The Kino Experience
Kino MacGregor (@kinoyoga on Instagram) has been an inspiration to me since I read her first book many years ago. I found her again on Instagram in 2014 with the #JustBePresent challenge which re-sparked my yoga journey. Over the next year of continuous IG yoga challenges with her and Kerri Verna (@beachyogagirl), I committed myself for the first time to a true daily practice. Since then my practice has been a constant fixture in my life, as have Kino’s books, Instagram presence and her primary series on CodyApp (which is what I use to practice at home when I’m doing ashtanga). I've kept my eye on her workshop schedule for the past couple years and was so happy I could finally sign up for her Boston classes this past weekend! I've had so many people asking me for a recap, so here is a bit of my experience:
Meeting Kino: I was completely star struck, as predicted. She is as beautiful in real life as she is on IG, but I had no idea she’s so petite! I’m pretty small (5’4”) and I felt like I was towering over her. Despite being physically tiny, she has a powerful presence and completely captivated the room of 50ish yogis for every single moment. My most embarrassing move was to burst into tears after seeing her in the hallway before the first workshop started—I was just so excited! I was able to keep it together (just barely) later on and got a picture with her and she signed my book. Another thing I didn’t realize before seeing her in person is how funny she is! She had lots of funny stories from her trips to India and teaching all over the world, and just generally had a great sense of humor. In the first of the workshops we focused a lot on mula bandha, and the importance of engaging the pelvic floor for a more powerful (and safe) practice. She was particularly adamant about engaging the anus, in the most hilarious way, and kept urging us to ask ourselves throughout our practice “where are you, my anus?” and "don't let your anus fall out!".
The Workshops: The workshops themselves were amazing! As expected, Kino was able to impart a lot wisdom and insight from her own years of practice and experience as to what it truly means to practice and "succeed" at yoga. There was, of course, lots of information/tips/techniques specific to the physical practice, and even though I had to sit out a few sections due to my injury I feel like I got so much out of the experience. One thing I found particularly notable was that Kino started and ended each workshop and practice with the ashtanga opening/closing mantras, which is something I skip at home. Even when I attended an ashtanga class semi-regularly last fall, we just did the “om” as a group and got right into the practice. But chanting the prayer with the entire room, in a call and response format led by Kino, felt deeply special. It really did set the practice up as a sacred space and set the tone for the work we did.
Here’s a quick synopsis of each workshop:
Ashtanga Magic—focusing on breath, mula bandha, anuses, and then primary series through the standing poses.
Be Strong—focusing on strength-building, plank drills, protraction/retraction exercises, and body mechanics for powerful poses like inversions and jump throughs/backs. Poses practiced include headstand, handstand/pincha, and jump through/back.
Led Full Primary Series—self explanatory, except extra amazing because it was led by Kino!
Fearless Backbends—focusing on front and back body engagement, flexibility and strengthening. Poses practiced included camel pose, “flying camel”, wheel/forearm wheel, and drop backs/stand ups.
A couple people have asked me, “Was the workshop everything you thought it would be?” “Was Kino everything you thought she would be?” and the answer is YES! I am leaving this experience completely inspired to get back to my daily practice and to continue on my yoga journey. I hope she'll come to Boston so I can practice with her again :)