YOGA: Ashtanga with Kino

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Instagram has turned a handful of humble yoga instructors into worldwide superstars – arguably the most famous being Kino MacGregor, Queen of Ashtanga. When I first moved to Manchester three years ago I went to an Ashtanga class which I didn’t enjoy it at all. It was too structured, and I got pulled by the teacher into postures I felt I wasn’t ready for; following that I continued with my own practise which didn’t follow a school of yoga. When I heard about Kino’s weekend of workshops in Manchester, though, I felt it was time to give Ashtanga another try – I’m into higher intensity workouts now and I’m more able to rule my body with my mind than I was, so maybe it would be more my thing.

I learned a lot from Kino – from new postures and transitions, to finding out about my own mental strength. Kino said more than once that getting over an obstacle makes you stronger, and that when you find something difficult it means it’s important to do it. I believe in this, too, but it doesn’t make it any easier to practise – though Kino’s belief in her class gave me the strength to be able to do things I didn’t think I could do. She also gently pulled me into trikonasana properly, with hand flat on floor rather than my feeble attempt, saying “you can do it”. And you know what? I could do it.

I still don’t think I will turn into an Ashtanga devotee any time soon. Although I had a fantastic time this morning it was still too structured for me, and I don’t think I would get the benefit from my sporadic yoga practise. I’ll be taking away elements, though – maybe holding a posture a breath longer than I’d be used to, or giving something new and unusual a try every so often.

Taking photos in class still seems a little odd to me, hence the one rather poor photo, though I was struck by the spectacular scenes as I looked around the class – particularly when I came out of headstand early (I’m not quite at holding for five breaths yet!) and found a room full of patterned leggings and colourful leggings pointing towards the sky. I couldn’t resist a shot of the Hindu temple where the workshops were held, though – it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film, don’t you think?

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A further, non-yoga note: I was surprised at how utterly glamorous and drily humorous Kino was. I’m attempting to add a little glamour into my own scruffy look, so this is definitely a practise I’m going to take away with me!

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1 Comment

  1. Lavender
    October 24, 2014 / 11:37 pm

    First of all, props to Kino for sharing her passion and knowledge of ashtanga yoga. She deserves a lot of credit and respect for what she’s doing. I understand there are lots of people who object to her image, but I don’t have a problem with that at all. My issue is more of her hypocritical manner when talking about “ahimsa” or the principle of “not harming.” She talks about this at length in her book and in interviews. But check out this Youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F80lyRHxNDg) where she totally contradicts herself. HelloYoga in Japan did an interview with Kino on September 29, 2011. Around the video’s 13:00 to 14:00 minute mark, she says she doesn’t consume meat bc she loves animals and abides by ahimsa, therefore she’s vegetarian. Then around the 16:42 mark, she talks about how she loves shopping and how many beautiful shoes she’s bought on her trip to Japan. I guess she has no problem with how the leftover skin of animals killed for food is used to make beautiful shoes…as long as she doesn’t actually consume the meat herself. Rather hypocritical, if you ask me. Or maybe all those shoes she bought are made of pleather. Somehow I doubt it.

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