Interview with David Robson
Ashtanga Yoga: On a Path to Self-Understanding, with David Robson
David Robson is the director of the Ashtanga Yoga Centre of Toronto. With 100+ students each morning, he leads one of the world’s largest Mysore programs outside of India. After completing a degree in Comparative Religion, David made his first trip to Mysore, India in 2002, where he initiated studies with his teacher Sharath Jois. Since then, he has returned annually to deepen and enrich his practice and teaching, and since 2007 has been an Authorized Level 2 teacher. David teaches workshops and retreats around the world, and has released a popular series of instructional videos on Ashtanga called Learn To Float.
We love hosting David's annual visits to Croatia, and this year we are especially excited about co-creating his first European Retreat, from May 19-26 in Salento, Italy, which he is co-teaching with Jelena Vesic.
Supersoul.Yoga: Describe your love story with Ashtanga Yoga?
David Robson: I first encountered Ashtanga in the late 90’s. I was in university studying Comparative Religion and already practicing different styles of yoga. I went to a drop-in Led classes for a while, and then found a mysore program and started regular practice. I remember that one year, choosing courses for the coming term of school, I started avoiding any classes that would conflict with my morning Mysore time. That’s when I knew I was in trouble ☺
SY: What does Ashtanga Yoga represent to you?
DR: Ashtanga represents a path to self-understanding. I see it as a meditation practice that over time develops one’s connection with intuition and true love.
SY: Tell us about your teacher?
DR: My teacher is Sharath Jois. I first met him in person in 2002 in Montreal, when he accompanied Guruji on one of the tours. Sharath’s eyes were incredibly deep and shiny-- I could see the energy of his sadhana. I knew right away I wanted to study with him.
SY: What does your personal yoga practice look like?
DR: Depending on the day I will practice Primary, Intermediate or Advanced A. From the outside it probably just looks like bad gymnastics ☺. Many 8-year olds can do better versions of the poses. But for me the time I spend on my mat each day helps me to stay centered and connected.
SY: What tips would you give to a new practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga?
DR: Commit to the process. Take it slow and focus on being steady. Practice as often as possible, ideally 6 days a week. Treat everything that comes up- enthusiasm, doubt, fear, pride, injury, everything! – as part of the journey. Practice paying attention to the sensations and thoughts that accompany your practice.
SY: Please share your favourites with us
DR: Sharath’s book, Astanga Yoga Anusthana, is the book that I work from and constantly refer to. I also really like Edwin F Bryant’s commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Swamiji’s website on the Sutras: http://swamij.com/index-yoga-meditation-yoga-sutras.htm
SY: Which cause(s) do you support?
DR: I’m a longtime vegan, and I’m always trying to encourage my students to go vegan. I see it as a logical extension of vegetarianism, as the meat and dairy industry are basically the same.