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Yoga Inspiration Podcast

Stay inspired to practice yoga!

Join Kino MacGregor, one of the world’s master yoga teachers, as she shares her yoga life hacks to translate the wisdom of yoga into a happier, more peaceful, more loving life. Listen to authentic, raw conversations and talks from Kino on her own and with real students about what yoga is really all about. Ignite or rekindle your inner spark to get on your mat and keep practicing.

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “I couldn’t escape from myself anymore, and I needed to do something to get my life back on track.” Kino 4:33
2 – “Changing the way I inhabited my body opened my mind up to new levels of being.” Kino 18:46

 

Yoga is a journey, and at the heart of this journey is the student. This brand new lifestyle podcast is for every yoga student, beginners and experts both, because we never really stop being students, do we?

Think now, back to your first yoga class…Do you remember it?

On this first-ever episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino McGregor, I’m dialing it all the way back to my very first class. I might be a yoga teacher now, but I will always be a student. I’m always looking for inspiration, and I hope that hearing how I started my yoga path will inspire you to get on the mat every day and keep changing your world.

To be a student of yoga means that your mind is open and you yourself are open to inspiration – inspiration to learn, inspiration to practice, inspiration to find narodha and inner peace. And this inspiration is never stronger than when you’re just beginning. A beginner’s inspiration is the perfect zen for your yoga practice, and this series will look closely at ways we can get back into our beginner’s mind.

I never had any intention of taking a yoga class. Not at first, anyway. When I was a teenager, I just happened to see a class of people at my gym standing on their heads. I thought to myself – how amazing! I want to do that! – and signed up for my first yoga class. This was no yoga for beginners. There was also no standing on my head, either. I signed up for a hatha yoga class without realizing what I was getting myself into.

Do you think that stopped me?

No! If anything, it inspired me to learn more. I found books, practiced at home, practiced in class, and learned so many new things about yoga and about myself that I never knew before. It changed the way I inhabited my own body, which opened up my mind to a new way of living.

Getting physically stronger through yoga also helped me to become emotionally stronger. I found the inner strength to do the introspective work I needed to do to love myself and heal. I share on this first episode what it meant to me to find yoga at a hard time in my life and what inspired me as a student to commit to my connection with yoga.

We are all students of yoga, and this podcast is meant to inspire all yoga students to seek every and all opportunities to learn. I want this podcast to become an inexhaustible source of inspiration and knowledge for my fellow yogis.

If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your beginner’s motivation with me! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino McGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Yoga is a fiber of our being.” Kelly 15:31
2 – “Every time you step on your mat, it’s a new practice.” Kelly 21:45

 

The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is all about talking with real yoga students about practicing yoga in the real world. It doesn’t matter if you’re a yoga beginner or if you’ve been practicing for decades, everyone’s yoga journey is an inspiration. And this episode is a very inspiring interview with one of my own yoga students, Kelly.

Kelly came to practice with me for a week after a very important moment in her own life. Just two months ago, Kelly had a hysterectomy. Her doctors told her not to practice yoga for four weeks.

Thirty days without yoga?

I can barely imagine what it would feel like to not practice for three days!

When you practice yoga, it becomes a part of you, and to sacrifice that part of yourself can be quite the challenge. But Kelly is not a yoga student who gives up easily. She may not have been able to practice yoga physically, but the self-study of the yoga journey became integral to her healing process.

Kelly’s santosha and inner acceptance of her position is an inspiration. So often students of yoga experience setbacks that cause them to lose faith in their journey. I hope that when you hear Kelly’s story you’ll be inspired to get back on the mat. Because there’s no reason to hold yourself to such high standards when you’re practicing yoga. Your experience on the mat should be enlightening, healing, and inspiring – not a competition.

Yoga can be intimidating. Any practice that forces you to peel layers away from yourself can be frightening, but Kelly teaches us today that yoga is really a part of your mindset. It doesn’t just stay on the mat. Yogis carry their yoga practice with them through their daily routines, and we learn more about ourselves as we continue on our yoga paths.

Your yoga journey can start from humble beginnings but then blossom into something powerful and inspiring, something Kelly never knew she was capable of until she got back on the mat and tried.

As you travel on your own yoga path, I hope that Kelly’s story acts as an inspiration for your practice. She truly inspires me to keep practicing, and you will hear this inspiration in action when she asks me a few questions of her own at the end of this podcast. Kelly understands what it means to practice yoga with integrity, and she inspires me and hopefully all you yoga students listening to practice in the same way. If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino McGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “If I’ve met my teachers and they’ve taught me, then I’m going to practice what I’ve been taught in my room and let that be enough.” 3:30

2 – “It is so overwhelming to stand on your yoga mat and ask yourself the question ‘what should I do today?’.” 21:32

 

No matter where you are in your yoga journey, you are or you will soon start to practice yoga at home – and you don’t need to be a self-taught yogi to practice home yoga! All you need is a routine and a commitment to your yoga practice to start posing at home. A sacred space can help, too. On this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast I’m unpacking the skills you’ll need to establish a home practice for yourself.

 

No, I’m not talking about yoga skills. Home yoga is for everyone, even yoga beginners who know only a handful of poses. It’s important not to try and teach yourself new poses at home, but practicing meditation and building on what you do know is key to home practice.

 

There are some things I absolutely love about home yoga. Hot showers right after practice are at the top of that list, but I really love just being able to pose in my own little yoga sanctuary. When you have a sacred space to practice yoga in your home, it makes it easier to get back to the mat every day. On the days when you’re feeling particularly uninspired, just stepping into your own space can bring that yoga inspiration right back. 

 

Setting up a sacred space is one way to establish a home yoga practice, but you won’t use that space if you don’t have a routine in place. I’m discussing some of my best tips that personally helped me create a yoga routine that works with my everyday routine. A yoga routine will make it easier for you to stay motivated and it will also minimize all those at-home distractions, like the laundry and dirty dishes.

 

What can you do today to create a routine around your yoga practice? 

 

The best place to start is with your commitment to your yoga journey. It can be hard to stick to a routine with everything going on at home, but setting small, attainable goals for yourself and your practice can help you stay committed. Achieving those goals turns your yoga mat into a happy space where you WANT to be, rather than a place you HAVE to be. 

 

Your yoga goals can be anything you want them to be, but they should align with your meditation and yoga practice. I’ve found that setting a realistic routine goal, such as 1 or 2 days a week of home yoga, will not only motivate you to practice, but you might find that you’re inspired to exceed that goal on a regular basis.

 

Whenever you start practicing home yoga, always remember to align yourself with a yoga teacher and check in with them regularly. Connecting with our sangha, our community of fellow yogis, is important to each and every one of our yoga journeys. 

 

Luckily, today we have the luxury of connecting online. Find out if there are any live yoga classes near you like this one or reach out to your favorite yoga studio once a week, once a month, once a year – whenever it is best for your routine. Checking in regularly with other yoga students and teachers will keep you motivated to keep getting on the mat. 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino McGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Let us pause and reflect upon the enormity of this situation and just give thanks for a moment.” 10:47 

2 – “Yoga practice is a place that is a break from anxiety.” 16:31

 

We are sitting with so much uncertainty these days. I know many of us have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, and it’s put many of us in a difficult space. Even the most dedicated yoga practitioners are having a hard time, myself included. I’m turning to my yoga community for guidance right now, and I’m sharing their responses with you on this episode.

 

Hearing real stories from fellow yogis can help us through this in-between stage of not-knowing. Uncertainty is a common trigger for many anxieties, and just being able to discuss these fears with others can be a huge relief. Especially when we can’t leave our homes to see friends or even get out to our favorite yoga studios. 

 

If yoga teaches us anything right now it is that it’s impossible to try and deny our depressive or anxious emotions. In order to become a whole person, we must embrace the darkness. Yoga is about embracing the darkest, most vulnerable sides of ourselves and recognizing that this, too, shall pass. Everything is of cycles, and we will not be in this uncertain state forever. 

 

Much of what I talk about in this episode is inspired by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche’s book In Love with the World. With it I discuss the Buddhist Bardo states, especially the Bardo of the unknown and the transient. It acts as my guidance on this inner journey of my mind as I process the uncertain situations happening around me. I hope to inspire my fellow yogis struggling with their own anxieties. 

 

You are a student of yoga, and you have the strength within you to bear the brunt of these uncertain times. Yoga practice is designed to help us get through challenges just like these. Meditation, breathing exercises, and centering yourself within yourself are all techniques made to ease the mind and soothe anxiety. 

 

The responses I share in this episode vary across the board. I work with many yoga students from across the globe, and we are all in varying degrees of social distancing and lockdown. But right now, it seems we are all sharing the same grateful attitude for having our yoga practice. 

 

The reality of yoga right now is that it’s available to us whenever we need it. Whether you’re using this time to develop a home yoga practice or taking an online yoga class, just make sure all of your thoughts and actions are aligned with supporting a balance within yourself. Know that these transient times are a necessary part of the cycle, and none of your anxious feelings are permanent.  

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “The reason we practice yoga is to tap into that heart of compassion.” 5:34

2 – “When you devalue your own life, there’s a devaluation in the life of others as well.” 19:33

This episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast is coming straight from my heart. I was inspired by my own yoga teacher this week when he reminded me how special and valuable life – all living things – truly is, including yourself.

 

Do you know how hard it is to love and accept yourself? Especially during the times we live in now. The world is so different, and things are changing so quickly for so many of us that any sense of normalcy or acceptance is flying right out the window. With this episode, I want every yoga student out there to continue practicing compassion and empathy.

 

The reason we practice yoga is to tap into our hearts, the heart of compassion, and find ways to turn our empathy into action. And the first place to start is with yourself – 

 

Do you ever think negative thoughts?

 

Do you ever think negative thoughts about yourself?

 

You aren’t alone. All of us face our own personal conflicts with self-loathing. Recognizing our own worthiness is not always an easy feat, but you must have faith that this negative cycle is not a permanent state of being. There is nothing natural about hating yourself. Self-hatred is a habit we have learned and conditioned ourselves into believing. 

 

Remember that your thoughts and emotions have the power to influence your life. What’s more, if you’re trapped in this cycle of negative thoughts towards yourself, it will be that much harder to open yourself up to a higher plane of being. Think about this – how are you supposed to learn acceptance on this spiritual journey if you don’t first accept yourself? 

 

It’s time to take a closer look at self-hatred and why so many of us mistake these negative feelings as facts about ourselves when the complete opposite is true. I share the psychological research behind this condition of self-loathing many modern adults are susceptible too, and I ask each of my listeners to take a closer look at the thoughts and feelings they experience towards themselves. 

 

Take note of how you think about yourself, as it will influence the way you move forward on your yoga journey. True spiritual liberation doesn’t happen overnight and learning how to recognize a pattern of self-loathing in yourself can be a powerful tool for overcoming self-doubt and low self-esteem. Great strength and love are there inside you, and I discuss ways you can tap into these powerful emotions and restructure the way you think about yourself.

 

The architecture of self-love is built on more than just hope and faith, but you must have both if you wish to be truly inspired by this episode. Compassion is the life force within every living being. Let it first flow through you so that you can experience the power of your own compassion before sharing it with others.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino McGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Let’s not put ourselves in the solitary confinement of seriousness, because that just creates more suffering. Instead we can ask – what’s funny about this?” JP 14:08

2 – “The evidence that they’ll benefit from yoga is found in their feeling of intimidation…The intimidation means there’s something there for you.” JP 33:35

 

I’m bringing a new kind of inspiration to this episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast! You may not realize it, but humor is so important to our spiritual journey – especially right now. We can walk the line between appropriate and inappropriate humor, or we can use humor to help us and our fellow yoga students to cope, understand, and bring some light to an otherwise dark and confusing time. My guest, conscious comedian JP Sears, is here to discuss how humor can be a yogis best motivator.

 

What I love most about humor is that it takes something that’s mysterious and makes it approachable. If you’ve ever been intimidated by a yoga studio, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Being able to laugh at your awkwardness or the silliness of the poses is a great way to relax and come into your own in a yoga class. For more practiced yoga students, humor is a great way to approach meditation and keep your ego in check. At least, that’s how JP does it.

 

JP’s motivation for comedy came from a personal need to get his own big head back to size. He was quickly becoming aware of his own egotistical nature – as he calls it – and he wanted to bring himself back to earth. 

 

As students of yoga, we aren’t immune to our own successes. Sometimes on our spiritual journey we can grow a little over-confident in our abilities and the role we play. That role puffs up an ego and influences the way we share our spirituality with others. Humor can be a way to tap into that side of our ego, to learn where it hides and how it feeds, and ultimately laugh at it (and ourselves). 

 

Just like yoga students, comedians have layers. When you start to peel away the layers of their jokes, you realize that they are making some serious points. We peel away some of JP’s jokes on this episode and really talk about what it means to be a comedian during the Coronavirus. Because there’s not too much humor in this situation. There’s a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, and JP points out ways we can still laugh in the face of trauma without disrespecting the severity of our situation.

 

With humor, timing is everything. Navigating when is the right time to make a joke is one big topic we discuss on this episode. Humor isn’t always going to be an appropriate response for everyone, but there are ways to use humor in a way that’s inspiring without being inappropriate. 

How can we inspire ourselves with humor?

 

JP says to look at our lives as a spiritual practice. Too often we compartmentalize our yoga journey and our spirituality. It becomes something we only do on the yoga mat or when we meditate, which is kind of silly when you think about it. JP looks at his experiences and his relationships all as spiritual practices. Every day there are opportunities to learn by fire and discover new layers of yourself, and you don’t have to be in a yoga studio to do it. 

 

I hope that taking this kind of approach to your spiritual journey – and being able to laugh along the way – will inspire you to continue your yoga practice throughout these sheltered times. Being able to laugh at ourselves can be immensely healing. I know that, personally, I would not have been able to work on my higher spiritual journey if I wasn’t able to laugh. When JP interviews me at the end of this episode, I explain how humor tackled my internal antagonistic paradigm of achievement, and I hope it helps you to see how humor and laughter can encourage your spiritual journey.

 

If you’re interested in hearing more of JP Sears’ conscious comedy, check him out every Friday night on his website – Awaken with JP.

 

If you’re interested in the resources I discussed today, you can find In Love with the World by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche here.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “It’s been a challenge but a new perspective on how my yoga practice is going to evolve.” Dianne 4:22

2 – “Yoga isn’t just that physical practice. It’s all about the way you want to show up in the world, and it’s all about the way you want to be physical in the world.” Dianne 30:03

 

This episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is especially inspiring for me because one of my very own mentors is here as my guest. Dianne Bondy is a disruptor in the yoga scene. She is a social justice activist who paved the way for more inclusive yoga studios and practices, and I sought out her mentorship when I wanted to make my classes more accessible to yoga students from all walks of life. 

 

Inclusive yoga is more important now than ever, even as we’re squinting through our computer screens on Zoom. Being a yoga teacher in the digital age of COVID-19 means we are seeing more and more new yoga students picking up the practice. That’s why I brought Dianne onto the podcast. 

 

Dianne is teaching more yoga now than ever before – go figure! Not only does she have more time to do yoga with friends, but she’s also helping new yoga students start this spiritual journey for themselves.

 

For her, without the spiritual journey of yoga, she would be “going off the handle,” as she calls it. With all the uncertainty in the world, a spiritual connection between mind, body, and soul can be very grounding. This is what makes the spiritual journey particularly important to new yogis.

 

How can a spiritual practice help you keep your sanity?

 

Just breathe. Dianne wants us all to learn to breathe again. Because yoga isn’t about mastering impossible poses. Yoga is about breathing, and if you’re brand-spanking-new to yoga, tuning in with your breath is the first thing you should be doing with your practice. 

 

Just. Breathe.

 

Breathing can ground you. Breathing helps you notice when you’re in your head and overlooking the bigger picture – the bigger energy – you are a part of in this big, crazy world. It can really soothe the jagged edges around your nerves and bring you a sense of calm.

 

Dianne shares her favorite breathing exercise for beginners, and we discuss how taking this time to breathe can bring a calming pause to your life – a pause that is not so unlike “The Great Pause” this pandemic has caused for all of us. 

 

The Great Pause. That is how Dianne refers to our global situation on this episode, and it’s inspired me to think a bit differently about how I look at and approach my own yoga practice. We’re all going to have to relearn how to live in this world again, but rather than focus on the anxious energy – take a breath, and take a pause. We’re all going to see each other on the other side of this.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

On the this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I’m sharing with you the powerful life lessons I learned about failure from the yoga mat. If you remember back to my first episode, you know that I didn’t come from an athletic or particularly physically fit background when I took my first yoga class. I didn’t even know what any of these poses were when I started! But just because you can’t balance a pose doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of practicing yoga. 

 

Yoga practice is anything but easy. You will most likely meet failure right there in your first yoga class. When I first started practicing yoga, I wasn’t good at the poses– these backbends don’t come naturally! In fact, it was the Pose Pincha Mayurasana that was absolutely impossible for me, and I failed more at this yoga pose than anything else. 

 

I wasn’t good at failing, either. Frustration and failure have a nasty habit of sneaking into your mindset, and they have the potential to really ruin your yoga practice if you let it. The reality of staying inspired to practice yoga when you keep failing is exceptionally difficult. You can’t force it. What you can do is change the way you think about failure.

 

Yoga practice is a space where failure is welcome. Failure is the only way you can learn from yoga because yoga isn’t about memorizing or perfecting the poses. Yoga is a personal and spiritual journey that strengthens your mental abilities just as much – if not more – than your physical form. 

 

Are you afraid of failure?

 

Fear of failure is a huge inhibition, both on the yoga mat and in your everyday life. This fear can stop you from achieving the things you want most in the world. When you let fear rule your actions, you trap yourself in an endless loop of fear and failure that can be difficult to break. 

 

In a success-oriented society like ours, failure can be seen as a threat to our livelihood. Each of us will experience this fear more times than we can count. Did you know that I was afraid to start this podcast because I thought I would fail? Even after 20 years of yoga practice, I still have my own doubts when it comes to my abilities as both a yoga student and a yoga teacher. The trick is to acknowledge these doubts and create a process-oriented way of thinking that will focus on the steps that will work through these doubts rather than just setting an impossible goal for yourself. 

 

Remember – perfection doesn’t exist and you will never achieve it. What you can achieve is self-acceptance and a higher sense of self that is able to accept failure and learn new things because of it.

 

This process of trying-failing-learning is the process-oriented thinking that is required to be successful at yoga. Process-oriented thinking in your yoga practice gives you the freedom to not care about whether you achieved the poses but to focus on your breathing and the internal journey you are taking with your practice.

 

My goal with this episode and this podcast is to change the whole paradigm of “success”. The next time you get on the yoga mat, I want you to challenge the way you look at failure. My stories as a yoga student will inspire you to see your failures in a new light and give you the guidance you need to keep moving forward with your practice. Success is what you get from yoga practice when you learn something about yourself, not necessarily when you do a headstand. 

 

Don’t be afraid to share your failures with you. If you’re a yoga student and you want to share your yoga journey with me, I would love to hear it! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “What are we doing on the spiritual path? We’re trying to break those chains of the ego.” 2:27:10

2 – “Your practice, in my opinion, is the strongest when it’s the worst.” 2:57:22

 

Yoga is hard. I’ve been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and I still think it’s challenging. But something worth doing is never easy, and I’m talking about one of the most difficult practices in yoga on this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast – the Tapas.

 

We all come to our first yoga practice for selfish reasons – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! Wanting to strengthen your body, open your mind, and improve your health are all great reasons to seek out a yoga studio. But yoga isn’t a fast and easy shortcut away from suffering. Yoga is a journey, and like all journeys, your yoga practice will come with its own and deeply personal trials and tribulations. 

 

How do you face these trials?

 

Patanjali’s Tapas are the way to make sense of them, but it’s more than just a few complicated poses and positions. Tapas is how you identify and burn away the chains of your ego so that you can continue your spiritual growth. 

 

Your ego is how you recognize yourself and your personality, so the Tapas will not be easy. Tapas are here to help you learn how to break the habits of being yourself. 

 

Sounds intense, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. As you meet this confrontation on your yoga mat, you will experience two levels of Tapas:

  • Level One is within the physical body. When you feel your muscles burning, imagine that it is the Tapas burning through your body.
  • Level Two is deeper. This is when you start burning through the old states of your personality. 

 

I discuss in more detail what these levels mean, because it is more than just your physical body that benefits from this kind of yoga practice. According to Patanjali – whom I also discuss more in this episode – the benefits of Tapas start first with the physical body, and then move through the energy and space around and within the body.

 

The Tapas will start in Kaia, your physical body. This also includes your subconscious, where your thoughts reign. You have to be able to bring your subconscious thoughts to the surface in order to benefit from the Tapas, and that means taking on your ego. 

 

Then the Tapas move to your physical senses, the Indria. Your senses are more than just a means to experience the external world – they are just as important to your internal world, too. In order to benefit from the Tapas, you will have to turn your senses back in toward yourself and your spiritual journey.

 

Finally, you can achieve Siddhi after putting in the work that the Tapas require of you. And you may not achieve it in this lifetime. The important part is that you put in the work and get on the mat every day to tackle your ego. Because it’s not easy, and I admire anyone that can power through and take on even the most impossible pose.

 

The Tapas will be strongest during your hardest practice, so never let the pain hold you back. Whether it’s physical or emotional, the pain is what leads to this purification and brings up the fire and heat within is. When you feel the burn, that means your Tapas is on fire – and my advice is to let it burn. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “I no longer feel like the purpose of teaching is to put every body in every pose, but instead to hold a space for people to do their practice.” 5:44

2 – “Create enough space, so that the mind itself becomes a clear mirror.” 20:31

 

As a yoga teacher, it’s been really wonderful to see students stay motivated and committed to their journey while practicing at home yoga. That’s why this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is a little bit different. Times like these require a different kind of inspiration. 

So I’m sharing one of my recent Zoom calls, including a brief meditation and a yoga Q&A session at the end of this episode. 

 

It’s so important right now to feel a sense of community within the yoga community itself. That feeling of shared space is necessary. We all need space right now to process what’s happening to us. And our teaching methods are evolving to create this feeling of community online.

 

A virtual community of yogis, if you will, where we’re teaching yoga classes on Zoom and Instagram. I’m bringing this kind of community experience to my podcast so every yoga student listening out there can access this space. Because teaching yoga is less about putting bodies in poses and more about making sure you have the space to do your practice.

 

And space can mean so many things. It can mean the physical space you needed to make in your house to practice yoga during quarantine. It means finding the supportive environment you need to stay motivated. For a yoga teacher, it also means making yoga class accessible in a socially distant world. 

 

Space can be particularly hard when practicing home yoga, for yoga teachers and students alike. We’re all easily distracted by the messes we make during the day or the emails we still need to answer. But if you can create the space to practice, then you can continue your yoga journey. 

 

Our current situation can cause difficult questions to bubble up during practice, making yoga not just physically demanding but also emotionally. It can sometimes be even harder now to create the silent and still space needed for that kind of work, and I share ways yoga students of all skill levels can stay on their mat despite the pressure. 

 

I’ll tell you this – it can be easier to find that space and stay on your mat when you realize that the purpose of it is to clear your mind. The stillness should turn your mind into a clear mirror, one that causes you to look in at yourself. You may not yet know yourself, that is why you’re on this journey. You seek to answer that question we all seek to answer – who am I? 

 

Who am I? 

 

That is the seeker’s question, and your yoga practice will take you on this seeker’s journey, bringing this question to the surface many, many times. It can be harder to face that question now as you practice home yoga. But remember, you are not alone. While we all practice safe social distancing, the yoga community is alive and thriving with yoga teachers working to make yoga more accessible to each of us, no matter where we are on our yoga journeys. 

 

Keep listening after the end of this episode for an amazing yoga Q&A with my students. We discuss ways you can adapt your practice for home yoga, how to advance to second series asanas, posing techniques, and more.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “It’s exactly at the moment that you want to give up…that you have the biggest potential to transform yourself.”

2 – “What is yoga practice if it’s not rooted in the physical body?”

 

Facing doubt is already hard, but imagine having to face it without your yoga practice. In this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I’m discussing how doubt sometimes kicks us off our mat, and the key ways we can all push through that doubt and stay dedicated to our yoga journey. 

 

What does doubt look like to you?

 

No one is immune to doubt, especially yogis. For us, yoga is not a clear or linear path. There is no steady upward progress like we see in traditional sports. Sure, it feels like an uphill battle, but we don’t have clear steps to measure to satisfy our egos and analytical minds. That’s why doubt so easily seeps into our mindset. 

 

When you make a mistake, your mind can be extra hard on you. When you just can’t get the asana in practice, your mind can be very hard on you. The ego can be relentless in these moments of frustration and discouragement. You beat yourself up for the lows and don’t give yourself enough credit during the highs because we are doubting ourselves and our practice. 

 

So what do you do when you face down an obstacle?

 

My very first lesson about facing doubt came to me on the yoga mat. I realized that in this exact moment of doubt and frustration, when I wanted to give up, this was the key moment where I had the power to transform myself. Because when we’re facing our doubts in yoga, that means the practice is working. 

 

Yoga breeds doubt because it forces us to take that inward look at ourselves, something that is very difficult – both physically and emotionally. So when you face this doubt head on – what do you do?

 

Today’s discussion is all about the ways we can face doubt head-on and stay the course of our yoga practice. I share my own experiences with doubts on my yoga mat before opening the floor for another inspiring Q&A session with some of my students. 

 

We all have our own doubts, and we face them in our way. There are ways you can meet your doubts head-on with yoga while still respecting your body and your agency. This is your practice, and finding your faith will be as unique to you as it was for me. So I challenge you this week – I challenge yoga students everywhere to figure out what yoga means to you so you can face your doubts head-on with strength and confidence. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “What we really need is to get into the other seven limbs of this. I really believe that yoga is the power to change the world.” 

2 – “When we start to change and shift the world of yoga, we have to make sure it’s not in a way that tokenizes. You have to be careful with that.”

 

Over the past twenty years, we have seen the yoga world morph and evolve. Yet we are still so far from where we need to be. It’s a shame that it’s taken us this long to recognize the need to support and uplift the black and brown voices in our yoga community.

 

I invited Shanna Small on this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast to give us actionable steps we can take to make yoga more accessible amidst the Black Lives Matter movement and the powerful cultural shifts we are seeing today. 

 

Shanna has been practicing ashtanga yoga for almost two decades. She started yoga because it seemed like a cute and interesting workout that just so happened to be sprinkled with spiritual teachings. It wasn’t until she heard the yoga sutras for the first time years later that she recognized the true spiritual power of the yoga journey. Today, Shanna teaches accessible ashtanga yoga.

 

This is something I am personally excited about. I believe in accessible yoga classes that welcome people of all creeds, colors, and walks of life to practice the asanas and explore their own yoga journeys. Yoga class is supposed to be a place where people can come to practice, relax, and enjoy themselves. For people of color, this is rarely the case. 

 

Think about it – when you do a Google Image Search for “yoga”, what do you see? Think about what kind of message this is sending to yoga students and how it is also affecting their and your own yoga journey. If you don’t see yourself in the yoga community, how will you ever truly feel a part of it? 

 

This is what Shanna calls on us to recognize in this episode. The role of yoga right now – and our role as yogis – is long overdue. Remember ahimsa means non-violence, but it’s not just attributed to one group of people. Ahimsa is the idea that, if harm is being done to any of our fellow human beings, then – as a yogi – it is our responsibility to be of service. 

 

Shanna writes in her blog that this concept of Yoga Justice is more than just love, light, hopes, and prayers. Your hopes need legs, and your prayers require action. Right now is not the time to be passive. That’s why we’re sharing actionable steps you can take now as yoga students to start inspiring change. And you don’t have to be confrontational. Be an ally by asking yoga studios – “Why are you so homogenous?” And inspire your friends to take classes with a yoga teacher you know is diverse and supports an accessible approach to yoga. 

 

Change will start with you. This episode is meant to inspire you and equip you with the knowledge you may need to move forward with these changes. We’re at a time now where we need to be spreading the true philosophy and spirituality of yoga – and we’re ready to take it on! 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Love is an action verb.”

2 – “There is no lasting change without behavioral change.”

This is a special episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. It’s shorter than you might expect, but I’m discussing the importance of ahimsa within our personal revolution. A cultural revolution is happening around us right now, and our yoga practice gives us the power to inspire change in not only ourselves, but in others. 

 

Yoga practice is designed to break the cycle of suffering. When you sit quietly on your yoga mat, you may feel anger, fear, or hatred towards others, maybe even towards yourself. But you practice yoga to find and uproot these seeds of suffering within yourself so that you can be a better person. 

 

Why not expand this healing cycle? When we take the principles we learn and practice every day on our yoga mats and bring them into our reality, we have the power to inspire that same change in others.

 

Right now, those privileged and in power are allowing themselves to be guided by fear and hatred. As long as these seeds of suffering are there, there will never be justice or peace. And as long as good people continue to turn away from the injustice we’re seeing today, then justice will never be our reality. 

 

But yoga justice is real. We have the power to inspire change in our community. We aren’t just sending light and love with each pose. Our love is an action verb, and there are actions we can take as yogis to make sure those seeds of suffering don’t blossom.

 

How are you using the values of ahimsa in your daily life? 

 

There is no lasting change without behavioral change. I’m speaking today from personal experience. I do not claim to be an expert on race relations or sociological theories, but I do have over twenty years of experience on this spiritual yoga journey. And as a yoga practitioner, you and I both have the power and the responsibility to inspire change in our community. 

 

What actions are you taking today?

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Conversations are important, but before those conversations can truly flourish there needs to be a sense of trust that the yoga studio has the ability to listen.”

2 – “Be open to change and be open to shifting your opinion with new information.”

Ashtanga yoga doesn’t have a reputation for being accessible, and I’ve spent my career trying to change this. Because if you don’t see yourself in this yoga space, how will you ever feel a part of our community? That’s why I invited yoga teacher Angelica Wilson onto the Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

 

Angelica’s spent 8 years using her background as a dance instructor to create a more accessible space in the yoga community. As a dancer, she learned to teach classes for all ages, body types, and skin colors. This experience is something many yoga teachers lack, and Angelica shares how these experiences are key in creating accessibility in yoga. 

 

Both dance and yoga give off the vibes of high ponytails, cinched waists, and light skin. This leaves very little room for diversity. We discuss ways the media perpetuates these images and how this deters many of us from ever stepping foot in a studio. Think about it – something as simple as a clothing brand can make you feel like you aren’t dressed appropriately for yoga class! 

 

All beings should be treated equally; this is one of our teachings and truths in the yoga practice. But as it turns out, this is not a truth in every yoga studio all of the time. Angelica shares her experiences practicing and teaching in different studios. In some instances she’s treated like a student, in others like the receptionist. Each story comes with an interesting reflection on the unconscious biases we all have and the ways in which we can start unpacking them. 

 

This reflection is important. Too often the instinct is to react defensively rather than to listen and reflect. Don’t cut off your ability to listen. If you can’t listen, then how can we trust you to reflect and make a positive change? 

 

We have reached a point as a society where passive conversations and empty promises are no longer acceptable. There are steps we can take as yoga teachers, studio owners, and as simple human beings to bring about positive change, and Angelica shares a few with us on this podcast. 

 

It’s time to unpack and challenge our unconscious biases. More than that, it’s time to hold those in positions of power accountable for perpetuating stereotypes and downright alienating people from practicing yoga. Change won’t happen overnight, but when you actually take time to enact change in your own way of thinking and living, you’ll quickly see how those positive changes influence the world around you. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Show notes

1 – “Yoga is built on the idea that a truly immersive experience will change your worldview.”

2 – “There is an essence within you that has a spark of divinity, a spark of perfection.”

Our relationship with ourselves greatly influences our yoga practice. And some of us might think of ourselves as our thoughts, or maybe we think of ourselves as our physical bodies. On this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I’m going to tell you that your sense of self is neither.

 

Your life is more than this material structure. It’s hard to detach our self-identity from our thoughts, but the goal of your yoga practice is to help you realize that you exist beyond your thoughts and physical form. 

 

We are not the body. We aren’t even really our minds. Those things represent our smaller selves, the one that exists to please our ego and cling to the material world. Those cycles of suffering I’ve discussed in previous podcasts come from this limited view we have of ourselves. 

 

When you think this way about yourself, you are glorifying the ego and moving further and further away from the teachings of yoga.

 

Are you ready to transcend your mind and meet your true self? 

 

Working towards our liberation is no easy feat, but the yoga sutras are designed to help you transcend. On this episode I discuss three specific sutras from Patanjali’s Three Ways of Knowledge:

  1. Anumana, or intellectual knowledge, which is what you can think about and reach a seemingly logical conclusion
  2. Agama, or devotional knowledge, which is the knowledge you don’t understand but you take it to be true because you trust the source
  3. Pramana, or experiential knowledge, is direct experience, and when we experience something we know it to be true even if we don’t understand it logically

 

Ideally, these types of knowledge all line up and we reach a transcendent sense of self-knowledge. But of course, this is not as easy as it looks. Too often we reach incorrect logical conclusions, or devote ourselves to the wrong sources of information. I discuss ways we do this in our daily lives without realizing it and how it all influences our misconception of ourselves. 

 

Can you remember a time when you came to an incorrect logical conclusion? Think about it. 

You can use logic and still reach a wrong conclusion that looks and feels correct. Maybe you even confirmed this logic with a source you found on Facebook or YouTube, thus devoting yourself to a negative agama.

 

This is not an easy thought process to shift. It’s harder than just turning around to get a new perspective. The challenge lies in breaking the habits of your mind to think beyond the physical and the mental. Shifting this thought process is a goal of the yoga practice, and we dive deeper into this concept as I answer questions at the end of the episode and discuss ways you can use these sutras in your daily yoga practice. 

 

If you’re interested in learning more about yoga sutras like these, stay tuned. There will be more opportunities and immersive experiences coming online as we continue to navigate the post-COVID world. Make sure you’re following my podcast so you can stay up to date with all of the amazing yoga opportunities coming your way.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Online Yoga Immersion with Kino MacGregor

 

Welcome to yoga class! As we navigate our new post-COVID world, I’m bringing you new opportunities to practice yoga online. This two hour class will give you the opportunity to meet me as a yoga teacher and follow me through one of my favorite ashtanga yoga flows.

 

Are you ready to transcend your mind and meet your true self? 

 

The goal of yoga practice is to help you realize that you exist beyond your thoughts and your physical form.

 

For this reason, your yoga journey is important now more than ever. To meet you on this journey, I’m making myself more available online for yoga students everywhere. Please immerse yourself in the experience of this episode and practice some of the yoga sutras with me, like the ones I discussed in Episode 1. 

 

There will be more opportunities like this and immersive experiences coming online as we move through our new normal way of life. Make sure you’re following my podcast so you can stay up to date with all of the amazing yoga opportunities coming your way.

Show Notes

Show notes

Quote 1 – “If you can’t acknowledge your whiteness, how can you acknowledge and accept my blackness?”

Quote 2 – “Kindness is awareness, consideration, and grace.”

 

This episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is important for every yoga student, teacher, and yoga studio owner to hear. I’m very excited about the energy Davina Davidson brings with her to the yoga mat, and the perspective she shares with us today is something the yoga community needs to hear. 

 

Davina is the founder of The Melanin Yoga Project in Houston, a project that focuses on creating a space where people of color can learn, ask questions about, and ultimately practice the benefits and teachings of yoga. 

 

The reality is that there is not one singular black experience in the yoga community. There are unconscious biases built into the business standards of the yoga world that, quite frankly, do not create a safe space for POC yogis to learn or even teach their practice. 

 

More than that, these biases greatly limit the opportunities yoga students and yoga teachers have to interact with diversity. 

 

From Davina’s point of view – as a successful black woman and as a yoga teacher – it is the responsibility of the yoga teachers and the yoga studio owners to start these inclusive conversations. As leaders, we need to be open to receiving feedback and constructive criticism. It’s time to ask – what is your experience coming into the yoga space? 

 

Davina and I discuss the different ways yoga teachers can engage with their POC yoga students and ask these kinds of questions. Not only to make sure that they and their yoga practice are doing well, but also to see where we, as teachers, can create more space and opportunities for them to get the most from our yoga community. 

 

Doing this sometimes means having those difficult conversations. It’s not easy to look inward at yourself and start unpacking unconscious prejudice you didn’t realize you had. But if you can acknowledge the privileges you’ve been afforded, then you can recognize the areas where you can make a positive change. 

 

We want to make a positive change on a bigger level. Davina says it’s time to move past our individual experiences and realize we, as a community, have a systemic issue with race and blackness in the yoga world. We can still embrace ahimsa while taking actions that benefit the POC yoga community, and Davina shares with us further steps we can take to acknowledge race and turn them into teachable moments, not only for ourselves but for our yoga students. 

 

Check out some of the resources Davina recommends for self-study:

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, I want to hear your story. Please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? I would love to have you as my guest on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “The real tools of the spiritual path are meant to give you the confidence to go into the immense, amazing ecstasies of the highs with the understanding that it isn’t permanent.” 14:04

2 – “Yoga is physical practice with a spiritual intent.” 18:11

 

Welcome to a new paradigm of thinking! This episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is all about Spiritual Bypassing – an important term I want every yoga student to get familiar with. Understanding this concept is integral to your yoga journey as it can be what’s possibly holding you back from your spiritual growth through yoga. 

 

Spiritual Bypassing was originally introduced by John Welwood in the 1980s to describe the process when certain concepts of the yogi’s spiritual path are co-opted and used for avoidance, repression, and other negative mechanisms. All of the concepts that we learn about in yoga – the patience, the acceptance, the enlightenment – can be bypassed by our behavioral routines without us even realizing it.

 

Do you ever find yourself thinking negative thoughts? 

 

We all do. Yoga teaches us that we can’t have the light without the dark, but you should never feel guilty or be embarrassed by your negative thoughts. If you do feel guilty, then you are experiencing a Spiritual Bypass.

 

That’s because it’s hard to accept your shadow shelf, especially if you’re stuck in a cycle of negativity. In the moments when you feel insecure, frustrated, even jealous, it can be hard to accept some of the metaphysical and spiritual concepts of yoga. These ideas that “everything is fine, just breathe” can feel ingenuine, even flippant. We can’t pretend that problems don’t exist, but we can take control of the way we feel.

 

The spiritual tools of yoga are meant to give you the confidence to go into the deepest darkness of our shadow selves with the understanding that nothing is permanent. I share the ways these tools work for me and how you can implement them into your own yoga routine. This way, when a Spiritual Bypass tries to tell you that nothing matters, you can practice finding that balance between the bypass and your spiritual path. 

 

The middle ground between the Spiritual Bypass and the Path to Enlightenment is my main focus on this episode. Because finding that middle ground is not easy. There are still days when I get on my yoga mat feeling angry and insecure about my poses or my body. The trick is to recognize when you are bypassing your emotions and learning how to sit with them instead. I share these 3 tricks on this episode – 

  1. Tune into your breathing.
  2. Listen to your body.
  3. Practice non-reactivity.

 

I dive deeper into these 3 steps and ways I make them work for me and my yoga practice in hopes that I can inspire you to find a happy medium between your lightest and darkest self. You have to have faith in yourself and put in the work to build that strong foundation for yourself, otherwise your yoga journey will be anything but easy. It’s time to take the concepts of open consciousness and apply them to the nitty-gritty of your real world. Are you ready?

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “If we feel uncomfortable in our skin, there is no escape from that. There will be no peace anywhere we go.” 2:20:18

 2 – “The body has a language, and that language is nothing like the language of the mind.” 2:39:30

 

We all come to the yoga mat for so many different reasons. We may crave a healthier lifestyle, or we believe we’re ready to take on the spiritual journey of yoga practice. But this yoga journey takes us through more than meditation and asanas. And one of the greatest gifts of this journey is truly meeting our bodies for the first time. 

 

Meeting your body – more importantly, loving your body and being comfortable in your own skin – is the biggest blessing that comes from yoga practice. We spend so much time in our minds and outside of our bodies that we’ve forgotten how to actually be inside the body. 

 

I want to share with you now that yoga is a tool that can reacquaint you with yourself and teach you how to be comfortable in your body. 

 

What you’re looking for is the sense of ease that comes from being at home in your own skin. You can’t run and hide from yourself, even though we all may have tried at some point. But to find peace, you have to know peace within yourself first. I know this from personal experience.

 

I’ve been at war with myself before, and being at war is not where I want to be, or where I want you to be either. I want everyone to come into the yoga practice and become at peace with themselves. The more we’re at peace with ourselves, the more we’ll be at peace with one another.

 

What does it mean to you to be at home in your own skin? 

 

You don’t have to answer that question right now. Sit and listen to this podcast. Ask yourself – are you listening to your body? 

 

The body doesn’t speak with grammar or logic. Your body will speak to you through sensation and feeling. It’s been speaking to you since you were born, but we’ve forgotten this ancient language. Coming to the yoga mat can help you remember. 

 

The biggest mistake that so many yoga students make is failing to realize that they have the potential within themselves to love themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. It isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. You have to learn to listen to your body and understand the language your body uses to communicate.

Yoga will take you on a journey to become best friends with your body. Are you ready? 

 

Please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “You need to be aware, and understand, and accept what happened.” Cynthia 13:35

2 – “If you step aside from the everyday craziness, you find new things.” Cynthia 16:39

3 – “When you step onto your mat, you just have to accept you the way you are.” Cynthia 22:49

 

Grief is such a profound subject that impacts so many of us. Yet it is still one of the hardest emotions to talk about, even with our closest friends. This episode of The Yoga Inspiration is very important because Cynthia, a new yoga student, is opening up to me about her own journey through grief, pain, and healing by practicing yoga. 

 

Who do you turn to when you’re grieving?

 

Being vulnerable and opening up to someone is one of the only ways to truly allow yourself to heal. Vulnerability breeds generosity, love, and acceptance, and yoga allows you to open yourself up to these emotions without fear. Part of what yoga teaches us is that, through our pain and vulnerability, we are able to find that human connection.

 

When Cynthia’s father was diagnosed with cancer, she looked for an opportunity to get healthier herself. She didn’t want her daughter to go through what she went through, and she decided that yoga class was a great way to get fit and strengthen her immune system. But what Cynthia wasn’t expecting was how yoga would strengthen her soul. 

 

The story Cynthia shares on this podcast is one she hasn’t really told anyone else yet. It takes a long time to process grief and finding the words to talk about these emotions doesn’t come easily. Yoga gives Cynthia a different way to heal. Yoga practice is less of a physical practice for her and more an exercise of her soul and of her mind. 

 

Your own yoga journey might inspire some emotions you aren’t expecting. For Cynthia, her journey helped her find peace. Everyone manages their grief differently, and finding peace with it is a long and hard process for many of us. People say grieving gets better with time, but you’ll hear on this episode that we don’t necessarily believe that. We may get stronger, and we get better at withstanding the waves of grief, but it never really leaves us. 

 

In order to process her grief, Cynthia learned not to judge herself for the sometimes ugly emotions she would feel. Once upon a time, a yoga teacher told Cynthia, “Don’t judge the pose.” In that same vein, Cynthia knows that she can’t judge her own grief. Yoga teaches us that we must accept it and be at peace with it. 

 

There is a kindness and a softness that comes through when you practice yoga. When you step on your yoga mat today, remind yourself that life is precious. It’s sweet, and it’s beautiful, but it is temporary. These moments we have are valuable, and they too shall pass. Cynthia’s vulnerability on this episode is proof of that, and I hope that it inspires you to see the beauty in your life’s tiniest moments. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

Quote 1 – “All of our addictive tendencies to seek fast shortcuts, away from our suffering, creates a web in our mind that unfortunately leads us to more and more suffering.”

 

Quote 2 – “In order to remove the tendencies to focus the mind outward, we have to implant new tendencies to focus the mind inward.”

We all start yoga practice for selfish reasons. Our minds are in pain, our bodies are in pain, and we are looking for something to escape our suffering. Conventional happiness doesn’t always cut it. We want a way to truly heal ourselves that isn’t through prescription drugs or any of our other vices.

 

I’m here to tell you today that there is no conventional path to happiness. In fact, there is no “right” way to happiness either, and practicing yoga can break this cycle you’re in of finding – and losing – that sense of happiness and fulfillment. 

 

Your yoga practice presents a different path for you, a spiritual path. The spiritual path of yoga leads us into becoming someone and something other than what we have assumed we are for our whole lives. 

 

Wait – becoming someone other than you thought you were? Isn’t that a heavy thought?

 

This concept can be very hard to process, but yoga gives you the tools you need to take on this spiritual concept and gives you the strength you need to confront yourself.

 

Patanjali called these tools tapas. Tapas is what you feel when your back muscles burn as you try to pull yourself up from the downward dog. Tapas is what you feel when your thighs and calves are burning for days after your practice. And if you can think of this burning as a purification, then you’re one step closer to understanding this spiritual path you’re currently on. 

 

You will come across tapas numerous times during your yoga practice. I’m covering Patanjali’s tapas in this episode because they are key to finding true peace and happiness.

 

How? 

 

Tapas will help you break the shackles of your ego, which makes it possible to confront yourself on the yoga mat. Tapas give you the ability to turn your senses inward in order to give you that liberation that only happens when you break down everything you know about yourself.

 

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? If only it were as easy! Unfortunately, nothing about our yoga practice is easy. I’ve been practicing yoga for nearly two decades, and I can tell you honestly that it doesn’t get easier. But anything worth doing is never easy. 

 

To make it easier for you, I’m sharing an in-depth discussion of the different tapas and how they manifest in our bodies, in our senses, and in our souls. You will learn new ways to enlighten your senses and redirect that power to the inner world, the one that’s inside of you and so very, very important to your spiritual journey through the practice of yoga.

 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on your spiritual path? Please share some of what you’ve learned with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

1 – “The practice spoke to me quite profoundly…It was like powerful medicine from the very beginning, and it lodged itself into my cells and my bones and I could feel a sense of being whole and being well.” 28:20

2 – “If I keep performing within white, Finnish norms, I can’t bring all of who I am, and it started to feel like I was at a never-ending cocktail party.” 20:54

We practice yoga to heal. We practice yoga to make ourselves stronger – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know that I first came to the yoga mat in search of something that would make me a better person. So it can be very hard for a yoga student to process the all-too-true reality that yoga is not the perfect path we intend it to be.

 

We practice yoga to be resilient, to be enlightened, and to be kinder to ourselves and to others – yet we don’t always see those same practices in the larger yoga community.

 

The lack of diversity that I am seeing in the Ashtanga yoga community is a blatant example of the cognitive dissonance each yoga student experiences between their practice and the world we live in off of the mat. Yoga guru Wambui Njuguna-Räisänenin joins me on this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast to explain more of what this cognitive dissonance looks and feels like.

 

Wambui found Ashtanga yoga at a low point in her life, and the practice turned out to be exactly what she needed to heal herself and her past. But there are still parts of her that she had to keep hidden. Key experiences that are unique to black women and other POC yoga students that they cannot share with the yoga community as a whole. 

 

We discuss the issues of abuse and discrimination we are seeing in the Ashtanga community and why it’s causing many yoga students to question the yoga practice. Unfortunately, when you don’t see people that look like you in your yoga classes, it’s hard to find the kind of support you need. It can be even harder to approach a yoga teacher or come back to a second class when you don’t see yourself in the community. 

 

When did Ashtanga yoga, a practice that is so beneficial, become so oppressive in the same breath? 

 

These are the types of questions we need to be asking ourselves and one another. Wambui is fearless in the way she speaks and the questions she asks, and I’m excited to bring that energy to my podcast. 

 

Wambui wants each yoga student to ask themselves – who am I learning from? What is the social location of this person? What is the socio-cultural location of the community that these people belong to? Simply being aware of your space in the yoga community can help you start the conversation and keep the conversation going for as long as we need to make a significant change. Right now, there is no space for POC in the yoga community, and it’s our job as yoga students and yoga teachers to engage with this fact and be critical about it. 

 

“If we talked about it enough, it wouldn’t keep coming up,” Wambui says, so start talking about it. Pay attention and take what you learn on your yoga mat into the real world. Because it’s time to start fixing the structural level of this system that allows the yoga community to exist within this cognitive dissonance. 

 

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned on your spiritual path? Please share some of what you’ve learned with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

Find a comfortable spot and grab a comfy blanket if you need, because this episode of Yoga Inspiration is a metta meditation practice designed to help you cultivate love, peace, and kindness, both within yourself and in the energy around you.

I hear too often from my yoga students and other yogis out in the world that they are intimidated by metta practice. How can we be intimidated by this loving, warm, and kind energy? Because life is hard, and living as a human being is very overwhelming. We can end up feeling caught up in the negativity and just stuck in it.

How can we be worthy of cultivating metta with all this anger and ugly feelings?

You ARE worthy. Love cannot exist without the balance of its opposite, more angry energy. Your shadow side makes you whole, and embracing your shadow self is a major part of this metta practice.

For me, I woke up in a yucky mood after not getting a good night’s sleep. I’m starting today’s meditation with very negative emotions from the tiredness and frustration of fitful sleep. That doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of the loving energy I’m about to share with you.

You aren’t being fair to yourself if you’re denying yourself this practice simply because you feel mad, hurt, or anxious. If you feel that way, it’s even more reason to sit here with me today and join this metta meditation.

Every being sitting here will be a part of this vibration in our hearts. You will feel a palpable increase of energy as all of us connect, and listen, and meditate on our metta practice. Whatever you’re feeling today, I want you to sit with it and take these few minutes to redirect your attention inward and into your heart space.

In our metta meditation, we will be focusing on the three points of mindfulness so that you may anchor an awareness of yourself. It will help to relieve some of these negative emotions we’re carrying with us.
These three points of mindfulness cultivate a seat of equanimity with us that stops us from passing judgment on ourselves or our thoughts. Take a moment to read over these before you start this meditation so that you can prepare yourself to let go of the ego and truly embrace the path of metta:
First, become aware of your breath.
Second, become aware of your body.
Third, notice the quality of your thoughts and your emotions.

I will be going more in-depth with our mindfulness as we meditate, but this is just the beginning of what is a lifelong practice designed to train the mind to operate beyond the ego and beyond the material. No matter how you’re feeling today, this metta meditation practice will help you embrace and overcome the ego and its negative emotions.

Please share some of the lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

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Show Notes

1 – “Identify body as body, mind as mind, breath as breath, and you begin to see the truth – the truth of your experience, and the truth underneath your thoughts.” 8:20

2 – “Metta practice is the active re-training of the habit pattern of the mind so that you can actually begin to reprogram your mind.” 35:20

 

It only takes a few moments to break out of this pattern of craving and clinging we find ourselves trapped in. This metta meditation will bring you a few moments of mindfulness to achieve this.

 

Sit with me now in a comfortable position or lay down, but don’t get so comfortable you fall asleep!

 

Because this metta practice is important. We’re going to tap into the three points of mindfulness I discussed in my earlier podcast, but I’m also discussing the two levels of your mind that make practicing metta possible. 

 

The two levels of your mind are the conscious mind, where we are aware of our thoughts and our feelings, and the subconscious mind, where our habits and the patterns of our thoughts are manifested.

 

During this meditation I will ask you to bring your consciousness within yourself so that you may tap into this subconscious part of your mind and consider the habits that are forming there. 

 

Your subconscious mind has this sticky habit of ruminating on the same thoughts over and over again. More often than not, these thoughts are negative and worrisome. This energy carries into your conscious mind and into your daily actions. The practice of metta is an active re-training of your mind’s pattern so that you can overcome these negative samskaras and learn to focus on forgiveness, peace, and happiness. 

 

Metta is a vibration of compassion. Yes, it’s hard to truly love ourselves, but the foundation of all love starts with self-love. Loving yourself makes it possible to reciprocate and share this love with others and the world around you.

 

As you listen and share your practice with me, I will ask you to bring your attention to your heart. You may feel your heartbeat inside of you, but it’s more than just this internal feeling. I want you to feel that energy both within yourself and the vibration of it outside of your body at the level of your heart. 

 

Can you feel the love?

There is goodness within you, and I encourage you to take this time now to be grateful for it and celebrate it. Forgive yourself of any shortcomings and accept yourself for who you are, even with all the mistakes you may have made today.

 

Tapping into this level of self-love takes you deeper within yourself and even closer to your true self, the self that is free from the judgmental eye of the ego. Moving towards a complete acceptance of yourself will elevate your consciousness, which makes the practice of metta possible. 

 

When you’re ready to anchor your awareness in your heart’s center, please tune in and start your metta practice with me. 

 

If you would like to share what you’ve learned from the metta practice, or any other lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners, send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

 

Show Notes

1 – “I was looking for an outlet to just let go of the negative things.” Tracy 6:00

2 – “I’m learning more about myself every single day.” Tracy 20:23

 

So many yoga students I talk to start their yoga practice because of a romantic interest. And it’s one of the best ways to share yoga, to be honest. To be inspired by friends and loved ones is the best fuel for the fire. 

 

A passionate inspiration like that keeps you on the mat — it might even inspire you to tell others about yoga! That’s how it happened for my guest Tracy, and he’s sharing what inspires him to come back to the yoga mat even as relationships evolve and fade. 

 

Tracy, like so many yoga beginners, thought that yoga “just wasn’t for him”. This isn’t a negative thought, but it does exclude you from a holistic practice that is meant for anyone and everyone. But Tracy just didn’t get it at first. He wanted a space where he could let go of all the negative things, but he mistakenly went looking for it in the intensity of sports and cardio workouts. 

 

Does this sound similar to your first yoga experience?

 

Many new yoga students can have trouble connecting with the practice at first. We’re inside of our heads too much and it’s very hard to get back into our bodies and reset our minds.

 

Making this mind-body-breathing connection is key to yoga practice but not exactly easy to do. Each student of yoga will make this connection in their own way on their yoga journey, and Tracy shares advice for yoga beginners struggling like he was. 

 

Inspiration can strike in the strangest of places. Tracy walked into his first yoga class because he was inspired by a girlfriend, but he found ashtanga yoga – his true yoga journey – when he found the infamous Six Americans Video [link?] online. Once the seed of yoga is planted, it can start to bloom slowly, waiting on the right moment of inspiration to strike and lead you back to the yoga mat. 

 

Whatever inspires you to get on your mat, I hope you carry it with you through your everyday life. Tracy discusses what he learns about himself every day on the mat and why it’s so important to carry these lessons with us. 

 

My favorite lesson Tracy talks about is active listening. Hearing the poses from your yoga teacher is one thing, but actively listening to your friends and loved ones out in the real world is one great takeaway yoga practice can give you. I know it’s helped me so much when it comes to being a yoga teacher.

I might teach yoga students, but I’m also listening to students of yoga. I’m blessed to be able to teach yoga students across the globe with my podcast and videos, and I want you to know that I hear you and I’m listening to your inspiring stories, questions, and lessons about your own yoga journeys. Your inspiration and Tracy’s inspiration is what keeps me inspired and reminds me that we’re all on this amazing journey together. 

 

If you want to share your yoga journey with me, I would love to hear it! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “I learned a very valuable lesson that led me to yoga.” Smadar 9:16

2 – “Are you on the mat? You’re practicing and that’s enough.” 

 

“There are some things that can’t be rushed.” 

 

I’m sure you’ve heard your yoga teacher say that more than once, but it’s true.

 

If yoga teaches us anything, it is that most things in life – the best things – take time. The accumulation of wisdom is one of those things. No matter your age, you bring your experience to your yoga mat with every practice. My guest today on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast is of this wiser generation whose inspiring life experiences are leading her on her own unique yoga journey.

 

“Where have you been all my life?” is what Smadar asked after her first yoga class. At 56 years old, she admits to being a little more than frightened of her first yoga practice. 

 

Coming from a non-yoga world, Smadar is an accomplished pastry chef who owned and ran her own business for nearly a decade. She experienced a very tumultuous financial journey that ultimately led her to practice yoga, something she never considered before. 

 

Smadar shares on this episode what it feels like to give up on one dream only to find another. Owning her own business was a dream she lived to fulfill and even managed to maintain amid the 2008 financial crisis. Maintaining her dream challenged her in ways she never imagined, but these experiences inspired her to realign her values. 

 

When you almost lose everything, you’re able to gain new insight into what truly matters to you and your happiness. It’s a very interesting place to be. 

 

Smadar discusses what it feels like to be in that space between loss and forgiveness. Giving up on a dream is not a sign of failure. In fact, “giving up” is the wrong way to describe it. Rather, one door closes so that Smadar could open another that leads to a new way of living, a new way of thinking, and a brand new way of being. 

 

Smadar learned a valuable lesson at that first yoga class. She shares that lesson with us, and I hope it inspires you to get on your yoga mat today. I value wisdom and experience, and I truly believe that our yoga mats are a laboratory for our real lives. When you bring your personal experiences to your yoga practice as Smadar does, they can lead you on an inspiring journey of self-realization and self-acceptance that will stick with you long after yoga class is over.

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student with an inspiring journey, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “Yoga is rooted in love. The Bible is rooted in love. Nothing could be wrong about practicing love for yourself and for the people around you.” 16:36

2 – “You don’t need to validate your wellness and health to anyone. That’s very personal.” 45:31

 

Your yoga journey brings a sense of balance in your life. The practice awakens the spirituality within us, and we carry that sense of transcendent knowledge with us on and off the yoga mat. For Edyn, from the Edyn Loves Life YouTube channel, she says that something special happens after that first savasana washes over us. 

 

Edyn is my guest on this episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast. I’m in love with her YouTube channel, and I’m inspired by her pioneering sense of inclusivity within the yoga community. Although she didn’t see many students like her in yoga class, she still felt the love and overwhelming stillness of the practice and used this to pursue her own yoga journey. 

 

Yoga brings you closer to all of the things that are sacred to you, and Edyn found her yoga practice reconnected her with her spiritual roots and her relationship with God. It brought a divine balance to her life that led her to pursue more of it. 

 

Unfortunately, yoga classes weren’t always accommodating. It can be extremely frustrating when a modification is just a Child’s Pose, but Edyn was resourceful. She found yoga on Instagram and learned how to use blocks and modify poses that made it possible to truly teach yoga at all levels. 

 

She put her yoga journey on YouTube, and we discuss what it’s like to start a channel from scratch. It’s difficult to be your authentic self on social media, but Edyn offers advice to inspire all of the beginners out there to take that first step in front of the camera. 

 

It’s all a matter of getting comfortable with yourself in front of the camera, just like you have to get comfortable with yourself on the yoga mat.

 

Your yoga journey takes you on paths you never expect, and now that Edyn is a certified yoga teacher, she is working toward making yoga accessible to every human body. She is empowering yoga students to advance their practice in such a way that is inspiring other yoga teachers to find new ways to teach and reach students of all kinds. 

 

We each share our experiences as yoga teachers in a world where we don’t match the mainstream yoga stereotype. But there is no such thing as being “right” or “wrong” for the yoga practice. Yoga is going to be different for everyone, but yoga is for everyone. No matter who you are or where you are on your spiritual path, yoga can bring you the balance that you need.

 

I hope you’re as inspired by Edyn’s point of view as I am. Her yoga journey reminds me that yoga is a practice. It takes practice to be this strong and healthy in every way that we can be, and we’re never going to be perfect. Our yoga poses aren’t going to be the same every day, so there’s no point to fitting yourself into the pose. Make the pose fit around you instead.

 

Please share some of the lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

Show Notes

Quote 1 – “We are impacted by the strongest, loudest vibration around…and emotion is one of the most powerful tools of vibration.” 

Quote 2 – “If you’re emotionally reality is strong enough and tied and anchored in a particular state of your conscious choices, then naturally thoughts that are aligned with that will start to follow.”

Thanks so much for sitting with me and sharing this space with me. Sharing my practice and my podcast with you is an opportunity for all of us to share and really feel our collective energies even if we aren’t in the same room.

 

The non-local quality of consciousness is so important during times like these where we can’t always be together or attend the yoga classes we’re missing right now. I truly believe this connection and this anchoring of our energy through metta will positively impact our lives and the lives of those around us. 

 

Can you feel it? 

 

Emotion is one of the most powerful tools of vibration, and one of the hardest things to do in yoga practice is to carry this emotional vibration with us off the mat and into the real world. It can be difficult to maintain our vibrational integrity amidst the disturbing energies in the world around us. 

 

How can we use our emotions to anchor our vibration?

 

That is the question I seek to answer in this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. We often think of thoughts and emotions as sort of a chicken and the egg paradox. Which comes first? Do our thoughts influence our emotions or vice-versa? 

 

What I can say for sure is that emotions and thoughts definitely influence one another, but in this practice I challenge you to use your own memories to bring up emotions of happiness and vibrations of wholeness. I want you to anchor that vibration and carry it with you off of your yoga mat.

 

If your emotional reality is strong enough, then your thoughts will follow. In this sense, we can argue that emotions come first and have the power to inspire healthy thoughts of happiness and wholeness. You can take that power into your own hands and control your reality as best you can.

 

Rather than be a victim of your emotions, you can use them to fuel the power of a new space Even more, you can act as a harmonizing vibration for others around you. Your emotional vibration will be a positive one that others will feed off of and hopefully start recognizing in their own lives. 

 

Please share some of the lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

 

Show Notes

1 – “Both the peaks and the valleys are immensely useful for our spiritual evolution.” 2:15:03 

 

2 – “While there is a cycle that leads to events of destruction, we have to understand that there is a possibility…that we would look back to that very moment of injury, harm, and damage and say ‘that event is the very event that produced a positive cycle of change’. 2:37:25

If you’re feeling anxious, please listen to this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. Yoga gives you the power to step outside of yourself and watch your emotions from a different perspective, and I hope to inspire you to find happiness again through a lesson in post-traumatic growth.

 

Yoga never promises to be an easy spiritual journey. The practice of yoga is a hard and arduous one, and it’s the purpose of our yoga practice to prepare us for the cycle of suffering and growth we experience throughout our lives. 

 

What we learn from our practice is that these states of suffering – and our states of happiness – aren’t permanent.

 

But would you believe me if I told you there is a state of happiness within us that transcends the highs and lows of our daily lives?

 

I believe that this is what yoga practice is designed to do, and what I discuss in this episode. Yoga is physically challenging so that you can exercise your mental strength and learn to continue to see the happiness throughout this spiritual journey.

 

Suffering is essential. Yoga teaches us that. Otherwise these poses would be so much easier, don’t you think! But it’s through the struggles of our practice where we learn that this state of discomfort isn’t permanent.

 

We also learn that the state of euphoric zen we feel after practice isn’t permanent either, and learning to recognize this ever-changing cycle between our highest and lowest emotions is key to finding the untouchable happiness within us.

 

Trauma leaves scars, and it can manifest in bitterness, negativity, and stress. But there are ways to encourage post-traumatic growth by learning to prepare yourself for the overwhelming wave of negative emotions, experiencing them, and then letting them pass. 

 

This is a habit that cannot be learned overnight, but it’s important to realize that you deserve to experience happiness. Everyone needs a little inspiration to be happy sometimes, and it starts with being willing to let in joy, no matter how small. Let this episode be your inspiration for happiness today.

 

Please share some of the lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

 

Show Notes

1 – “Certain times I can really find a timeless presence while I’m in class.” Skye 8:05

2 – “The teacher and student dynamic is a great thing for me.” Skye 21:15

 

It’s so important to understand that we all come to yoga with different perspectives. I’m blessed to travel the world and teach yoga classes to people of all cultures and backgrounds, and guess what I’ve learned?

 

I learned that yoga is a universal language that transcends any cultural differences we might have. 

 

On this episode of The Yoga Inspiration, you will hear how one yoga student’s journey inspired him to connect with one of the most inclusive communities in fitness – the yoga community. 

 

Skye is a local yoga student here with me in Miami. In fact, he’s the student model I’m using for my new book and video series Get Your Yoga On. Working together with Skye, we’re taking 30 traditional yoga positions and making them accessible for yoga students of all strengths and ages.

 

Skye hasn’t been practicing yoga that long either. He started his yoga journey a little over two years ago when his brother inspired him to attend a yoga class, and his beginner’s journey might sound a lot like yours. Skye wasn’t intune with his breathing, he wasn’t familiar with the positions, and he was intimidated by this community that looks so fit and enlightened.

 

Does that sound familiar?

 

I know that when I started my own yoga journey, I felt many of these same things. Poses weren’t at all accessible. There was no YouTube or Google that could quickly connect me with teachers or videos to help my at-home practice. I attended yoga classes almost every day and took home what my yoga teachers were telling me. 

 

The relationship between a yoga student and their teacher is sacred, and Skye shares how his yoga teachers inspire him to continue getting on the mat and practicing every day. One of the most important things his yoga teacher ever told him is – “yoga is a journey.”

 

How does that resonate with you?

 

As a yoga teacher, I feel that it’s so important to find yoga students who are on similar yoga journeys. I love working with yogis who are intimidated by the practice at first but learn to overcome that fear and embrace the yoga community as one of their own. 

 

Because yoga isn’t a privilege. Yoga is an inclusive and personal revolution for anyone that wants to make their world a happier, more peaceful place. That is why Skye inspired me to make him model for Get Your Yoga On and exactly why I invited him on this podcast to share his story. The yoga community can be an amazing source of inspiration when you find the courage to step into your first yoga class. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me! Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “We come from somewhere. There is some level of indigenousity that we all have.” Susanna 10:26

2 – “I think of yoga as a lineage that is rejecting control, rejecting authoritarianism, rejecting these systems of suppression.” Susanna 31:58

 

What does it mean to be a lifelong practitioner of yoga?

 

If you’re a new student of yoga, meeting these seasoned and talented yoga practitioners is so intimidating. Especially if you have that feeling of unworthiness. Maybe you found yoga on Instagram or YouTube and you see other yogis and their gurus, and suddenly you think to yourself – “wow, maybe I’m not a real yoga student?”

 

But there is nothing further from the truth.

 

On this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast, Susanna Barkataki is helping us explore the ins and outs of the new yoga student’s spiritual journey. Susanna grew up with the folk knowledge of yoga in the backdrop of her life, but growing up with mixed heritage in the United States meant that she never fully realized yoga’s teachings until she accepted them for herself later on in life.

 

Susanna wanted to reclaim the wholeness of who she was, to absorb every element of each of her ancestral cultures, and to bring this myriad of experience to her yoga practice. There are alternative yoga lineages that are evolving with our modern way of life, and Susanna is here to tell yoga students of all levels that we can still honor the roots of yoga without having to re-invent the spiritual path. 

 

So many new yoga students experience a backlash of what many call a “cultural appropriation of yoga”. We may feel as if we are stepping on the toes of an ancient and established spiritual journey, and this can make us feel unworthy or embarrassed of our own attempts at poses and spiritual reflection. On the other hand, it might inspire some yoga students to create their own version of yoga, one that’s better suited for them.

 

Susanna says that isn’t necessary. We discuss the differences between cultural appropriation and a true cultural appreciation, one that accepts the traditional teachings of yoga but also embraces the evolution yoga students everywhere are currently experiencing, and how new students can find teachers that truly meet their needs. 

 

The guru-shishya, or student-teacher relationship in yoga, is a key aspect of your yoga journey. But finding a mentor isn’t easy, especially for Westerners who have a hard time battling the ego, both in themselves and in the culture that defines most North Americans today. Susanna shares her experience with yoga teachers both in the West and in India, and her biggest advice for new students today is to find a teacher that supports your vulnerability as a new student and helps you cultivate that better version of yourself that you’re seeking. 

 

In this modern age, especially with COVID-19 keeping all of us in our homes, yoga is more accessible than ever. No matter where you’re starting your yoga journey – be it online or with a guru – there’s no reason for new students to feel unworthy of the practice. As Susanna says, we are all within a web of knowledge, and we are each contributing to this knowledge as we explore our own yoga journeys together. 

 

If you’re a practicing yoga student – no matter where you are on your journey – I want to hear about it. Please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

1 – “I believe in a world where we can disagree with people without hating them.” 1:58

2 – “Liberation only happens when it happens for all. Liberation for one is not liberation at all.” 19:18

This special episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast is going to feel like a conversation between friends. I have a lot of things on my mind since publishing my brand new book, Get Your Yoga On, and I feel like it’s getting harder and harder for us to talk to one another with compassion.

 

Studies show that bad news travels faster than good news. And, unfortunately, the algorithms in our social media accounts are designed to capture our attention and draw us in.

 

This is why the bad news shows up at the top of our newsfeeds way more often. 

 

Every time you react to these negative posts, the more the algorithm thinks that’s what you like and will keep showing you more. This kind of persuasive technology is what I’m discussing in this episode, and I want to help my fellow yogis gain consciousness over the information we’re consuming online.

 

Negativity bias is real. It’s a biological inheritance from a time when it was really important to amplify negative experiences. This makes sense when it was protecting us from predators, but in this modern hi-tech world it means that our brain is going to remember the worst things without letting us focus on the moments that make us happiest.

 

I do not doubt that this is why we have so much negativity in the world right now. I know that if we took a moment, took a breath, before responding or reacting to a negative encounter – online or off – we might have a little more compassion for one another. 

 

This is why shadow work is so important. Bringing up things that make you uncomfortable teaches you how to be compassionate toward yourself, which is a call for healing. It’s a powerful thing to be able to recognize and forgive negativity in yourself, and even more so when you can apply this same compassion to others. 

 

As yogis we are called to embrace compassion and love. The emotional labor of our practice teaches us how to use compassion to improve ourselves on emotional and spiritual levels. I am asking you now to apply this same compassion to those around you. 

 

I’m ending this episode with a special metta practice designed to tap into this compassion. I see the good in you, and I see the potential goodness that can be throughout the world through us. Please take this metta practice to heart and grow your light big enough to embrace, understand, and help others through their own pain.

If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me – the good and the bad. I want to talk with you about it so send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “We cannot look back at history and deny and disregard the sacrifices made by those who came before us just so that we could have the right to vote.” 5:46

 

2 – “The American Dream is, in many ways, a work in progress. I don’t believe it’s complete. I don’t believe this dream has reached its fruition. But I do believe in The Dream.” 17:17

 

This podcast episode will air the week before the United States Presidential Election, and I’m dedicating this discussion to the importance of civic engagement. 

 

I was inspired to do so by my yoga students and fellow practitioners, whom I keep hearing say that they believe their vote doesn’t matter, or that it doesn’t count. So many American citizens sat out of the 2016 election for that reason, and that disenfranchisement still lingers. 

 

It seems like this time around, more and more people are giving up on the idea that their vote matters. 

 

I come from a very political family. My mom was a lobbyist for the Teacher’s Union, and she brought me to volunteer in elections when I was a little girl. I was involved with election campaigns long before I was old enough to vote, and the environment has always been at the top of my mind when it comes to political issues.

 

But this podcast isn’t about political issues or political parties. In this episode, I am inspiring you to participate in your government.  Yoga has the power to change the world, and that change starts from within ourselves and through our own actions. 

 

The history of The United States is fraught with hard-won battles for the right to vote across generations. Choosing not to vote disregards those who came before and made the sacrifice just so we could have this right. I encourage you to do your own research and vote for what you believe in.

 

I’m providing resources here where you can check your voter registration and find local voting polls in your neighborhood – 

 

Check these out, vote for what you believe in, and try not to hate those who may disagree with you. 

If you’re a practicing yoga student, please share a bit of your yoga journey with me. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “If we’re unable to come to an estimation of what is true ourselves, then the unconscious biases…are accepted into our own minds, and we become copies of the world that we live in.” 17:30

2 – “The story that you tell around reality makes a very big impact on how you feel day-to-day.” 26:32

 

We’re all on a quest for truth. If you practice yoga, then you’ll recognize the term Satya, which means true essence or truthfulness. It is the goal of yoga to cultivate Satya, and I’m discussing this philosophy in order to bring some clarity to the modern concept of Universal Truth.

 

Satya is the ethical concept of the value of truthfulness. It’s considered a virtue of the yoga practice and it guides us on our everlong quest for truth. More importantly, Satya is the opposite of falsehood and delusion, and it helps govern the very operation of our universe. 

 

But what does truthfulness mean in our contemporary world? 

 

What we’re after are the answers to some of the deepest questions of life. The goal of yoga is to cultivate true knowingness and to understand what Satya means. 

 

Satya exists in our individual actions and thoughts, and it can influence the way we interact with one another. By practicing yoga, we can move on from our individual biased truths and into the universal truths of this reality. 

 

Universal truths – like gravity – are infallible. On the other hand, our individual truths are shaped by our experiences. They are often based on value judgments and opinions. We make most of these value judgments subconsciously, which can give people the power to take advantage of our relative truths.

 

What yoga is after is to find you a path out this relative truth through the practice of Satya. I share some ways to recognize your own biases in the echo chamber of our society and discuss the limits to the types of knowledge that yoga intends to teach you. 

 

It’s time to cultivate a path to knowledge and wisdom within ourselves. The yoga practice presents different ways to reach this knowledge and wisdom, and this universal kind of awareness is the kind of truth we’re after through Satya. It’s so much more than determining what’s true and what’s not. It’s time to connect with the universal truth of what is and contemplate the very nature of being.

 

If you would like to share any lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners, send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor.

 

Show Notes

1 – “If you start practicing today, you’ll find so much more strength then you ever imagined possible.” 2:55

2 – “One of the main roles of a teacher is to believe in the student more than the student believes in themselves.” 13:07

 

If you’ve been following me on YouTube then you know that I love to teach strength poses in yoga. It might surprise you, but when I first started yoga I wasn’t naturally strong. That’s why these strength poses are so important to me and my personal yoga journey. In this episode, I’m taking you on my journey of strength to inspire you with you some of the most important lessons I learned on my yoga mat. 

 

Remember back to my first episode – my very first impression of yoga was the headstand. I wanted nothing more than to be able to stand on my head. That’s what I thought yoga was: a fitness class of perfect, physically fit people standing on their heads. I quickly learned that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

 

The yoga path is for everyone, and this is why representation is so important in yoga. When the yoga journey is presented as one image or one particular shape or size or color of body, it starts to exclude those who really want to learn the practice. Yoga students start to think they have to pose a certain way or look a certain way to be a real yogi, and it can be really hard to find the strength to stay on your mat. 

 

But you have the strength! We all have the strength to get back on our mats and try these poses again and again and again. I wasn’t able to snap my fingers and be in a headstand. There were months of practice, of posing, of kicking yoga teachers in my attempt at inversion. And there were a lot of doubts. I doubted myself and my own strength and thought – there’s no way I can do this.

 

That’s when I turned to my yoga teacher. Yoga teachers – in fact, all teachers have the uncanny ability to believe in their students, even when that student doesn’t believe in herself. That faith started as a tiny seed, a tiny voice that shouted “Yes I can!” through the doubt, and it eventually bloomed into the strength I use today, both on and off my yoga mat. 

 

The lessons I learned of lifting myself into a headstand carry through to my daily life. I have the strength to lift myself up from negative emotions or cycles of self-doubt, and I’ve learned to trust in this strength as well. Don’t sell yourself short just because you don’t think you can be any stronger than you are right now in this moment. I’m here to tell you now that you are strong enough, you just need to put in the effort to see your strength. Are you willing to work for it?

 

What lessons have you learned on the yoga mat? Please share a bit of your yoga journey with me and my listeners. Send me an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

 

Show Notes

1 – “The thinking mind operates in words, but your body is communicating in a space that is not words.” 10:45

2 – “When you access body language and body intelligence, you can make some serious updates to the subconscious mind.” 25:08

 

Tune in now to this special episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast and learn how to use yoga as a life hack.

If you’ve ever heard of jailbreaking a phone, then you know what I mean by life hack. Yoga practice can open you up to a new life of infinite growth and inner peace by teaching your brain (and your body) new ways of thinking.

Your tendencies toward self-hatred and negative thinking are not permanent states of being. The operating system of your brain can be updated, and you can become a conscious creator of the thoughts that you think and the emotions you feel.

Ancient years ago, yoga practitioners in India developed the practice to understand the operating system of the human mind. I’m talking about the science and technology of yoga. Think of your body – the operating system we exist in – as a type of technology, and the language that we use as a kind of code.

Of course, the language of the mind is words. But what about the language of the body?

A vast majority of our communication happens with our bodies, and almost all of our body language is subconscious. You could think of your body as your subconscious mind, and your body speaks best when your mind is silent.

Think about how quiet it is when you step onto your yoga mat. How that silence lets you step into and through your body with each asana…

Communicating with your body is key to using yoga as a life hack, and there are key times of the day when your yoga practice will hit it just right – like first thing in the morning!

Learning how to communicate with your body is the easiest way to make some serious updates to your subconscious mind and the way you think about yourself and the world around you. I’m sharing more yoga life hacks in this podcast to inspire you with another reason to get on your mat this morning.

Yoga has the power to change your brainwaves, and a few minutes on your mat every day is all you need to use yoga as a life hack. Practice with me today online at www.omstars.com.

Share the lessons you’ve learned on the yoga mat with me and my listeners! Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

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