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Who is Steve Ross?

by Taylor Hunter

There really is no one like yoga guru, Steve Ross. From his early days touring with rock bands like Fleetwood Mac and the Beach Boys, to his time living as a Vedic monk in India, it is safe to say Steve has lived nothing short of an extraordinary life.

Steve has been good friends with Yoga 213 since the beginning. When founder Sammy Veall met Steve for the first time, she instantly gave up her acting career, signed up for his teacher training and realised her path was yoga. Steve tends to have that effect on people. His happiness is truly infectious and he really does change the lives of those that are lucky enough to meet him.

And you can meet him next week! Steve will be touching down in Melbourne over the weekend and teaching three special classes at Yoga 213 (click here for more info). In Steve’s classes you can’t help but smile and laugh. His presence leaves you buzzing with energy and a total sense of internal bliss. It’s a feeling that has to be experienced to be understood.

But before he arrives, we want to share some interesting stories and tales from his ever-fascinating life. Read on to find why we love him!

Steve was among the first to start practicing yoga in the west

Growing up in LA in the 70’s Steve was first introduced to yoga at a young age by his dad, who showed him a few basic poses. But back then yoga was sparse and very different to the yoga we know now. “There was really only one or two places around and they taught a slower (i.e. boring) style mixed with chants and meditation.” At that time the yoga scene was small and made up of “mostly hippie types,” according to Steve.

He was a rock star in the 70’s and 80’s
Steve toured as a guitarist with rock bands like Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys and Men At Work. We know what you are thinking; yogi and rock star don’t really go hand in hand and Steve describes his experience mixing the two as: “not too bad at first, but as I sunk deeper into the holistic lifestyle of yoga, it became evident that the two styles were incongruent. At that point I was over that aspect of the rock n roll life. I still went out and had fun but without alcohol or other intoxicants.”

fleetwoodmac steve ross

Steve (in the shades) with Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood, Kenny Gradney and Billy Brunette

He lived as a Vedic monk in India
After years touring the world balancing both the yogi life and the rock star life Steve met a powerful Indian yoga guru (in Melbourne!) while travelling. Something inside him told him to stick with the guru and it was this decision that led him to India. It was then that Steve made the unusual transition from rock star to Vedic monk. “Going from a totally self indulgent rock n roll lifestyle directly into a fierce traditional monastic lifestyle of self negation took a bit of adjusting. But after the initial shock and resistance, I settled in nicely and it became very, very blissful.”

Steve is the author of best selling yoga book, Happy Yoga
Steve’s intuition about yoga and happiness arose early on, prior to his rock days, and it was through his experiences in India, learning from gurus and studying ancient yoga texts that his foretaste of happiness and freedom was validated. “During meditative experiences it became very obvious to me that happiness was our inherent reality.” To share his experiences and knowledge on both yoga and happiness Steve wrote his own book, Happy Yoga explaining why there really is nothing to worry about.

Steve created the union of yoga and music
After spending over four years in India Steve returned to LA to discover that yoga in the west had become very serious and rigid. Somewhere along the way the lighthearted, fun and happy nature of the practice that he had experienced in India had been lost.“It became quickly apparent that the teachers (and students) of yoga in the west knew almost nothing about the actual goal and possibilities of yoga… but they managed to transfer their over seriousness into their yoga practice (which although hysterical, was also sad) and missed the joy and celebration found in the true practice.”

Fusing his two passions, music and yoga, Steve opened his own studio Maha Yoga as a celebration of the practice. For the first time ever, yoga classes were practiced to loud music from a mix of genres like hip hop, rock, pop and soul. Steve’s intention was to make yoga fun again and that’s exactly what he did.

He fasted on watermelon juice for three months
A truly interesting being, Steve’s curiosity towards the practice has seen him experiment with different types of diets, mostly involving tropical fruit. “I fasted on watermelon juice for three months once, followed by 12 days of distilled water then a month of orange and grape juice. I got very thin, no surprise. But I felt amazingly high and happy. I also ate only fruit for a couple years while living in Hawaii. Fun if done correctly, especially in a tropical climate. I wouldn’t try it during wintertime in Melbourne though!”

He is good mates with enlightened being, Eckhart Tolle
These days in between teaching classes and leading retreats and trainings around the world Steve hangs out with other higher beings like his old friend Eckhart Tolle. “We go to dinner and talk about history or the arts… its very casual and usually very funny for both of us.”

Steve Ross and Eckhart Tolle

Take a class with Steve! Steve is teaching three classes at Yoga 213 next week:
Yin Yoga / Sunday 10th September / 5.30pm – 7.30pm / $45 / Book here!
Hip Hop Yoga / Monday 11th September / 6.30pm – 8pm /$40 / Book here!
Mass Meditation / Tuesday 12th September / 7.45pm – 9pm / $35 / Book here!