Spotlight on… Mark Cupit

1. Describe your yoga journey. Why; who; how?

Self exploration is what got me hooked on yoga, I love how it has transformed the way I live, think and behave. The beauty of yoga is that it enables the individual to become the best version of themselves. It has enabled me to start this journey, meet some great people and live in a way that I never thought possible. It is a pathway, not an object in itself, so think of it as the journey not the destination.

2. Which is your favourite class to teach?

I only teach Ashtanga, traditionally as it was taught to me by my teacher; the way his teacher taught him and his before him. It might sound a little Jedi, however it’s a kind of unspoken agreement between my teacher and I and, out of respect for him, that’s the way I teach. I hope this inspires others to do likewise.

3. What’s your favourite pose?

In the type of yoga I teach the asana is incidental to the practice and so I have no attachment to any pose – I neither like or dislike any of them. I just adore the feeling of my practice, which I carry around with me everywhere. I find myself using what I have learned and am learning all the time, wherever I am, whatever I am doing.

4. What do you bring to your class that makes it unique?

Me. We are all unique and whilst every ashtanga class is identical, each pose, each breath, each bind, every day is different. There is much to learn from this scientific examination of yourself, repeatedly deepening and growing in every movement. It’s the most sublime experience to have this practice and to share it with others. I guess that’s what I bring to class.

5. How often do you practice?

Every day and all the time, it’s ashtanga. Whilst my practice varies, my asana practice is 6 days a week, about 1.5 hours, always from 4am in the week, or about 6am at the weekend.

6. What makes you happy?

My favourite thing is hot buttered, crusty, home made toast with bitter marmalade on a cold winter’s morning accompanied by a mug of hot builders tea.

7. Top tip for a mindful practice?

Don’t try to be mindful, trying makes it unachievable, just practice and let the yoga do its magic. That is mindfulness.

8. What would your advice be to beginners?

Yoga is achieved through practice and dispassion, over a long time with constant effort and devotion. If it isn’t worth working at it has no value. Whilst it is an endless journey the rewards are phenomenal and endless.

9. How do your workshops/courses enhance students’ practice?

You would have to ask the students how they are enhanced by what I teach, the practice and study of yoga is a journey of self exploration. I share what I know because my teacher told me I could and because I love what I teach.

10. How do you relax at the end of the day?

My great loves in life came from my first teacher, my mother – opera, literature, particularly poetry. My father brought me to classic comedy like Laurel and Hardy, to exercise and a love of nature. On my own journey I fell in love with cinema and cannot consume enough film. Most of my loves are experiential and that’s how I relax at the end of the day – unravelling my head in one of my favourite pursuits. Nowadays the end of my day is around 7.30pm so I probably start my day unravelling at 3.15am when most people are silent, during ‘brahma muhrta’ the still point.

Mark teaches Open Ashtanga classes at RHY – find his schedule for this week here.  Join Mark this August to delve deeper into the Philosophy of Yoga – this accessible 1-hour workshop that will bring your physical practice into focus.  Find out more here.


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