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Robert Sidoti: Taking It All In

We talked to Robert about his yoga practice, what inspires his teaching, his suggested words to live by, and some great advice for new yogis.

Yoga Anytime: Why do you practice?

Robert Sidoti: I practice yoga because it compliments every aspect of my life.

What prevents you from practicing?

Nothing prevents me from practicing. It is a practice that is embedded in my life in all ways. The way in which I move and stretch my body, the relationship I have with my thoughts and my actions, how I treat others, what I choose to eat and fuel my body with, and how I continually am aware of my breath throughout my days. Yoga is a way of 'right living' through actions, thought, and speech. I do what I can to be aware of this and to live by the standards I have set for myself. With that said, I fall short and make mistakes constantly.

Tell us about a recent experience of Yoga.

I was leading a retreat teaching two classes per day in Mexico—it was great! I realized I was feeling fatigued and felt I needed rest, or even better, a relaxing yoga class. I asked my friend who was assisting me that week if he could step in and teach. It was exactly what I needed—the slow movement, stretching, and deep rest. This enabled me to continue teaching and leading the retreat with energy, focus, and a big smile on my face. Asking for help is huge. Getting rest when needed is important.

What's the most challenging part of teaching yoga/ what is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding part of teaching is by far the relationships I've developed and cultivated over the years. I've met such incredible people that I most likely would have never met or become friends with.

Honestly there isn't anything that comes to mind in regards to challenges in teaching. I feel so at ease and comfortable in the roll of 'teacher.' If you asked me several years ago what was most challenging, I may have said: feeling comfortable speaking in front of people. I used to struggle with that early on, but with years of teaching I have built the strength to be okay with it. Now I actually really enjoy it and feel I thrive in front of people.

Keep it simple. It's not about how flexible you are or how you look.

What is your personal mantra or words that you find yourself living by these days?

I remind myself constantly to take it all in, to look around in any given moment wherever I am and remind or encourage myself to take a full breath. I check my inward status and what surrounds me, and feel grateful for it all. Whether good or bad, happy or sad, my mantra and reminder is: "This too shall pass."

Is there a word or phrase that you are trying to eliminate from your vocabulary?

'Should' or 'you should' are the first to come to mind.

Who are some of your greatest sources of inspiration in the yoga world?

A huge impact and source of inspiration in the yoga world for me has come from the students who have attended my classes, workshops, and teacher trainings. Listening and watching them, asking them questions about how they feel or what their experience was like in a class or how the practice is effecting them off the mat and in life. These interactions have, and continue to fuel, inspire, and educate me on how to best serve the student showing up. Also the constant teachings life has to offer—interactions with strangers, listening, and paying attention to people. Traveling. Conversations with my son.

What advice would you give someone starting or restarting their yoga journey?

Keep it simple. It's not about how flexible you are or how you look. It's going to be difficult, it won't always be easy to make the time in your day. The postures will feel like really hard work and uncomfortable at times. This is normal for everyone! Do what you can to persist and move gracefully through these obstacles. Embrace the challenge and know you've chosen the right path.

Practice with Robert in his new course, Living the Yamas & Niyamas


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