markrobberds markrobberds

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Mark Robberds  Yoga 🙏 Travel 🌏 Surf 🌊

Confessions of a Truth Seeker.
I came to Yoga as a young man, and like most of us I suspect, I was not looking for anything in particular, but found that I really enjoyed it and it made me feel very good. Naturally I wanted more of it. As I went into it further, my investigations led me to teachers and books and to India. I found out that the goal of Yoga was enlightenment and there were techniques to get you there.
Without realising it, I was suddenly focusing on techniques and methods and acquiring knowledge and following all the rules and steps to get me to Samadhi. However, one thing didn't sit well with me: as I looked around I didn't see anyone who had followed the rules who had reached the goal. Even those that claimed to have had the higher experiences failed at following the fundamental ethical principles. Also, intuitively, it didn't make any sense that there could be any connection between attaining any posture and enlightenment. .
Ramesh Balsekar, who I used to visit in Mumbai, told me that enlightenment is a concept - anything that is acceptable to one person but not to another is a concept. So you'll see many occasions where some people call a person an enlightened saint, and someone else will say they are a madman. He believed the only truth that we can know for sure is, "I AM", the knowing that I exist - this is something nobody can deny. .
My point is this; we came to Yoga because it made us feel good, it relieved some mental and emotional stress, it made us healthier. Then somewhere along the way we get caught up in following a technique and chasing an imaginary future goal. When I woke up to that it was a huge relief. Now I'm back where I started - practicing Yoga because I like it. 🙏
Lens: @brandonsmithphotography

Some of you may remember that before I went to the States a little over a month ago I posted a video on my first successful attempts at the front and back walkovers - a skill that had been on my mind for a while. Today I revisited them for the first time since then and I was not surprised to find that it's still there. Why am I not surprised? You may remember that I also recently talked about the Pareto principle - where 80% of the effects/results comes from 20% of the the causes/what you practice. In this case I've been practicing related movements over the past month. On top of that I'm a firm believer in the importance of constantly learning new skills - languages, musical instruments, juggling, to name a few, and I feel that this taps into an aspect of our brains that allows us to quickly learn new skills in any discipline. .

Recently I also learnt to go from a Handstand split to Hanumānāsana (front split) and I had been imagining myself doing it from a back walkover. Today I tried it for the first time and it happened. .

So for the front and back walkover, the requirements and related movements that I shown in this video are.1️⃣ Drop Back and stand up. 2️⃣Drop back and jump over. 3️⃣ Tic tocs. 4️⃣Front limber or Drop over and stand up. .
What to do with all this? The great thing is you don't need to do it everyday. Once you can integrate it into your practice, then you can put it down, focus on the 20% and come back to it later to maintain and refine it. In this way you can keep learning multiple skills throughout your life and keep focused on doing the things you love - and helping others along the way.

We are not all built the same. Most of the extremely flexible people you see are born with joints that hyper extend and no amount of stretching or mobility work will get the rest of us there. Similarly most of the people you see who are super strong have a proclivity to be that way because of mechanical advantages giving them good leverage - like long arms and/or short legs. .
As many of you know when I first started one of my teachers told me I had the wrong body-type for Ashtanga. This was straight up the wrong call. I have many advantages like long legs and big feet 😱and a flexible lower back which makes the scorpion easier for me than most. It also helps for postures like leg behind the head. On the other hand it's a disadvantage for most strength moves like jump backs, l-sits etc. Yet, I feel like that has made me stronger because I've had to work so hard on those areas. We all have our fair share of pluses and minuses in all aspects of our physical and mental abilities. .
As practitioners then, it is important to recognise our own strengths and weaknesses and not try to compete or compare ourselves with someone who is built completely different than you. Likewise, as teachers, our role is to identify body types (but be careful not to misjudge) so that we are not trying to fit everyone into the same mould. For example, in a posture like Kapotasana, should the benchmark be grabbing the heels? I don't think so. It is detrimental to force some people into that position. Does this mean that they are inadequate? Hell no! The idea should be to help each individual reach their full expression and potential in any asana and in any area of their lives. This is more beneficial than promising unrealistic ideals, such as, "I did it therefore so can you!" .
We can still celebrate all the different variables of the human body's expression without criticising or being envious of other people's gifts and talents. We all have them, find out what yours are, and express yourself. 🌟🙏

I just finished a great practice down at my old stomping ground, with my mentor and teacher Eileen Hall at YogaMoves, here in Sydney. The realisation dawned on me as I drove home that it has taken me 20 years of practice to be free from wanting something from my teachers, whether it be recognition, praise, a new posture or to be seen. I've always been late to bloom 🌺 but it's better late than never. 😌Yet, at the same time, and I can only speak from my own experience, that all of it is a necessary part of the learning curve. We all have unresolved stories; karmic imprints from the past, that need to play out in their own good time. 🙏

Who am I? Where did I come from? Where will I go? The BIG three questions... I just landed in Sydney and the facial recognition system did not match my face with the one on my passport 😱so I had to go and see a human 🤔to get clearance. The worrying thing is that my passport photo is from only 5 years ago. 😂Have I aged that much? .
Ironically I had just watched a doco on the flight about the latest developments in human research into immortality. It ranged from cryonics (freezing the body after death), trans-humanism (combining robot technology with humans) and even uploading our brains to a computer! But the question that will always remain is, "Who am I?" Am I this body? Am I my thoughts and emotions? Am I my brain? When I go into deep sleep do "I" remain? Can humans play 'God' and create immortality and what would be the ramifications? .
One thing for sure is that in the next 10-30 years science is going to radically change the way we live, but I wonder if it can ever solve the eternal mystery - "Who am I?" .
Maybe then I won't have to keep renewing my passport photo 🤣. ✌🏽 .

I remember the first time I went to India, and travelled the country by train, having many conversations about Yoga and what I was doing going to Mysore. Mostly people would say something like, "Yoga...very good for your health. Very good exercise". Almost no one I met practiced "Yoga" themselves. This used to confuse me for a couple of reasons. Firstly I thought everyone in India would be 'doing Yoga', and secondly why were they equating it with exercise and health? For me 'Yoga' was a 'spiritual' practice. What I realised later was that India is a country full of yogins, though the physical practices are only now making a resurgence back into mainstream culture thanks to the likes of Baba Ram Dev, BKS Iyengar and the influence of westerners on youth culture. Until recently very few Indians knew of Pattabhi Jois and if you mention Ashtanga Yoga they will think you are referring to Pantanji (rightly so). So, India is full of Bhakti Yogins (the Yoga of devotion) and prayer and worship permeates the land. In contrast, in the West, many of us either had no connection to religion as children, or (like myself) rejected Christianity at an early age. The result of this has been a spiritual void that has been filled by the Yoga practice- and naturally we have gravitated to the physical aspect of it. For many of us, going to Yoga class, gathering with the community and the teacher is like going to Church. It's where we pray. It's where we fill that emptiness caused by a material culture. It's where we find the answers to our deeper yearnings and longings. But maybe that's just me? I wonder how many of you also feel like Yoga fills that spiritual longing or is it just for exercise health?

"The Fisherman ⚓️ and the Unicorn🦄" 🤣 How would you #caption this? #relationshipgoals #EverydayEssentials ❤️

I've been asked to share my experience with injuries and so here it goes: finding balance and symmetry in our bodies and lives is an ongoing project. Often students will say to me, "I can do this side but can't do the other side." I always jokingly reply, "it's ok, we all have a dark side". A big part of this process is bringing that into the light. So it is when it comes to injuries. I have had three injuries in my 20 years of practice. The first time around 2002 after an adjustment in Yoga Nidrasana. I felt a twinge in my lower back and I couldn't walk for a week and then it was a slow process of rebuilding my practice. The same thing happened in 2006 after an adjustment in Malasana. That time it didn't take so long to recover. The third time I got a inguinal hernia after an intense period of practice in Mysore. That one required surgery and took between one to two years before it fully healed. So, as they say, "This Shit is REAL". There's a number of things to learn from this. First of all is that adjustments are potentially dangerous. The greater the difference between what you can actively and by yourself, to what you can do passively and with assistance, the greater the chance of injury. But I would never blame the adjuster, because all of my injuries came during a period of intense practice where I was taking my body to its limit and obviously not listening to the warning signs. It's like the expression, "hanging on by a thread", and the teacher doesn't realise this and then, "snap" the thread breaks. This is the shadow side in all of us that ignores our own intuitive wisdom. This is why I always err on the side of caution while adjusting and never take people beyond what they can do actively. Those days of old school adjustments are hopefully over because injuries like this need not happen.
Sometimes it is common to try and look for psychological reasons as to what caused the injury, for example when I injured my back I was told it was because I was lacking support in my life. Or when people hurt their knees they say it's caused by too much pride. Taken to the extreme people will even blame themselves for getting cancer. I rarely find this useful.

Hanumānāsana - Dedicated to Lord Hanuman🐒
After my previous post on developing flexibility and mobility for the front splits I was asked whether I use those techniques inside or outside of my Ashtanga practice. I was also asked what PNF means. So, in my opinion, it's really worthwhile to learn at least the basics of anatomy and physiology so that you can understand essential terms like what muscles are the prime movers, which are the synergists and what are the antagonists. You should know what reciprocal inhibition is, and what the myotatic stretch reflex is. Then you can learn how to move your body the way that you want to. For example, in this sequence I will use all of the above. First of all I move actively into the position using the hip flexors/quads (front leg) hip extensors (back leg). I then engage my quads even more to reciprocally inhibit the hamstrings on the front leg and squeeze the glutes on the back hip to relax the hip flexors. Then I try to squeeze my feet towards each other (PNF) which activates my hamstrings (front leg) and hip flexors (back leg) which not only strengthens them in a lengthened position, but when I relax again they relax in an even more lengthened position. I then actively move deeper into the stretch and repeat the steps over. When I bend forward and lie along the leg I tend to prefer to relax all muscular effort and allow for the relaxation response to travel through the nervous system - which takes around 15-30 seconds - and this is both soothing and calming and brings my heart rate down; something that is needed after the intensity of Gandha Bherundasana. The final position is done with the hands in namaste and this becomes a loaded stretch with the entire weight of the body being supported mostly by the front leg. This again strengthens the muscle in a lengthened position and is an important element of bringing strength and stability to your movements. This is the way I have been practicing for almost 20 years. Most of this I learnt from @simonsynergy and it has been confirmed by my other studies and exploration. 🙏

#EverydayEssentials There seems to be a ton of conflicting information out there these days on what is the 'best' way to increase flexibility or #mobility - which is a buzz word at the moment. When I used to search YouTube for tips on working on the splits, the top results usually came from 10 year old, hyper-mobile gymanstics girls showing their routines; which is cool but pretty hard for a guy to relate to, and I'd imagine the majority of adults as well. In Ashtanga Yoga the approach is to develop internal heat (making the muscles more elastic) by combining movement with breath and muscular 'locks' - and this has been the foundation of my practice over the years. In fact I remember waking up with sore hamstrings every morning for about the first two years of practice. The splits were not something that came easily to me and actually I was happy to follow the system of developing them slowly over time. In this system, as it's taught now, they come in the 3rd Series. I always just trusted that by the time I got there I would be ready. Nowadays though, I like to think of them more like I do sitting cross-legged on the floor. Eventually this is the optimum situation as it becomes a default level of flexibility and mobility. I always use a mix of active, passive, PNF, and weighted techniques in my approach to my practice and teaching. This video was from the other day just chilling watching the surfing finals at Bells Beach in Australia. For anyone out there wanting to work on the splits I'd say you have to be prepared to put in the time, and practice with patience, with a combination of techniques, and most of all a sense of humour and care. 🙏

It's my last night in #cali and I'm feeling sad to leave, which is ironic considering I was so apprehensive about coming. Even though I've been on the road for 13 years I still get attached and comfortable in places and scared to move on. Once again, though, the road has taught me so many things. This journey in #california has been like a lifetime of blessings and discoveries 💗. I have met so many amazing people and have been continuously in appreciation of the generosity of the human spirit🙏. I've once again been schooled in the art of letting go, of trusting the unknown. I've been shown that it's a two way deal: Yes, the universe will provide 💫but you've got to keep reaching and creating your own opportunities. .
Tomorrow I'm off to #dallas to teach my final workshop at @secondsideyoga 🌟 I believe there may even be a few spots left. To be honest I'm not sure when I'll be back to the states so if you can make it.....I'd love to see you there. .
The #airbaby 👶🏽 is starting to come thanks to consistency and tips from my brothers @mattexp and @cyberyoga . 📸@treckert and rocking the @thekozm camo shorts 👌🏽

You don't need any special technique to BE. You ARE. Mooji
I speak a lot about following your heart, reaching your goals, and realising your dreams. ✨If you look around, the majority of our cultural conditioning is programming us to make us believe that living a fulfilling life is to attain everything that we set our minds too. There's no doubt in my mind that this is an important aspect of life, but for me even more important is the knowing that right now, in this moment, there is nothing to prove and nothing to improve upon. There is nothing to add that can make you more than you already ARE. Otherwise we can get lost in a constant search for more, and get addicted to techniques and methods and acquiring knowledge.
So how do I find the balance? I like to check in regularly with the non-dual masters like Mooji or Ramesh Balsekar, E Tolle, to name a few, and allow their teachings to wash over me so that all striving dissolves, and instantly I remember WHO I AM, and an effortless peace pervades my BEING. I thoroughly recommend all of you aspirants out there to do the same. Don't get lost in wanting more or identified with a school. BE free. 🙏

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