I'm curious, in terms of when you were talking about Ponte Yama, and I guess where I want to head down to this question is with vinyasa flow. But I remember I had asked him Miller about pranayama. He had prided himself and being one of the pioneers of being very focused, regimented, Ashtanga teacher, but also pioneering the vinyasa flow technique with other teachers, as far as like, you know, if we have this here, and we could put that there and wonder what would happen? And then I'd ask them, Tim with pranayama Do you ever do pranayama flow, you know, and he's like, Nope. Nope. Like, that's the one thing I will not mess with. And I was like, Cool, I get it, I get it. And in relation to what you had said, like the consistency of the pronoun, I think, yes, that is an A is a really amazing part of it. How much do you in terms of the asana world, either in your own practice and or in relation to teaching Do you deviate from the norm in terms of like using research poses or even going outside of that box into like yin yoga or I can't even think of a different type of go different type of yoga. Thank you go yoga. Yeah. I am. I'm a traditionalist. I wouldn't say fundamentalist, but I'm certainly a traditionalist. i There is a rhyme and reason to it. And it and I also think that, you know, yoga, it can be arbitrary. You can put any two yoga postures together. And if you breathe through it and you have focus and the integrity is there, then that's yoga plain and simple. And but I have to hold myself to a standard as a teacher, so I can remove that personal bias to the best of my ability, and not force my personal opinions on, on the physicality of the asana. But that is a double edged sword. When you're working with with students that obviously have limitations. With within their strongest system, it gets complicated. So what I, what I try to encourage and give my students that I work with is, is the integrity of the posture there. are that are they engaging, you know, the muscles the right way? I guess I could, I could say that, do I see the tension? Right? And then I, I try my best to introduce, like, a steadiness that gets them through the first posture to whatever posture they're working on. And that steadiness is there for a reason, because your mind is mentally preparing you. Right for these upcoming more challenging poses. And I noticed I noticed this, and it happens in me too. You'd have this beautiful, primary series, you know, oh, there, they look absolutely. Fantastic. And then copper toxins come in, you know, and you see him, you know, you see them just mentally fall apart. And I think you worked an entire hour to do yoga to neural Aha, you're right to calm the sensations of the mind. And what does it do? As soon as you need to bend backwards? It messes with your head. So they weren't using yoga, they were using you yoga in the asthma sense. And they were totally giving up on on the mental of it. But that's, we all do that. And it's so easy. It is so easy to trick ourselves. Yeah. Because our their mind has a mind of its own. Yeah. That is something that I love about the Ashtanga series. Yeah, that's a great point. It's really easy to avoid the hard stuff. Make excuses. I hear Yeah. I'm curious when a lot of people go to Mysore, they're hungry for, you know, now practice with Schrott and you study and practice with his mom. Sarswati. And how did that evolve for you? Did you when you went to Mysore? Did you know which person you would take to the lid tender? Or was it something that evolved on your first trip there? Well, at summer times, she wasn't teaching and Saraswathi was teaching. So it was just a matter of who was there. And so I walk into her Shala. And at the time, there was you know, about 80 people, maybe 100 people, and it right away. My very first practice there, so I was, you know, I did yoga for maybe 10 years, I did shunga for 10 years. So I, you know, I knew I knew the ropes, and also was an athlete, so I knew how to be coached. And I would just remember putting my hands up Senator mascara, you know, we did opening chant we did, we're going to do my sword. And I said to myself, I don't need to be here. I don't need to learn off. I know what I'm doing. And I, you know, I kind of look to my left and right. And I said, I want to be here. I want to be in this room and I want to experience these this stuff called Yoga, I want to I want to figure it out, you know, I didn't want it. I didn't want it to be secondhand knowledge anymore. I was tired of people telling me what it was like. So I wanted to take charge of the experience of other stronger yoga for me. And that gave me this this drive of belief that that still stays with me that I can teach myself that yoga is going to be self self serving, and it's going to be a lot of self learning. learning as well. You do, do your work on yourself or yourself. Which kind of sounds selfish. But once you have someone that knows themselves, well, they're they're like a rock. You know, there's they're steady and and unimposing. You know, they're humble. They don't need to prove anything to anyone. And, and when I meet a few people like that it's pretty exciting. And I can't put them I can't put it into words. But I just know, I know him. And I look at them, and you can just see in their face or you can see in their, in their, in their speech that they're not budging. You know that when they're right, they're right. And then nothing you can do to the budge. And I saw that in a couple of people I was practicing with. And I noticed that their practice wasn't fantastic. They were older, more experience of life. And I noticed that they didn't need us and that to have that that resolve to to be focused on that resolved to stand firm. So I knew that they had other experiences that that gave them that ability. And they just they just brought it into yoga. You know, it was fantastic. Nice. That's really cool. Great point. I'm enjoying listening to speak. So sorry, it's taken me a second to formulate my next question. That's fine. That's fine. I kind of ramble sometimes. No, you're clear. It's good. I appreciate it. You know? Have you experienced serious suffering and or sadness and or loss in life? Or do you feel like that wasn't a major reason for you to seek out yoga? No, no, no, I've I've certainly been of age, I've certainly lost family members and close friends. Some naturally someone naturally. And in the weird part of that is that I'd recognize recognize numbness and numbness isn't what I'm really looking for. But shock. You know, where you're, you're moving, but you don't know it. You know, I and but the one thing I've noticed about it, there's a few times where I had a heavy loss and started leaving my senses behind. And I said, Okay, wait, I I've experienced this before. Actually, I've experienced this feeling a lot. And it happens when I'm in deep Kameyama when I have a good pranayama part where I'm starting to pull apart. And the thing the other thing I noticed immediately immediately is everything. Everyone around me is going about the business. Nothing, nothing changes. It's a normal, everyday interaction in a day. And, and I try to remember that when when things get tough. You know, I also I'll share with you when I had a good friend of mine was killed on a motorcycle. And I was with him and it was shocking. And a couple of weeks go by and I I kind of come out of this cloud and start to re re you know, go back into some hobbies at the time was rock climbing. And I ran into some friends and you know, they buddy of mine was rock climbing partner as well. And they said hey, you know how you doing? And I'm doing okay, you know, my dad just passed and and everyone everyone I talked to had someone who died. Everyone, you know, Hey, Mom, you know, my mom died. Dad died. My cousin died. And I wasn't you know, I wasn't mean. It wasn't a self selfish thing to hold that in. It was it was nice to be able to recommend you scan the room and say I'm no better. I'm no different. I'm no worse than anyone else. In this room, and here we are doing doing the regular thing that regular people do. And we, and we carry this grief and we carry this loss. And we carry these, these heavy burdens somehow. And we don't often get a way to come to terms with them. Until I until I think until we find some yoga, or find some balance. Yeah. I like the way that you mentioned, when you first use the word numb, and then you said, that's not really the word I'm looking for. And then you said, like, my body's moving forward, but I'm not aware of it. That's a good way to explain that. That sort of feeling when someone's experiencing grief and or loss. On the flip side of the coin, when is the time recently that you've felt incredible joy? And you know, where you're just an absolute all of life, and this opportunity to be alive? Have you had a man? No, I mean, I have, you know, day after day, you know, get a nicer routine going. And so I'm not necessarily always looking for like, I need to be overwhelmed with joy, although I do really enjoy that, of course. But have you had an experience lately where you've been floored and appreciation and gratitude and just amazement. This may be cliche, but I do feel immense gratitude when I get an opportunity to teach. And when I see a student have an aha moment. And if I present it the right way, if I can present it, as it was presented to me with the same intention behind it, then I feel I feel comfortable. Like you can anyone can do like a jump through or a fancy handstand and someone go, oh, wow, that's neat. That's not the type of credit I like to receive. I like like when a student kind of goes, Okay, let me let me try it. And the mechanics work. And they go, that's something I can take that that that touches me. That touches me. That's cool. Yeah. What about the feeling when you conclude a three day weekend workshop? Can you explain Can you explain like what you feel when you've had that opportunity interact with people and then it's come to a close, you've left and you're maybe they're going on a plane or a train or something like that? Personally, I've always found that to be a really amazing experience, but I'm curious what, what your thoughts are there? There, I've never left a workshop, saying, I don't want to do that again. I've always said I can't this is so much the so pleasurable, you know, people that do yoga are not on there, they're not to be trifled with because they're highly intelligent. You can't say no to them, because they're they're doers, they will do you know what you ask them to do. So I've always tried my best to do something that's a that's practical, B that was taught to me that I can teach someone else. And I try never to kind of get on a soapbox and pontificate about something that is not necessary and the people in front of me had been practicing yoga whether I'm there or not, they're still going to work. So I I try to just be be in be in my lane and be the role I'm supposed to play. Some teachers are really that they have a lot of energy and they like to shout and they like to like get people excited. That's not I don't think that's that's my style. Other people are almost aloof, but I like to think that I'm you know, I just like I'm a kid who likes not a kid anymore, but who likes to practice yoga and you still uses it as a way to recharge to on a healthy kind of like I need. I need my space. I need my movement. I need myself. Nice. Yeah, I get that. Are you so you're, we're getting close to I know we scheduled in to have an hour together and so I really appreciate you taking all this time with me and I feel like I have a few more questions, but I want to be concise as well and, and help both you and I stay in our lanes. But on that note, I'm really curious to know if as a school teacher and then teaching art, and as a yoga teacher, have you had a samadhi experience or like a union experience between those two endeavors? Like, I guess what I'm wondering is, do you have a moment where you can walk into the classroom with the students and feel like the experience of interacting with them and teaching and then say, walking into a workshop setting and working with students and having the experience of teaching interacting is really the same thing and, like a merging of those experiences? Or are they still separate? Due to some unforeseen reason? Well, they're there, they could be one in the same. There are times that they have different skill sets, of course, but there are times where, where I have the opportunity to impart something, to to them so so say, typically, in a drawing class, you know, I work with 13 year olds, so their attention span is very, very short. So if I get an opportunity to get one or two of them to get progress done, or I can get the okay from them, I feel successful. And, and I can't ask for that number to be much higher in a group of 1015 adults who do yoga, you know, I know that one or two tips if I can portray and influence them by just one or two things that they can take home then. Success. The point that's cool, Ross. Now well, I've thoroughly enjoyed this opportunity to get to meet you and to have a chance to ask you some questions and get some insights into your teaching. Is there any other thought or tidbit of motivation, inspiration or advice that you'd like to help us close with? Yeah, just keep practicing. yoga, yoga, yoga doesn't work unless unless you work for the yoga. So give yourself some time to practice. Give yourself some mental space to practice. You know, put your get your day in order. So you can enjoy the benefits of what yoga can offer. Nice, Ross. Thank you so much, man. You don't Yeah, you don't need to have a fantastic backbend. You don't need to have a three hour practice. You don't need to get on an airplane and fly all over the world even though it's great. If you could, you know you need to own own yourself and and believe in yourself and never give up. Yeah. Agreed. Agreed. It feels good to kind of keep it going, doesn't it? Because you've had over 20 years now of consistent Ashtanga practice longer if we go all the way back to that first high school session, and the thing you said was a church, church basement. church basement. Would you agree it gets better? Even though like okay, yeah, maybe the physical part changes but from like the wisdom and the maturity aspect would you do you feel like you're in a like a growing better phase? I certainly feeling like I can, I'm I'm have the ability to trust myself more and more every day. And that comes always comes from a challenge you don't think you can overcome. And, you know, we get into the phase of our lives where life starts taking things away from us. And I think that's when a truer sense of gratitude comes in to your to your day whether it's finances or whether it's a job or whether it's loved ones but it I think it also is most poignant in a physical aspect when you start losing these awesome knows when you when you know when that ego has to be checked. And you can very easily see the clock ticking. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's one benefit of being older is you don't you do not have time to mess around anymore. No, you don't. You just don't have have that procrastination in you. Yeah, anymore. Yeah, good point. Awesome, man. Well, I'm so thankful and I hope I have to have the opportunity to meet you in person for everyone listening if you prefer to watch Ross and I talk this will I will upload this on to YouTube on our native yoga center channel but if you whether you enjoyed it listening and or viewing we really appreciate you all joining in and Ross, thank you so much for taking time out of your day to speak with me. I really do appreciate it. Thought it was absolutely my pleasure. Any anytime brother. You know your Yogi's helping Yogi's? Right, I love that. So then your website that you have that as a key point of concentration and focus, and I think that's really important. Yes, agreed. I noticed that you'd written. I know yoga studios are tough. And so as a traveling teacher, like like, let's figure something out, and Yogi's helping Yogi's and I thought, dude, I love that. Okay, that's unnecessary. We appreciate that. Yeah, you know, I love travel so much and I, and I've yet to meet a yoga studio owner that, you know, that makes an abundance of money. They just they worked a tail off and I can't be more more proud. And then the studio owners I know. It's great people. Well, thank you so much. And I'm gonna keep in. I'll keep you posted here and I can't wait to further a conversation down the road. Anytime, anytime. Cool, man. Have a good one. Cheers. Cheers. Thank you. Of course. 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