Ross Stambaugh ~ Yogis Helping Yogis

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.

You can listen to the full episode for free here.

Watch the podcast episode on YouTube Here.

Todd McLaughlin

Today I bring to you a special guest, Ross Stambaugh. His website is http://www.ashtangahub.com. You gotta go check him out on Instagram. He does a great job on his IG page. It’s at @Ashtanga.Yoga.Ross. I also want to give a shout out to Waleah Norton at Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma, check her out as well at http://www.redearthyogacenter.com. She introduced me to Ross and both of them 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! I had a really nice conversation with him. I hope that you enjoy this. 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?

Ross Stambaugh

Fantastic. Thanks for asking.

TM

I’m so happy that you’re here. I received rave reviews from our mutual friend Waleah who owns Red Earth Yoga Center in Oklahoma. She mentioned that you have visited her there. Is that true? You went and taught some yoga workshops there?

RS

Actually, I taught my first official Ashtanga Yoga workshop with there. I met her in Mysore, India. And it’s kind of a funny story. 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 answers, “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 on Facebook. She kind of looks out and 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 figured I would just come by and say hello. Yes. So but eventually, over the course of the next two months, we became fast friends. And she invited me to her studio and we we did a lot of yoga.

TM

That’s awesome. I know she’s a really great person. So I appreciate the introduction. Thank you Waleah. 

Ross, I noticed that your website is ashtangahub.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. Your handle is @Ashtanga.yoga.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 Saraswati Jois, is that correct?

RS

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 Saraswati Jois the daughter of Pattabhi Jois teachers out of her shala. I went there a couple of times 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.

TM

Righ! Mysore is an amazing city. What are some of the favorite things to do when there? Apart from the yoga?

RS

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 try to navigate your way around the cows and the people in the temples and just get immersed in a culture that’s so very different from our Western eyes and ears and senses and everything.

TM

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 rickshaw. And so that’s a bold move to get on a motorbike there. I applaud that courage.

RS

Oh, thanks. Yeah. 

TM

Have you ever had any close encounters there?

Waleah 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 I came like within a whisker of each other. Oh, yeah I did. My last trip. I was with my mom. And it was the last day and I was running her around Mysore. And I slipped on some gravel, 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 and I’m like, wow, I have a I have a flight to catch in like three hours. They won’t let me on the airplane. Because I needed to get some stitches. And so in my pocket, I had all my rupees left. So I had, I don’t know, maybe $20 and rupees. And I take it on my pocket. And I kind of wave it to the, to the nurse up there. And with that they they waved me in and I got the stitches. And I think I think it was maybe $40 or $60 US dollars in the end. Right and then out the door and I got on my flight.

TM

Yeah, amazing. That journey from Bangalore to Mysore is incredible. What city were you flying out of?

RS

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.

TM

That’s an amazing trip, isn’t it? I remember the first time my wife and I went to Mysore in 2004. And when we got to Bangalore and walked out the doors and there was it seemed like at least 100 people all wanting to help us out. And that was our first like overwhelming, like, oh my gosh, what are we doing unique experience. That is amazing.

RS

You’re right. That’s what makes it so fun to go there. 

TM

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 to go to India?  How did that happen?

RS

Well, I would spend time there. So like I said I was school teaching and I had a few months off. And my mom just recently retired. And she’s always been, you know, a very quiet mom. But she’s always had a little adventure 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. 

TM

That’s so cool. What a great opportunity. Yeah, that’s amazing. When was last time you were in India, have you been there since 2019 or 2020?

RS

No, my 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.

TM

Cool. Yeah. Nice. And I noticed that you said you’re a school teacher but you you teach art to the school kids.

RS

Yeah. I’m a middle school art teacher. I’ve been doing that for 22 years. Because this is 23rd.

TM

Wow, that’s really cool. 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?

RS

Yeah, it was sort of the only thing I could get out of school with, I would, you know, I would take all the classes and in Junior High and in high school, and of course, college, I was a fine arts major for two years. I focused on like, traditional painting. 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.

TM

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. 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?

RS

Ah, well, you have to be proactive, or else they’ll just eat you alive. They you know, 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 often times, there’s trial and error, and we certainly fall in to the error 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. To give to people that are not oftentimes willing to accept the struggle of learning. 

TM

Right? 

RS

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.

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