Getting To Know Bob De Robbio!
We are so thrilled that Bob has joined our permanent staff! Check out his class Tuesday nights at 6pm – Hatha Flow – Mixed Levels.
Below is just a little Q&A to get to know him better…
ROZANNE: Bob, you have the most interesting yoga background! We are so impressed at how you found yoga in ’69 and initially taught yourself through a few key books. Can you share more?
BOB: I first discovered Yoga while traveling across country, vagabond style, in the summer of 1969 via a paperback book, Introduction to Yoga by Richard Hittleman. I was immediately drawn to the concept of “A holistic approach to the well-being of the entire organism”. For a few weeks I practiced a daily routine consisting of a short sequence and pranayama breathing techniques. The seed was planted! The benefits of opening up and aligning bodily systems with breath and movement to allow natural energies to flow were obvious even with my simple basic practice.
Through the years my practice was sporadic, alone and without direction. I would abandon my practice for long periods and then come back to it for short runs. Fast forward through the roller coaster of life to the late 90’s. I discovered Bikram Yoga through a bootleg class at my wife’s ”Jazzercise” studio. I was hooked! I loved the structured, challenging routine. There were no studios around so I bought Bikram’s book and taught myself the sequence. I created a space at home and practiced fairly regularly about 2-3 days per week.
Through the next few years this practice at home helped me get through knee surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy. Later I finally found local studios where I could practice regularly under the direction of skilled teachers and have continued to practice to this day.
I decided to deepen my practice in the fall of 2012 by taking the 200 hr. teacher training course at Purple Yoga. The experience was so profound and moving that I decided to share it by teaching. I have been teaching for 2 years now and still find it so rewarding that I am in the process of retiring from my sign contracting business so that I can devote more time developing my skills as a teacher.
ROZANNE: We are so inspired by the way you have used yoga for its healing benefits in your own life. Can you share more about this?
BOB: In 2001 I went through 6 rounds of Chemotherapy to rid my body of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I practiced my home Bikram sequence regularly during this time. I specifically devoted my practices to the healing of my body and spirit. I credit Western medicine and my wonderful oncologist for ridding my body of this disease and I credit yoga for keeping my body and spirit strong during and after the process. Since then my yoga has kept me feeling strong, young and spiritually aware.
ROZANNE: As a business owner and yoga instructor, how have you balanced the two? I imagine that this gives you great perspective to the stresses, demands and pressures of many of your students.
BOB: Yea, the balance is difficult. The most challenging part for me is the constant change of focus from designing and building signs to learning and creating yoga sequences. It’s not an easy transition. So I found that it’s best when possible to devote specific days to yoga and other days to my sign work. I’m happy to say, as I mentioned above, that I ‘m going to retire from my sign business very soon.
Because I understand the challenge of our busy and sometimes chaotic lives, I always have a deep respect for those who make time for their yoga practice. Sometimes the hardest part of a regular practice is just getting there.
ROZANNE: I really love your teaching style! I love the way you connect with all the students and bring a spark of enthusiasm that encourages us all to work a little harder, while still giving permission to take any appropriate modifications. Can you speak to this style?
BOB: I like to encourage a room where there is a sense of camaraderie, and friendship where we enjoy each other’s company but also where there is a sense of individuality where each person can feel comfortable working to his or hers own ability without comparing themselves to others. I want students to know that when they are doing the best they can, according to their ability and intention, they are doing perfect yoga.
I believe we are all stronger than we think we are. I believe our strength comes from within. We find if we calm our mind we can almost always “hold for one more breath”. I emphasize alignment and technique and encourage the student to find their own depth in the posture according to their intent and ability.
ROZANNE: Anything else you want to share with students just getting to know you?
BOB: I truly love sharing the physical, mental and spiritual benefits that we get when we practice the art and science of yoga.
Our world is a better place because of yoga.