As a confused nineteen year old Kino MacGregor joined her first yoga class and tried unsuccessfully to stand in her head. Three years later, when she found herself in a period of depression and self-destruction, Kino joined a traditional Ashtanga Yoga class in search of a more peaceful life. Just eight months later she traveled to Mysore, India to practice with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath Jois on a journey that defined the course of her life.
Kino MacGregor has inspired countless people to start yoga. Her life mission is to take the spiritual message of yoga to the world. She was never a dancer or a gymnast or anything physical before yoga. The poses were often exceedingly difficult for her! She believes that yoga is for everyone and you can find her positive uplifting, inclusive message in her many books, numerous online videos or daily social media posts—Kino encourages everyone to practice yoga and change our world.
The single thread that ties everything I do together is shantih, which is the Sanskrit word for peace. I get most excited when I'm working on a project that I believe will make the world a more peaceful place. Whether it's writing a new book, building a yoga center, or working on my online channel, everything I do carries the seed of deep and lasting peace. It's a daily discipline to bring your dreams to fruition, so I am always working!
Ashtanga yoga traces its lineage to an ancient sage named Vamana Rishi and it is through a long line of students who became teachers themselves that we now have access to the heritage of yoga. Ashtanga literally means eight limbs and is defined by the sacred yogic text, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras as Yama (moral codes), Niyama (self-purification and study), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense control), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (total peace). Ideally teachers are well-versed in all eight limbs before they begin teaching so that they may truly guide the student through the entire journey of yoga.
Over the last twenty years I have made annual trips to Mysore, India to study Ashtanga Yoga with my teachers the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson R. Sharath Jois. My teaching is inspired by my Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’s unwavering diligence in maintaining the Ashtanga yoga method. I am a teacher today because he believed when I showed up in India as a young, lost 23 year old. Without his steady perseverance through more than half the Twentieth Century yoga as we know it today simply would not be.
All it takes to enter the sacred lineage of Ashtanga Yoga is for you to practice. While many schools offer teacher trainings,Ashtanga yoga teachers must be students for many years and then receive the blessing of their Indian master teachers when they are ready to teach. In some ways Ashtanga yoga demands that you delve deeply within yourself and experience firsthand the transformative power of yoga before you begin teaching. In this way every student who takes an Ashtanga yoga class enters the age old tradition in which yoga is steeped. Yet all this tradition remains grounded in the direct experience of each teacher and student. Guruji often said that yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory. The highest form of knowledge for the yoga practitioner is the knowledge which has been experienced directly and is therefore incontrovertible. The forum for this direct experience in Ashtanga yoga is first a physical practice of yoga postures that induce a powerful, cleansing cardiovascular sweat when done regularly. With the careful coordination of posture, breathe and concentration the internal fire of purification, or Agni in the traditional Sanskrit, ignites and the journey of transformation begins. If you try Ashtanga yoga you will quickly experience first hand the deluge of sweat and the heat of purification.
Ashtanga yoga asks tightness to bend and softness to be strong. It challenges the limits of the mind and the body beyond popular medical notions of safety, possibility and comfort. In doing so practitioners literally expand their consciousness. While containing six series of postures, most practitioners spend their entire lives working on the first or Primary Series of Ashtangayoga because its level of strength and flexibility is already quite challenging. Yet the Primary Series is a complete practice that burns through accumulated toxins within the body and heightens the level of health. Without regular cleansing the body collects toxins from the environment, food and even emotional states that if left unattended can sometimes lead to disease and discomfort later in life. The physical practice of yoga can be likened to brushing your teeth. Without a daily routine plaque and tartar accumulate and cause a pricey visit to the dentist. Yet with yoga youth, health and comfort can easily return to the body through proven methods of practice. It is no magic pill for it is through your own effort that you purify your body. Yoga is as strong as you make it and takes you as deep as you are willing to go.
At the end of the mountain of desire lies the real truth of existence. It is that secret knowingness that yogis have pursued with their passionate devotion to practice for centuries. It is the same secret that you too may move towards in your yoga practice. For it is not the lithe muscles, the thin waist nor the youthful countenance that is yoga’s real power. Instead the intoxicating nectar of yoga is your ability to use this ancient technique to connect to the deepest and most powerful part of yourself and find lasting peace.
OMstars—This is my dream of creating the world's first Yoga TV Network and it's come true! OMstars makes the tools of traditional yoga practice accessible to people all over the world and keeps you inspired to live the yogi life.
Miami Life Center—Founded by my husband, Tim Feldmann, and I in 2006, MLC is a home for the traditional Ashtanga Yoga practice on Miami Beach.
My Books—I love to write and I'm the author of four books (Sacred Fire, Power of Ashtanga I, Power of Ashtanga II, and Yogi Assignment). I'm currently working on my fifth book, which will be called Yoga Challenge and is about bringing to everyone.