Robert Weimer Presses the Reset Button With His Noon Practices

Good morning, please introduce yourself, who you are on and off the mat. I think we would all love to start there.
My name  is Robert Weimer, I work here in the CBD, I’ve been practicing yoga for about two and a half years. I started in more community based yoga, not really knowing what I was doing or what to expect, I was doing it and found I liked the idea of a complicated pose and breaking it down to its component parts and trying to figure out which component parts I could do and which I needed to work on. I am fortunate enough to work a couple of blocks away so I can come practice yoga five to six days a week, typically p to seven or eight times a week. I still do some community based yoga as well.

Awesome! What do you do when you are not on the mat?
Well, I work in a law office.

I imagine you find use for your practice off the mat pretty frequently in that environment.
Yeah, my noon practice that i try and go to week days is certainly a pause button from the … the hecticness of work I guess.

What brought you to yoga initially? What made you seek out that first community class, that said “ I guess I’ll try this”?
Well I was actually talked into by a friend, another competitor I believe it was Higher Power was doing a special…

We don’t see other studios as competitors, the more yoga the better!
{laughs} Sure, well they were having a special that was with MoPho that has specials on some beer and pho, so that was what got me to do it that first time.

I like it, I’m very incentivized by food and drink as well, always a great way to draw people in. Did you find that yoga spoke more to your physical body or mental/spiritual body in the beginning?
Obviously at first I didn’t know what I was doing, but I like being put into complicated situations and I like trying to figure them out. At first it was just blasting through a class, then it became understanding what the calls and descriptions of the poses where, and then, later, building on that was understanding the different queues the instructors here giving and what exactly they were trying to emphasize or de-emphasize, and then add more layers upon layers. Lately, more me, it has been all about the breathing, making sure I am keeping, well trying to keep. A three count breath, making sure they are even, trying to match my movements to the breath I find that when I do count the breath and get it synced properly, I have a higher sense of awareness a heightened sense of proprioception, where i am in space, what quest I can give myself, what I am forgetting about. Using the exhales to strengthen and lengthen out poses and remember little things I often forget such as the location of the hips, or pulling in the belly when you are breathing or things like that. So I think for me yoga is more of a layering process, which is what I like about it, there's no end game, always the ability to add another layer and another layer, eventually I think where I would like to be would be to not have to think so much about the breath and know where I am going to be moving at all times rather than guessing or looking around, not focusing on or seeing all the things I'm not doing.

Fair enough, where do you get your yoga inspiration?
Ah, well, that is a harder question, lets see, well I do love the sense of community people often talk about in a yoga class room, there are a core group of people here at Reyn that I find really do strive for bettering their yoga practice and I feed off their energy, as they do better, as they hold a handstand or arm balance you get more inspiration and more focus as to your own practice and its kind of one of those things where even though everybody, well even though there are no cheerleaders in yoga we all act as each other encouragement and applauses so to speak.

I feel ya, one of my favorite things about yoga is there no winning

I love that you can't really be “the best at yoga” but you can always refine and grow.
Yeah, another thing I really like, in this studio in particular is that each teacher provides a slightly different class and there is nothing better than a well received class, and I think it is so interesting when you start a class and you aren’t really sure which direction its going to go but then perhaps half way though, or a quarter of the way in, it really clicks with the majority of the people in the room and you can see that it is well received. That reception is good because, it can encourage the teacher to try more, to break the sort of monotony you can find in a pure vinyasa class where they just stick to Sun As and Sun Bs, but sometimes you need to change it up, even when you may not want to {laughs}.

Definitely, we need the salutations to warm us up, and to start burning out our blockages, but as someone who has taken the 108 Sun A classes where you feel the intensity and the meditation but know you could not sustain your daily practice if it did not incorporate more variety.

So, you are taking our upcoming teacher training…
Yes, I am, I am super excited about that, I think it is going to add some more layers to my practice and help me, understand more about the focus on the cues, like exactly what a teacher should be striving to bring to a class, what it is they are communicating that and try to understand the background, or back of the house of yoga rather than just being a passive participant on the mat.

Totally, I think passive is an unfair word to describe your practice but I do understand where you are coming from. When you started out deepening your practice did you ever think you would want to explore teacher training or did it unfold more gradually as you put the puzzle together?
I am not the type of person to do things in half measure, so if I am going to do something I am really going to do it typically, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it. I am not a leader by birth or personality at all but I find myself being...refining and becoming better at a certain thing to a point at which I can assist others to learn those things so naturally that puts you in a slight leadership position. A better way to answer the question is that, yes,  I had an idea once I realized that yoga was closer to chess than checkers that it was something that I would want to be interested in refining and getting better at.

I love that simply, between chess and checkers, it ture so much of yoga is a mind game. Having the type of disposition , where you do not like to do things in half measure, where you like to achieve and figure out the nuances, do you find that yoga can sometimes challenge that part of your personality, to the core, in that a millimeter of change in the body can change everything, rather than large obvious gains?
Yes, it is definitely stimulating, , and you know, I think more interesting answer to that question is when i get  a new cue from a new teacher that I hadn’t thought of before, or maybe even disagree with, and trying to figure out where they are coming from with that. For example, lately it has been all about hip rotation and I am having a hard time visualizing what the hip rotation is bringing to the table, I know it is important but I just have to wait for it to click so to speak.

Totally, as someone who is loves hip work in my practice, working with people who work in a more corporate space or at a desk job, that hip opening does not click, which usually means that what you need the most. I have had lawyers brag about how long they were sitting in one place working out the details of a case. I always find it amazing, but also worry about their blood flow, it essentially becomes non existent in the lower half of the body. A teacher once told me the poses you hate the most, the ones we do not understand or resonate with are the ones we should be doing everyday, which I feel you can really agree with.
For sure, for example this last pose of the month, uttita hasta padangustasana, hand to big toe pose, I found that at first I kind of hated it, but now, I can live with it, I guess I am getting better at even though I still do not care for it, but I understand it is part of the process.

What about that pose irks you?
So, okay, I find I do not have the strength in my, abductors, to pull and pivot, I can only go so far. One thing I have found really good is I am really starting to learn about the toe lock, how to lock it {demonstrates loss lock}

Yes, having the loose lock makes it more challenging to properly engage through the foot, which can straining the hands, wrists, ankles and foot.
Yeah it does, so learning the lock and also the cue I like is to draw the shoulder back, it really opens up a lot more space. I still don't particularly enjoy it but you gotta do it.

I spent almost a year trying to do a standing split everyday as it gave me a lot of discomfort and brought out a lot of resistance, now I almost like it, it at least feel familiar and connected, and that sense of integration is the theme in yoga we tend to connect to, its what keeps us coming back to the mat, so it is  great to see other yogies working it out and living it. What type of poses to you find yourself drawn to? Maybe some that feel more accessible or more fun?
Well, I really like a lot of the poses that people don’t seem to care for, like plank great, side plank is great, bow pose,  is nice, I also like transitions and find them very important, like a jump back, and jump through, which is something we do not get a chance to do everyday in our practice but is important, and I think they are one of those things that if you don’t start trying and fail miserably, you’ll never want to do it. Then of course there are inversions and arm balances, those are great, for different reasons, I find a lot of people jump to inversions simply for the instagram worthy nature of it, but I prefer it because I think of it it as its is, like a hand stand is an inverted, upside down tadasana, which means it is so important to get your body aligned, engage the core, point your feet, and to breath, that is something a lot of people forget, to breath once they get upside down, I like doing it at the end of class because it gets all the blood back to your head which a great. With the arm balances, those are fun, they provide more strength, arm strength and shoulder strength, I like that, and they are super challenging of course.

You make a really great point  in that our inversions are simply a flipped version of familiar poses like tadasana, which is so important to our practice then translating that to the inverted versions, taking the metaphysical properties as well, being vulnerable, showing up, drawing awareness to your breath, while insanely out of sync with what typically feels normal to us is such an incredible trait to cultivate within yourself and to enjoy doing.
Sure, of course.

it is very impressive, you should give yourself some credit for the work you’re doing.

Do you like to share your practice with anyone, or is it more of a personal journey?
{Laughs} I tend to set up in the back of class, simply because I find  that if I do take different variations or try new things I am not distracting others, I am trying to be as least distracting to others as I can. So to answer your question more directly, I encourage people to come and do yoga, a lot of my friends who tend to be looking for some sort of workout so to speak ask me about it and I encourage them to do that, however I also realize not everyone is going to be able to devote the amount of time  and interest that I do, so its difficult to work out with someone who won't take it beyond beginner levels, dabbling. I encourage them, I wish they would, but everyone has their own goals I guess.

Thats a really cool, authentic approach. Do you ever find in your day to day off the mat, say at work or some times when things feel hectic you wish everyone would just take a few deep breaths with you?
{laughs} You know everyone has their cross to bare so to speak, everyone has their own things going on, something work for someone somethings are just completely unpalatable to others I think yoga as a universal cure all is not going to work, but I think being aware and focused, choosing to devote your attention and passion to a thing, those are all things that yoga seems to emphasize, I think that is an important emphasis for anyone with or without yoga.

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Great insight. So which poses are you going to demonstrate for us to day and why did you choose those to highlight in your practice?
I figured one or two, maybe both. I was going to do a pincha, and an arm balance with eagle wrap legs, which is one I have just started to stick.

Awesome one where you feel strong and steady and one that shows growth!

Interview by Melanie Schatz