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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!

Show Notes

1 – “We are interested in the spiritual journey of yoga to use the tool of asana as a means to train the mind…and build new patterns of thinking.” 12:56

2 – “The great gift of the yoga practice is to give you the power to change the way you think about yourself and change the way you inhabit your body so you can literally liberate your mind and your consciousness.” 33:20

 

This episode is a Dharma talk I shared with my students here in Miami. I discuss the intersection between neuroscience and yoga, and I hope you are inspired to break some of your bad habits after listening to this special episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

 

I may not be a scientist, but I love yoga, and I’m interested in the elements of yoga that can be studied and verified by rational, scientific means. Yoga has the power to retrain our brains and our bodies, giving you the power to lay the foundations for more evolution of consciousness.

 

To visualize this, I want you to remember the Native American proverb of the two wolves. As the story goes, there are two wolves living in each of us – the wolf of hate powered by anger, sorry, jealousy, and greed; and the wolf of love, powered by compassion, peace, love, and serenity. 

 

These two wolves are in direct competition with one another in our subconscious. The wolf that lives is the one you feed. And as you practice yoga, you feed that wolf of love. You become kinder and more empathetic toward yourself and to others. 

 

There is always a lot of talk about the negativity bias, how to work with stress, and what stress can do to our bodies. But when we focus on all of this negative energy we are completely overlooking the fact that there are equally strong physiological systems rooted in connection, empathy, and compassion. 

 

The wolf of love is the state of calm and connection we all feel in our practice. The physical poses of yoga are designed to develop our empathy and our kindness, and it’s important that you remember this as you listen to this inspirational episode. 

 

The more you practice yoga, the stronger your mind becomes. With each asana, you’re building a concentrated mind that will stop you from feeding into the reactive patterns you may be used to, and learning how to develop new, more compassionate ones.

 

Tune in now and learn to re-conceptualize the way you think about yourself and about your yoga practice. I want you to tap into our natural capacity for empathy! I’m sharing steps you can take to conquer your fears and self-doubt and learn to recognize that you have the power to change the way you think. 

 

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! 

 

Show Notes

1 – “The tool of cultivating an attitude of gratitude doesn’t necessarily need to be overly bombastic or forcefully positive.” 6:05

2 – “We should not as human beings be so narcissistic or egotistical to think we are the ones that see the whole picture.” 32:47

 

Cultivating gratitude is almost always on our minds during this time of year, but the concept of gratitude is multifaceted. There are so many different ways we can be grateful!

 

How do you express your gratitude?

 

There are no right or wrong answers here. I just want to encourage you to look at gratitude from a different perspective in this daily dose of Yoga Inspiration.

 

We are all grateful for those positive moments in our life, those big events and loved ones we’ve waited for. Unfortunately, our lives aren’t made up entirely of amazing days. In fact, most of what you experience in life is neutral.

 

Think about that for a moment…

 

The brain innately reacts to every situation in one of three tones: positive, negative, or neutral. While positive experiences inspire feelings of attachment and joy, negative experiences can create patterns of aversion. But neutral situations garner no such reaction. 

 

What does this mean when most of our daily experiences are neutral?

 

Well, depending on how you react to the positives and negatives in your life can influence the way you interpret these neutral experiences. Each reaction stimulates certain patterns in the mind, and I discuss how your mental habits can be changed for the better by teaching you how to skew your reactions.

 

How you react to any given situation is very important. Our reactions are our one true freedom. 

 

We have the freedom to choose how we react, even when it feels like we can’t control it. But that lack of control is just a habit that’s set up shop in our minds. In yoga, we call this samsara. Samsaras are habitual reactions influenced by moments that happened in the past. 

 

Yoga teaches us how to be present in the moment, which can help us recognize when past experiences are influencing our present-day reactions. More importantly, it can help us notice when negative past experiences are impacting our otherwise neutral day-to-day moments.

 

You have the power to skew those moments of neutrality toward a positive reaction. If you can interact with a neutral experience in a positive light, you can start to change your point of view on life. 

 

I’m sharing ways you can do this on the yoga mat and in your daily life to cultivate a new way of thinking. Get inspired and learn how to cultivate a new path for these neutral moments so you can be grateful all year round for even the most mundane moments in your day!

 

Share the lessons – both positive and negative! – that 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! 

Show Notes

1 – “Appreciate that there is a cultural exchange happening here, and it’s okay to adapt your practice to modern times.” Henry 15:36

2 – “As long as you have the agency to ask for help, then I do feel that you will be led to whoever is meant to help you at this time.” Veronica 51:41

This episode of Yoga Inspiration is a special one! Not only am I interviewing two of my favorite fellow yogis – Henry and Veronica – but it’s also our first ever LIVE podcast episode. I took the podcast to Omstars to share some inspiration in real-time and give people a chance to ask their own questions. 

 

And there are some very important questions discussed in this episode. 

 

Veronica shares her experiences battling with mental health on the mat. For her, it wasn’t necessarily about attaining physical perfection or mastering the asanas. Veronica wanted to return to the home within herself and reconnect with her body.

 

Yoga is a spiritual experience, and Veronica discusses how being an empath impacted her yoga practice, her mental health, and inspired her healing journey. 

 

Of course, she couldn’t do this all by herself. Henry, her husband and fellow yoga teacher, offers advice on how to be supportive of a partner in crisis. He may not have come to the yoga mat for spiritual healing, but the practice teaches him a lot about how to help others (and yourself) heal. 

 

Too often we want a clear cut explanation for why things are the way they are. Sometimes that’s impossible to find. Life is chaotic, Henry says, and yoga teaches us how to sit comfortably with this uncertainty.

 

We all have the narrative in our heads that tells us that we can’t or won’t, and yoga can be the opportunity we need to prove ourselves we can. It can also be an opportunity to heal and find well-being.

 

But achieving mental, physical, and spiritual well-being is easier said than done. Many of us on this journey will need mentors to guide us on our way. Choosing a yoga teacher, a therapist, a doctor – or asking for help at all can be an intimidating experience on its own. Where do you start?

 

Finding a teacher or a mentor is a matter of asking yourself – what kind of person do you want to share your space with? Henry and Veronica provide amazing resources for those who need them and advice on how to choose. By aligning yourself with the core values that mean the most to you, you can find someone to help you grow as a person. 

 

When is it appropriate to seek therapy for mental help?

 

Veronica and Henry have advice for that too. Veronica promised herself that if she found the help she needed, she would share what she learned with others. Tune in now for spiritual and mental healing and a glimpse into the subtle energy training that influenced Veronica and Henry’s healing journey.

 

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! 

 

Show Notes

1 – “Breaking my legs was the best thing that ever happened to me in my life.” Dusty 12:06

2 – “I believe yoga is for everybody.” Dusty 32:36

3 – “I went from not understanding what meditation was to realizing I was meditating all the time.” Dusty 36:10

 

On this episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I’m sharing the inside scoop on what yoga means to a lifelong athlete. Dusty is a professional gymnast and yoga student in Las Vegas who didn’t take his first yoga class until he was in his 60s! Now it’s been five years since he started and his experience is bound to inspire yoga beginners and expert yoga students both to get on the mat.

 

Because you don’t have to be an athlete to practice yoga. Sure, being a lifelong gymnast has its perks when it comes to flexibility and core strength, but Dusty reveals that any kind of athleticism can’t prepare a yogi for the mental and emotional workout the practice takes you on. 

 

Unusual circumstances brought Dusty to the yoga mat. As a gymnast, he was always sustaining sprains and injuries – but then he broke both of his legs in a surfing accident. It wasn’t the physical healing he was worried about. Dusty was more curious about the emotional impact an injury like this would have on him. He shares how his first yoga class inspired him to rethink his healing process and why he ultimately decided to turn taking care of himself and his yoga journey his top priority. 

 

I’ve always been in awe of the work gymnasts can put in. But yoga taught Dusty things he never considered before. We’re always quick to assume that someone as nimble as a gymnast can just hop on their yoga mat and do pose after pose after pose. In reality, yoga stretches a range of motion that a gymnast like Dusty never stretched before. 

 

Dusty discusses what surprises him most about the differences between gymnastic training and yoga practice. It might surprise you to hear that a star athlete like Dusty couldn’t even do child’s pose at first! But all of this practice and learning made Dusty feel like a beginner again. 

 

No matter how far along you are in your yoga journey, you will always be a yoga beginner. There are always new positions to learn, new mistakes to be made, and Dusty shares with me the things that yoga is teaching and re-teaching him every day. 

 

Dusty even asks me what it’s like to be a yoga teacher at the end of this episode. I must admit that self-reflection immediately makes me feel embarrassed. I still feel like a beginner. I relate to my yoga students and they inspire me every day to get back on the mat and keep trying. 

 

What is your yoga inspiration?

 

It’s something Dusty made me think about on this episode, and it’s something I want you to think about as you listen today. Because you never know when inspiration will strike. You can’t predict what the world has in store for you, and you never know where moments like these will end up taking you. Like Dusty says, yoga is timeless, and your yoga mat will be right here waiting no matter where you’re at in your yoga journey. 

 

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 – “There is no greater obstacle to being teachable, receptive, and open to the depth and subtlety of the experience of what yoga represents than a hardened heart.” 5:27

2 –  “Your experience of consciousness changes the moment you feel a place inside of your body that had been cut off by past experiences.” 13:27

Yoga is here to change the very foundation of the way you think. But that can only start when you change the way you inhabit your body. Join me in this episode for a special dose of daily yoga inspiration. 

 

This special meditative practice will open your heart and change the way you look at yourself.

 

The society we live in teaches us to toughen up and put on a happy face. But the longer we live in society, the more we become hardened to the ways of society, and it’s hard to let go of that, even as we practice yoga. 

 

Yet the practice of yoga is designed to break this facade and give us a moment to establish a powerful emotional link with our bodies.

 

The body is the home of your spirit while you are on this earth, and it’s important to understand the value of your body. This value extends beyond the shape and size of your body. Yoga reaches into the very space you inhabit.

 

If you’ve ever felt ashamed of yourself, at yoga practice or elsewhere, then you understand what it feels like to judge your own presence. It’s important to feel your presence and tune into yourself without any judgments or desires. This pure act of feeling and awareness is where we begin our practice.

 

With today’s practice, I’m asking you to open your heart to the idea of self-love and acceptance. Listen today and consider these three things as you practice along with me:

  1. Think about the space of the physical body without judgment. If it hurts, let it hurt. 
  2. Experience the inner body, the space beneath the skin and thoughts of your conscious mind.
  3. Experience the space around your body and feel the space you physically inhabit. 

 

Open your heart and 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! 

Show Notes

1 – “The more that you know and the more that you’re invested in the knowing, the harder it is to remain open-hearted.” 4:41

2 – “The two steps we take on this path are equal parts mindfulness and compassion – with only mindfulness, the heart may grow dull; with only compassion, the heart may be undisciplined, but with both together we can almost fly.” 35:40

I’m taking a little inspiration from my Chat & Chai classes at the Miami Life Center for this special episode. Please tune in now for a special chat and a meditation that will help you reconnect with the innocence of your mind.

 

Remember when you first started yoga? That beginner’s mindset is what we’re trying to get back to today. 

 

The longer you practice, the more important it is to check back in with yourself and your beginner’s mind. Too often we come to the mat with an agenda – sometimes it’s to do a headstand, or maybe we want a deeper backbend, but when you come to practice with a plan in your head, you’re missing out on your moment to really connect. 

 

That moment goes beyond the physical poses. Yoga is your chance to reconnect with your spirit and get back in touch with the deeper intention of the practice. Remember – yoga is an initiation of the heart. 

 

The more we practice, and the more we learn about the physical practice and poses and bending, the further we stray from that excitement and wonder we felt that first day on the mat – our beginner’s mind. Yes, I love learning about yoga, but I also love how my yoga practice is a chance to unlearn all that I know. 

 

When you come to the yoga mat, you are starting on a journey that will turn you into a totally new person, if you let it. In order to be re-invented, you have to acknowledge that – despite all you know – you really don’t know anything.

 

Your spirit remains untouched by all that your mind knows, and your yoga practice is the rare moment where you have the freedom to spend time within the freshness and newness of the human spirit.

 

Come explore this freshness of spirit and reconnect with the innocence of the beginner’s mind.

 

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! 

Show Notes

Meditation is an essential component of the spiritual path of yoga. Before you tune in to another episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I invite you to join me in this meditative practice.

It’s easy to have theoretical conversations about meditation, but engaging in the act of meditating is the only way to truly grow on this yoga journey. Try it with me now! I will guide you through this meditative practice and share some of the benefits of meditation with you.

To start, come to a comfortable seated position and allow your eyes to close. Try not to change your position too much during this practice, but do stay comfortable.

It’s important to keep your eyes closed during this practice in order to become aware of your senses. When your eyes are closed, the sense of sight is driven inward and you can start to practice in a state of self-observation.

Self-observation is how we enter the meditative mind. When you direct your cognizant mind to your inner world, it becomes much easier to focus on your breathing. Use your breath to create an anchor in your mind.

The easiest way to create this anchor is to bring your attention to your nose, your nostrils, and be aware of the feeling of your breath as it goes in and out. Don’t try to breathe in a particular way, just simply breathe. If your mind starts to wander, acknowledge the adventure, and use your breath to bring yourself back to your inner world.

Your job on the yoga mat today is to acknowledge where your mind goes without engaging in any of the thoughts. Simply acknowledge, observe, and return to your breathing. When you do this, your mind will become clearer and you can start to truly practice metta.

Even if you’ve never meditated before, this practice is the perfect place to start. Get comfortable and get ready to enter the meditative mind!

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!

Show Notes

1 – “This cycle of life and regeneration…and being comfortable with that emptiness is a huge part of the spiritual path.” 28:02

2 – “Stay really tactile with your body sensations and your breathing awareness. Just observe.” 33:40

Training the mind is hard work. Any of us who have spent time on a yoga mat can attest to that. But what if I told you there was a secret to training your mind?

 

That secret is meditation. Meditation allows us to gaze at the inner plane, and it’s through this self-observation that we can effectively calm and train the mind. 

 

Now, the practice of meditation can mean many things to many different people. Perhaps you already include it as part of your yoga routine, or maybe you even practiced meditation first before you took up yoga. Anyone can practice meditation, and this episode of the Yoga Inspiration podcast is meant for beginners and advanced meditation practitioners.

 

Meditation requires a state of deep introspective concentration, and even the most advanced meditators can still have difficulty relaxing the mind. In fact, to be considered “good” at meditating, you must be able to focus on your breathing for 60 seconds. 

 

While we won’t be trying to achieve that today, all I ask is for you to consider meditation as a way to celebrate and accept the cycles of life we go through. I’m sharing my experiences from my most recent meditation retreat to hopefully inspire you to give meditation a try.

 

To start meditation, it’s important to find a neutral object to focus on. Many of us use breathing as our center of focus. We all breathe, and breath is unlikely to have any emotional attachment to any thoughts of any kind. You want to keep your mind clear, and meditating on your breath flowing in and out can help concentrate your mind.

 

There are key differences between the breathing in meditation and the breathing we do in yoga. While meditating, you breathe as normal and learn to recognize your pattern of breath. This recognition can help you notice the way your breathing may change depending on the various life situations you find yourself in. 

 

I discuss how and why meditative breathing is different from yoga, and I answer some key questions many yogis have about starting and maintaining a regular meditative practice. Meditation is key to training your mind and breaking any bad habits of negative thinking, so tune in now to step into that meditative mindset and begin retraining your brain.

 

Share some of the things 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! 

Show Notes

1 – “Each time you experience a discomfort, and you choose not to react, the meditative mind grows large enough to contain the discomfort.” 14:00

2 – “Love is a bridge that leads to joy, happiness, and peace.” 26:35

There is a transformation that happens with each practice. Your heart expands and you are better able to tap into that vibration of love, peace, and harmony. But, as with all things in this life, practice is not always easy.

 

We require sustenance to stay on the mat, and I bring this meditation to you today to inspire you and sustain you as we continue our yoga journey together. 

 

Meditation is a practice. You don’t need to be perfect the first time you do it, or even the second or third! Your mind will wander and your nose might itch, but all you need to do is follow each breath with attentiveness. Meditative practice requires an anchor, and this anchor will be your breath. Start now.

 

Inhale.

 

Exhale.

 

This natural pace of your breath will act as your guide through this meditation. Notice the actual sensation of your breath, the way it feels on your upper lip and through your nostrils. Take a moment to find this sensation because it will be your anchor on this journey.

 

If your mind wanders, don’t stress. If your foot falls asleep, don’t move. Just acknowledge these thoughts and sensations and use the anchor of your breath to bring you back to the meditation. I apply this same advice to the powerful emotions that may bubble to the surface as we practice. Try not to react. These feelings are transitory, so observe with mindfulness and move forward.

 

When you choose not to react to these minor disruptions, you become stronger on this meditative path to mindfulness. And when you practice mindfulness, you’re better able to bring your focus to the heart’s center, the center of love and kindness, the center of metta. It is here that you can tap into the vibration of love. 

 

Join me now on this meditative journey as we tap into the vibrations of love, peace, and harmony and learn the importance of practicing self-metta just as we practice yoga. Love is our natural state, and this practice today will bring you back into that natural state of being.

 

Share some of the things 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! 

Show Notes

1 – “If you don’t remove those negative thoughts which are deeply implanted in the subconscious mind, those positive affirmations will be choked out.” 7:43

2 – “Asana is not a replacement for meditation. Yoga poses are not a replacement for cultivating a state of mindfulness.” 23:07

The two practices of sati, or mindfulness, and metta, love and kindness, are distinctly different, but you cannot practice one without the other. It’s important to understand their differences in order to make the most out of your yoga practice.

 

To start with, you cannot practice metta without sati. Sati is the mindfulness and awareness of what is. There is no imagination or visualization – what is simply is, and we must stay grounded in this practice in order to achieve mindfulness.

 

Achieving this mindfulness is easier said than done because sitting and meditating is very intimidating to most of us. We are carrying existential pain and suffering deep within us and meditation forces us to sit with this pain. There’s absolutely nothing comfortable about that. But as you practice sati, you are practicing ways to observe this pain without fueling it.

 

This objective way of looking at our thoughts and emotions makes it possible to practice metta. Metta is the power of creation through conscious thinking. When we practice metta, we are actively planting positive thoughts in our heart’s center of love, kindness, peace, and harmony, both toward ourselves and those around us. 

 

These positive thoughts can be things like “I am worthy” or “I deserve to be happy,” but they can also be as simple as the mere thought of love. Thinking of someone or something you love is part of the practice of metta. These thoughts tap into the vibration of love and give you the power to carry it within you and share it with others.

 

As you listen today, think of your mind and heart as a garden. Sati will clear away the overgrowth of negative thoughts so you can plant the seeds of metta in an open mind and an open heart. 

 

I hope you recognize how important sati and metta are to not only our yoga practice but also to our own peace of mind. You cannot practice metta without sati because you cannot plant seeds of love before recognizing the pain and suffering that exists within your heart.

 

Share some of what’s in your heart 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

You are such an inspiration to me, and it inspires me to continue practicing when I see all of you taking to your mats every day. I created this forum to help you and all my listeners find a safe space in your lives for yoga practice. 

 

This is YOUR practice where I send you that same inspirational energy! No matter where or when you’re joining this primary series practice – it is meant for you to relax and appreciate the spiritual journey.

 

I welcome rest. I welcome modifications. All I expect is that you work as hard as you know you can work today. 

 

Let’s get started!

 

I will guide you, starting with a traditional opening prayer and through the poses and breathing so you can feel accomplished on the mat. 

 

If you want to share some of your yoga accomplishments, send an email to 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 – “It is not the pain that is important. It is changing your reaction to the pain that is important.” 2:05:56

2 – “You have to do as much introspective spiritual practice as possible with bravery, authenticity, and with clear sight so you can look into yourself bravely.” 3:01:20

 

The secret to yoga practice is in the asanas. These poses we twist our bodies into are not just for our physical health and strength. Yoga pratice has the power to lead you on a path of liberation from the mind and body. 

 

In this episode of the Yoga Inspiration Podcast, I get a little theoretical and discuss how yoga gets into our subconsciousness. While our subconscious minds are made up of the habitual reactions of our thoughts, bodies, and emotions, yoga can tap into and disrupt even the most negative cycles of thinking. 

 

How? 

 

Consider this – rather than thinking of our brains and minds as synonymous, consider the theory that our mind is actually capable of creating reality based on our perception. This perception includes our innate physical reactions to certain stimuli, such as pain or pleasure.

 

For example, when something is uncomfortable, our reaction is to run away or otherwise remove ourselves from the painful situation. But if you practice yoga, you are training yourself to remain neutral in the face of discomfort. 

 

The discomfort we experience on the yoga mat is there to teach us how to recognize bodily sensations in response to various experiences. Yoga teaches us that it’s not the pain that’s important. It’s the way we react to this pain that matters the most. And this heightened sense of the body gives you an access point into your subconscious mind.

 

What will you do with this access?

 

Will you have the power to break your habits?

 

Learning how not to react is one of the most important lessons you will learn on the yoga mat. Mastering it will give you the ability to change the way you think, and that is the first step toward changing your habits and becoming the best possible version of yourself.

 

Tune in now for more important lessons in spiritual training, and contact me with other valuable lessons you have learned a valuable lesson through yoga practice. 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.

 

Show Notes

1 – “With love and diligence, come back to the breath.” 17:00

2 – “Choose the breath over the pattern of the past, no matter how difficult it may be.” 23:58

This is a practice in meditation and mindfulness and how to integrate a sitting practice into your yoga practice. If you’re intimidated by meditation – or just afraid you’re going to fall asleep in practice! – I invite you to tune in for this guided meditation.

 

I will begin by drawing your attention to your senses and the inner experience. Our senses are normally directed to the external world and our day-to-day lives, but while meditating we have the chance to consciously direct our senses inward.

 

The easiest way to do this is to pay attention to your breath. Acknowledge the feeling as you inhale and exhale. Don’t try and control or manipulate your breathing pattern, just acknowledge and recognize it. It will be your focal point as I guide you through this meditative practice.

 

Meditation is an important part of the spiritual journey in yoga. It teaches us to acknowledge our experiences without getting lost in the often overwhelming sensations of our feelings and our emotions.

 

When you practice meditation, you are training your mind to break old habits and see different opportunities. As your mind wanders – as it inevitably will as you sit quietly on your mat – all you have to do is call it back to your breath with a sense of kindness. There is no judgment, only acknowledgment and a gentle call back to the meditative state of mind. 

 

As I said, this is a judgment-free zone. Meditation is no easy feat and it takes practice. Why not start the practice today?

 

I want to hear about your accomplishments on the yoga mat. Send an email to 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 – “Long periods of silence are what is needed for you to truly train your own mind.” 2:35

2 – “The mind can be trained, but it requires diligence as patience. This is why those moments of silence are so important.” 15:00

What are you thinking about right now?

 

If you think too hard about it, you’ll realize our minds are always distracted. We are always focused on the business of daily life, which is why so many of us avoid the silence. I’m here to tell you that these moments of silence are important. 

 

It is in this silence that we come to truly know ourselves, and through this silence is how we fight the battles within ourselves. You just have to get comfortable with it. Meditation can help you do that.

 

Meditation trains us to survive the silence. Through meditative practice, we can utilize the quiet moments between our breath and rebel against the ingrained habits of our subconscious mind.

 

For some of us, meditation makes us anxious. For others, we get sleepy. I have a few recommendations for all my meditators listening to this podcast, but first — I want to ask you to close your eyes.

 

By closing our eyes, we force the mind’s attention inward, force it to focus on something other than the outside world, if even just for a minute. It could be the longest sixty seconds of your life, but the silence is there to help you. Sitting in silence will strengthen your mind and give you the power to break all those old negative ways of thinking.

 

If you’re worried about the silence, I recommend that you pay attention to your breathing. Don’t change the way you breathe, just watch yourself breathing until there is no longer silence – there is just you and your breath. 

 

Taking on your own mind takes courage, and your courage inspires me to step onto the yoga mat every day and practice not only my asanas but my meditation. Tune in now to learn more benefits of meditative practice, and take advantage of my guided meditation episodes.

 

It’s up to you to get on the mat every day. Send an email to info@kinoyoga.com and tell me what inspires you to continue practicing yoga. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast with Kino MacGregor!

Show Notes

1 – “Every single person that interacts with the discipline of yoga is in some ways a spiritual seeker.” 2:26:30

2 – “The whole premise of yoga is predicated on the notion that you need a personal practice as a forum for you to experience some of these esoteric, more mystical truths.” 2:41:52

Every one of us must ask ourselves, sometimes more than once: what is yoga?

 

By definition, yoga means unity – but what do you want unity with? More specifically – are you seeking this unity consciously or unconsciously?

 

To clarify, it’s not important whether you are conscious or unconscious of your spiritual journey. 

Rather, it’s important to recognize your spiritual quest as just that – a journey. 

 

The unconscious seeker may take longer to reach a revelation, but the conscious seeker risks the ego getting in the way of their growth. That’s why it’s important to learn the historical context of yoga and apply the methodology of yoga to your practice.

 

I’m discussing the history of Patanjali’s teachings and the dichotomy in his yoga sutras to teach us how to find this unity.

 

Prakriti and Purusha are the dichotomy at the center of Patanjali’s teachings.  Prakriti – the phenomenal world – is our material world, the ephemeral where the only constant is change. On the flip side is Purusha – the noumenal world. 

 

Purusha is the singularity that exists independently of our sense and perception; it is that oneness we seek within ourselves and with our universe. According to Patanjali, the Purusha within us has agreed at some moment to forget what it is. 

 

We have forgotten who we are, and the oneness within us now identifies itself as our bodies or our thoughts. Yoga practice teaches us that it is actually neither. 

 

Yoga is a quest for the unity we seek within ourselves and with the world, and to Patanjali, unity could be dangerous if one does not involve the higher mind in the process. That’s why I’m teaching you the history of the yogi’s journey.

 

Without this framework, anything can become yoga, and it’s very important to maintain the practice of yoga as sacred. It’s important to set out a time for your personal practice so you can continue to build on this foundation as you make this spiritual journey. 

 

I’m happy to share this time with you on your yoga journey. If you want to share some of the most important lessons you’ve learned on your quest, send an email to info@kinoyoga.com. 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 – “Practice holding the anchor of the breath in a field of equanimity where breath is breath.” 11:29

2 – “Unifying with the breath creates the opportunity to experience the rare state of whole being…where conscious and subconscious mind unite.” 16:40

Please prepare for a long sit if you’re joining me for this meditation. These guided meditations are important to the spiritual practice, but the longer we practice you may find that certain positions aren’t as comfortable as they used to be. So get comfortable and settle into this moment.

 

Feel free to use a chair. Feel free to lay down. As long as we settle into this moment and are aware of our bodies and our breath releasing and relaxing, the meditation can begin.

 

When we meditate, we are doing the subtle, inner work that is so important to our yoga practice. We are creating a path for the mind to be inwardly focused. Think of this as your chance to be the silent traveler in your mind – the silent observer of your thoughts. 

 

As your thoughts arise, observe them without judgment or emotion. This takes practice, so be nice to yourself as your thoughts start to wander. If this happens, remind yourself that you are not your thoughts and return to your breath.

 

Sometimes, when we’re in the stillness of meditation, it can be hard to turn off the waking mind. Your breath gives the mind a focal point so that you can begin to enter that stillness of mind. This takes great discipline, so I am inviting you to join me in this episode for a special meditative practice. 

 

In this meditation, we practice recognizing Anapanasati, or the awareness of the inflowing and outflowing breath. This awareness puts us in a state of equanimity, where breath is simply breath and thoughts are simply thoughts, and we can truly reach that space of stillness.

 

Because it is only in this stillness of the mind where you are open to receiving the energy of happiness and peace, and we can begin to practice metta. Join me now to practice finding that balance with all things, including our own minds.

 

Share with me your tips for finding peace and stillness on the yoga mat. 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.

 

Show Notes

1 – “By coming together and sharing this space now, you create…a collective energy that inspires you and makes practice more attainable.” 10:54

2 – “That intangibility and that feeling of lost-ness is itself the very foundation from which the meditative mind begins.” 17:10

Practicing meditation is a practice in doing nothing. That may sound like a riddle, but it’s the truth! And it’s why meditation is so difficult for some of us.

 

My yoga teacher always used to say that meditation was very difficult. Asana yoga is almost easier because as we practice the poses, we are giving our minds a distraction from the sheer weight of nothingness.

 

I’m here to tell you that the key to meditation lies in embracing this nothingness, this intangibility of the practice. Meditation is designed to move us away from the material world and into the quality of the exact moment we are in without a hectic need to define it or run away from it. 

 

Unfortunately, our minds don’t always work that way. Don’t you ever experience doubts on the yoga mat?

 

We are always looking for something to fill up the moment that, in the instant we’re left alone with the stillness, we start to doubt ourselves. 

 

Who are you without your thoughts?

 

What are we without our busy schedules?

 

Sometimes there can be unprocessed thoughts and emotions laying heavy on our hearts that we don’t want to face. The silence forces us to face them, which breeds fear and doubt. 

 

This is because if your mind is not trained it will ruminate back and forth between worrying about the past and projecting into the future. Meditation trains our mind to recognize the frequency of our thoughts so we can break that cycle of worry and doubt.

 

I have a few helpful tips for my fellow yogis who have a hard time accepting the stillness of meditation, and I’m discussing many ways you can break the cycle, including: 

  1. First, be nice to yourself. Everyone is allowed to have their mind run wild once in a while. Just bring yourself back to your breath and refocus your mind.
  2. Count your breaths backward from ten to refocus your mind.
  3. Accept that meditation is supposed to be boring. If you’re bored, then you’re doing it right.

 

Tune in now for more helpful ways to anchor your mind and more tips on how to get into that state of mind even if you don’t have a silent space to practice at home. Quarantine has made many of us modify our yoga practice to fit into our new lifestyles, and it’s important to share these moments together. 

 

Practicing meditation together, as I have done in previous episodes of this podcast, creates a collective energy that inspires us and makes meditation a little less intimidating. When practice is more attainable like this, you’re more likely to stick with it.

 

I want to keep inspiring you to continue your practice. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “The mind sits on the seat on neutrality.” 38:04

2 – “We are training in the attitude of mind called neutrality, detaching the ego from all that you’ve experienced, and breaking the chain of attachment and aversion.” 51:25

For this meditation I want you to choose something you want to manifest. I always recommend having this idea in mind before you sit down for practice so you don’t interrupt the spiritual journey, but don’t hold it so tightly that you can’t relax your mind.

 

Remember – your mind needs an anchor. Just as your body needs a seat in order to settle into this moment, so does your mind. And just as in previous practices, this anchor will be your inflowing and outgoing breath. 

 

As you focus on your breathing, pay attention to the way it feels on your upper lip, the way it flows in and out of your nostrils. If you find your mind wandering, bring it back to your breath. 

 

It’s important to use this anchor of your breath. Keep your attention focused there in order to practice the state of equanimity we’ve discussed before, but it’s interesting to note where your mind wanders during meditation.

 

Is there a pattern to your thoughts? Do you find yourself focusing on the same emotional and physical reactions?

 

All of these distractions – even something as simple as your feet falling asleep – are worth noting, especially if there is a pattern of reactivity. Acknowledge and note this discomfort, note how you want to react, and then bring your attention back to your breath.

 

This is the work we put in during meditation. We are training our minds to be neutral, to detach our ego from all that we’ve experienced, and break the chain of attachment and aversion that traps us in negative thinking patterns. 

 

This humble work of practicing holding a single point of concentration in your mind is the key to this meditative practice, and the key to unlocking the subconscious patterns we all fall victim to in our daily lives. Please find a comfortable space to sit and relax as you join me in this meditation.

 

I want to keep inspiring you to continue your practice. 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.

 

Show Notes

1 – “If we don’t accept the reality and the what is of this moment, then we are doomed to repeat over and over again whatever patterns we might be locked into.” 73:31

2 – “The reality of our spiritual journey is actually contained in thousands and thousands of micro-moments of failure, which are our true teachers.” 84:44

The important thing to understand on this spiritual journey we’re on is knowing the difference between what is real and what is imaginary.

 

If we only live in the imaginary, then we risk the spiritual practice becoming a way for us to ignore reality. On the other hand, some of us can get attached to difficult realities, which can lock us into those negative cycles of thinking. 

 

Luckily, yoga practice and meditation teach us that we are not helpless victims of the life experience.

 

We have the power to break our subconscious thinking patterns if we learn to accept our failures in the practice. It’s no secret that this spiritual journey is made up of struggles – that’s why we call it a practice, but through this practice we have the opportunity to learn.

 

One of my biggest lessons on the yoga mat was (and sometimes still is) the acceptance of failure. More than that, it’s being able to sit with this failure with a relaxed and non-judgmental attitude. 

 

For me personally, the more I expect something to work out in a particular way, the more tightly I’m wound to it, which breeds negative thoughts and judgmental behavior. Does this happen to you? 

 

If the answer is yes, realize that the brain doesn’t subconsciously know the difference between imagination and reality. The way you react to real-world stimulation is the same way you react to a visualization, and your subconscious mind will interpret it as such. 

 

It is this reaction that is the root of suffering, and I’m discussing the ways we can recognize these moments during our meditative and yoga practices so we can train our brain to understand the difference between what is imagined and what is reality.

 

Recognizing this opens up the possibility to remain neutral in the face of failure, which makes it much easier to break the unconscious patterning of the mind. I want to empower you to sit with your failure without judging yourself, and learning to recognize the difference between your reality and your imagination is a great place to start.

 

What failures have you learned to face on the yoga mat? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “Every experience in the journey of yoga is meant to mesh together and lead you into a deeper sense of self.” 10:57

2 – “When we talk about effort, we’re talking about the way that yoga is asking you to change your life.” 49:44

What does yoga represent to you? Why did you take that first step onto the yoga mat? 

 

I’ve been practicing yoga because I was looking for a more peaceful life. Now, more than twenty years later, I can confidently say that when I walk off my mat after practice I’m a little bit more peaceful, a little bit kinder. 

 

Yoga practice has the power to bring a little bit more love and peace into your life by changing the way you treat others and the way you treat yourself. One can even argue that this quest for peace is why the practice of yoga has survived for so many years. 

 

The spirituality of our yoga journey reminds us that this practice is more than just the pose. Even now, when we keep seeing perfectly photographed poses on Instagram, we have to remind ourselves that we are more than just our asana obsessions.

 

We all have our favorite poses. I’m the first to admit that I really wanted to do a headstand when I started my Ashtanga practice. But the true journey of yoga is not limited to the physical poses. The path of yoga is more spiritual and metaphysical.

 

At the core of the metaphysical practice of yoga are the five niyamas:

  1. Saucha: cleanliness and purity
  2. Santosa: contentment, acceptance, and optimism
  3. Tapas: discipline and persistence
  4. Svadhyaya: self-study and study of the sacred texts
  5. Isvarapranidhana: devotion to the higher power

 

These moral and ethical self-disciplines help yogis relate with society. Since very few of us will become monks, the niyamas can help us householder yogis balance our yoga practice with the society in which we live. 

 

As I discuss the five niyamas, you may recognize some of these from other episodes. I’ve discussed tapas many times before on this podcast, but not in the way it influences the effort the yogi dedicates to their practice. 

 

In yoga, your effort is directly related to how much yoga is asking you to change your life. These changes can manifest in many ways, from dietary changes to complete mental makeovers in your subconscious. Tapas will help you balance your discipline so you can dedicate the right kind of effort to your practice. 

 

Remember – we should have that feeling of effort or else we miss the very thing that yoga is trying to teach us.

 

The five niyamas are the substance of the lifelong journey into the spiritual practice of yoga. You will think of them every time you get on your mat, and your perspective of the niyamas will change as you evolve on this journey. 

 

Tune in now to learn how to fit the niyama into your yoga practice.

 

I want to keep inspiring you to continue your practice. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “We have this idea of artists and performers as these unstable, crazy people who live outside of society…and I really would like to challenge that notion. Stability and clarity of the mind will only help us connect more.” 17:35

2 – “I really believe that yoga is about bringing change in the world.” 38:19 

When I think about my first ever yoga class, I remember that feeling of finally being back in my body again. More than that, I finally felt comfortable in the body I was in. For Jonathan Ferrucci, his first class inspired him to wonder where his body ends and the rest of the universe begins. 

 

Jonathan is a professional pianist sharing his experience at the intersection between yoga and music. For him, these are both languages he used to find his authenticity as not only a musician but as a human being. 

 

His introduction to yoga came from his mother, but it wasn’t until he discovered the Ashtanga practice in his twenties that he started to really understand the spiritual journey of yoga.

 

The ambitious, performance-oriented side of his mind is balanced by the patience of the practice, and Jonathan shares how his yoga routine transformed into a spiritual practice through Ashtanga. 

 

Many of us can relate to Jonathan’s experience of being “outside of the body,” where our minds are constantly wandering in circles of anxiety and stress. Performing on stage can bring this anxiety to a new level, and Jonathan saw yoga as a tool that would help him return to his body. 

 

Our yoga journeys are more than a sequence of poses or routines. Yoga is a practice; it is a daily effort in being present in the moment, which forces many of us to dig deep and recognize some parts of ourselves we may have forgotten or misplaced. 

 

You cannot predict how the practice will affect you, and Jonathan shares how he was struck most by the silence and how it turned into the biggest lesson he’s learned on the yoga mat.  

 

If any of us have ever lost ourselves and are looking for a way back onto the mat, Jonathan’s story will inspire you to come back to the practice with a new perspective. You may be humbled by this new perspective, or maybe you will learn something new. 

 

Meet Jonathan at this intersection between self, yoga, and music with a special concert performance on Omstars. All charitable donations will bring music to children in disadvantaged situations. 

 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

Sometimes there are no words to describe the meditative process, and it can get in the way of our awareness and stillness of mind. Traditionally, a meditative series includes the Anapanasati, or the breathing exercises, followed by the calming of the mind, and ending with the metta practice. 

 

But if you find yourself at a loss for words, simply come back to the breath. Anapanasati is the key to cultivating the stillness of mind all yoga students seek. 

 

Allow your body to settle and relax as you bring your attention to the inflowing and outgoing breath. Notice the qualities of your breath. This sensation of your breath is the beginning of the Anapanasati training that inspires the presence of mind. 

 

Is your breath warm or cool?

 

Are you breathing fast or slow?

 

Practicing this kind of awareness is what brings you into that mindful state and grants you the ability to observe what is just as it is, without any judgment or emotional attachment. 

 

Yet, sometimes, there are no words to describe our breath, our state of being, our meditative process. There is an infinite number of qualities we can apply, and that infinity can be overwhelming. 

 

If you cannot find the words, do not force them. Instead, I invite you to observe this awareness of nothingness. It is the perfect opportunity to practice observing your reactions instead of participating in them. This is a lesson in being aware of an emotion without trying to qualify it. 

Observe that reaction with as much equanimity as possible, then return to your breathing.

 

Your breath is the single tactile sensation that can keep you grounded as you practice Anapanasati. It is the perfect opportunity to practice awareness and reach a plane of non-reactivity that you can eventually cultivate and carry with you into the complex, modern world we live in. 

 

I invite you now to join me through this meditative practice as we sharpen our minds and accept that sometimes words cannot do justice, and this awareness of mind is enough. It is enough to reach that nothingness and return to the ingoing and outgoing breath. 

 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? Send an email to info@kinoyoga.com and you could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

Through my experience on the yoga mat, I believe that every spiritual student needs to start with the kind of contemplation practices that cultivate stillness of mind. In order to liberate the mind, we need this stillness, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

 

Cultivating mindfulness – or sati – means finding a seat of awareness within you that is without judgment. The stillness breaks all the patterns of your past actions and reactions and creates a space for true growth. But to get there takes practice, and the only way to cultivate stillness is by practicing meditation and contemplation.

 

Every student on this yoga journey starts as a seeker. All of us on this path have suffered through the material world and are actively seeking to answer – what is the nature of suffering? If suffering is inevitable, is true peace possible? 

 

With sati, we can find the answer to this question. Through meditation we uncover and break down the habits of our mind that lead us through this continuous cycle of suffering. 

 

Without sati, all of those mantras we tell ourselves, all the contemplation and prayers, they can never penetrate the subconscious mind. To make a long-lasting impact on your quality of life, you must make an impact on the subconscious mind, which is the stronghold of all your past habits and patterns. But we can never get all the way through to the subconscious without a quiet mind. 

 

How do you cultivate a stillness? In five minutes.

 

Stillness doesn’t happen overnight, but training in sati can start with as few as five minutes of meditation. After twenty minutes you’ll start tapping into the stillness, and after forty minutes you can start reaching deep down to the root of your mind. 

 

The longer you sit in meditation, the harder it gets to reach the subconscious mind. It can feel strange, frightening, and it may upset you. You may feel as if you are losing your identity. But as you start to chip away at the old foundations of your subconscious to make way for the stillness we are cultivating here, you’ll find that you’ll get much farther on this journey when you have a balanced mind. 

Listen now for ways to train in sati, find equanimity, and build your spiritual yoga practice on a strong foundation of stillness that will make penetrating the root of your mind that much easier. 

 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch and tell me – what does yoga mean to you? Send an email to info@kinoyoga.com and you could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “Every student’s journey is fueled in some part by some relationship, even if the relationship is virtual or remote.” 1:14

2 – “I need the community, I need the teacher, and I need the patience and time.” 27:40

 

Every yoga student needs is a teacher. The spiritual journey of yoga should never be ventured into alone. Teachers fuel our spiritual growth on his path, but it can be hard to find a balance between learning from and over-idolizing the yoga teacher. 

 

Learning needs a balance between a healthy notion of self-worth and humility. Finding this balance is a feat we yoga students have to face more than once. Had it not been for my own yoga teachers I would not be here teaching you today, but I still had to work to find that balance. 

 

I learned to recognize teachers as imperfect and fallible human beings. You cannot put your teacher on a pedestal because no living being can be perfect. As long as you hold someone up to an unachievable standard, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 

 

Worse than that, you’re more likely to hold yourself up to these same ridiculous standards, which will only harm your spiritual growth.

 

Is it possible to avoid putting your yoga teacher on a pedestal? 

 

Yes, but it takes practice. I share stories here of my own yoga teachers to help you understand the importance of learning from a space of humility. Remember that through the yoga practice you are seeking a community with other human beings who are on this same path. When it comes to yoga teachers, they are simply farther along on this path. 

 

Think of it like this – you’re lost on a roadway with no cell service and you stop to ask for directions.

 

We are going to get lost and stumble on this yoga journey, and a yoga teacher is there to give you directions. They have the knowledge and forethought to lead you a little further, but they are not the absolute authority over your practice. 

 

Your yoga practice is the art of building a community, and any authority you give a yoga teacher undermines that sense of togetherness we are trying to build. Yoga teachers don’t need a pedestal. We want you to respect and learn from our experience and to give yourself this same level of respect.

 

Keep practicing and respect yourself for the things that you’ve learned and the work you are putting in on your own path, and I promise you will make your yoga teacher proud. 

 

I want to keep inspiring you to continue your practice. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “The more that you resist the shadow work…the longer those old habit patterns are going to stick around.” 3:33

2 – “The meditator does not withdraw from difficulty because that’s the same state of mind that runs away from pain.” 33:00

When you start this spiritual journey, you’re beginning to work with (or sometimes against) the habit patterns of the mind. We have many good habits, but some of us are battling with destructive habits that we may not even recognize in our conscious, waking lives.

When you realize you have these seeds of negativity within you, it may be hard to face. We don’t always want to look at the things we don’t like about ourselves, and you will run into obstacles like these a lot on this spiritual path of yoga.

Please don’t be discouraged. Shadow work isn’t easy, but every step you take on this spiritual path is progress, even if it feels like a step backward. There are no rules here that say your spiritual journey needs to follow a linear path, and if shadow work feels like it’s taking you two steps back, maybe that’s the point.

Shadow work is your opportunity to forgive yourself. During my meditation practices, I have invited you to recognize when your mind wanders away and how to bring it back with your breath. These little exercises in observing your breath are practice for the shadow work.

If you feel your thoughts circling around the negative habits in your mind, bring these thoughts back to your breath. You don’t need to be on the yoga mat to practice your breathing. You can take advantage of any space or opportunity to find your center and bring your mind back to your breath.

There’s no need to add more negativity. Speak kindly to yourself, observe these negative emotions, and bring your focus back to your breath. Every time your mind wanders and you forgive yourself, it is a practice in self-forgiveness that is so necessary on this journey.

Meditation brings the tool of equanimity to our yoga asana practice as well as our daily routines. It helps us face the many failures we experience on and off the mat and gives us the strength to learn from these situations without judging ourselves negatively for making a mistake.

The more you practice meditation, the more flexible your mind becomes. And a more flexible mind creates a more flexible body and a more flexible heart, which makes it easier and easier to not only come to your yoga mat every day but to also face the uphill battle that is our reality.

Please tell me what inspires you to continue practicing yoga. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “You are attracted to the goodness in yoga by the goodness that’s within yourself.” 2:32:28

2 – “Anybody who’s had a long pause from the practice of yoga knows just how hard it is to get that fire started again.” 2:40:10

It’s such a pleasure to share the yoga practice with you. I appreciate every single time you carve time out of your day to commit to the practice and join me on the yoga mat. We’ve accomplished so much, and I hope you feel this sense of gratitude for one another and this opportunity to practice.

 

Everything you’ve achieved and accomplished so far is a result of all of your efforts and dedication to the practice. Give yourself the props you deserve for coming to the mat every day. It’s your effort that keeps you moving on this path, and it’s this same effort that preserves the tradition of the practice.

 

You choose yoga (and yourself) every time you commit to your practice. Every time you sit on the mat it’s a choice you consciously make to continue this journey and live your own yoga. Like all things, the yoga practice must be nurtured. Our journey on this path is a lesson in kindling and rekindling the fire that inspired us to take up yoga in the first place. 

 

Every student that comes onto the path of yoga has the opportunity to experience real peace and real happiness, and I hope I inspire you as much as you inspire me to keep practicing. It can be hard to make this commitment, but I know we all love yoga enough to keep trying and to put our best foot forward. 

 

But sometimes, people who love yoga have a harder time loving themselves, and the practice is your opportunity to recognize your goodness. It’s also our responsibility to help others recognize that same goodness in themselves.

 

The tradition of yoga is in our hands as students. Thousands of generations of yogis have come before us, setting the groundwork and giving us a path to start on. Now, it is our turn to set the foundation for the next generation of yogis. Join me now as I discuss why it’s important to maintain your commitment to the yoga mat and what you can keep doing to kindle the fire that drives you to continue your practice and share it with others.

 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “Claim the seat of neutrality in your mind and body.” 37:58

2 – “As the mind gets more and more concentrated, the power of perception deepens, the mind sharpens and becomes precise and aware.” 38:47

 

Get situated and take a comfortable position for this meditation. Do your best to keep your posture to avoid as many distractions as possible. Without distractions, your mind can focus on your breath and you can start to cultivate the quality of concentration needed to achieve the quiet state of meditation.

 

Remember, your breath is the anchor during meditation. No matter what thoughts you have racing through your mind, acknowledge them once and let them go. Bring your attention back to the breath as it flows in and out.

 

The breath will draw your attention inward. 

 

Sometimes it can help to focus on certain points of the breath – the temperature, the speed, the way it may sound as it passes in and out of your nostrils. Focus on it, but don’t judge it. No breath is too hot or too cold, no one breathes too fast or too slow. There is no room for judgment here.

 

When you practice meditation, you are staking a claim of neutrality. You are agreeing not to pass judgment on the thoughts that pass through your mind. This is no easy feat, but this practice of neutrality is how we keep our minds steady.

 

Your breathing brings your mind back to you when it wanders. It can help to follow your breath through its entire cycle – from the first inhalation until you start to exhale, then back around again. This ongoing chain of breath after breath after breath prepares the mind and calms it for the meditative state.

 

Through your breath, you can start to tune into the neutral state of mind. This neutrality will set the foundation for the quality of concentration you need to meditate. Join me now for a lesson on breathing without judgment where you can begin to claim your seat of neutrality.

 

What lessons have you learned from meditation? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “We try to accumulate more time spent in the space between the thoughts rather than more time thinking.” 67:35

2 – “We want to tap into that moment right before you fall asleep and then see if you can maintain that.” 1:14:31

 

Many of us take up the path of yoga to heal, both physically and emotionally, and each of us should pursue the practice of seated meditation for the same reason. Because the benefits from each meditation will be immediately noticeable. You should feel better, lighter, freer, regardless of whether you were able to keep your mind focused and neutral the whole time.

 

It’s not about each little moment. The benefits of meditation come from the accumulation of all your time spent in the practice. Each hour of meditation is a practice in calming the mind. Each hour of meditation means more time spent between the thoughts rather than inside of them.

 

What we learn from yoga is that we are not our thoughts. What we learn from meditation is how to get into that space between our thoughts. That in-between state of mind – the one that almost feels like you’re about to fall asleep – is where you need to be to achieve that serenity we seek through our practice.

 

Of course, we aren’t going to master this overnight. It takes 10,000+ hours to achieve mastery, and sitting continuously for hours is more daunting than it seems. Even if you meditate for one hour every day for ten years, you’d barely be a third of the way there! 

 

But that’s not the point. The point is we keep going.

 

The journey to inner peace is slow and steady. Both yoga and meditation are lessons in patience, and through meditation, we are better equipped to face the hardest lessons on this path. Those lessons in loss and letting go are important and only get harder the farther this journey takes, and it takes a great deal of strength and patience to face them. 

 

What lessons have you faced on the yoga mat? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

 

Show Notes

1 – “Without the element of letting go, we can end up turning what is a good-hearted effort into forcefulness.” 2:35:00

2 – “We can maintain two seemingly contradictory experiences within ourselves, and we can hold that tension within our minds…and this is a statement of spiritual intelligence.” 2:41:25

 

It’s always an honor to share this space with you. You show up every day to practice and it really is an inspiration to me. I always feel better after a yoga practice, and you should, too. Regardless of what asanas you do (or not) on the mat shouldn’t impact the way you feel about your practice.

 

We all need a lesson in being a little bit nicer to ourselves. We can’t judge our success by our asana – you can succeed at yoga even if you mess up some of the poses! 

 

Failing at a pose or two doesn’t mean you are failing at yoga. The real success of the practice comes from the balance you find within yourself when you let go of all the overhanging – and sometimes unrealistic – expectations we put on ourselves.

 

I am discussing the opposing forces in yoga, and two of these forces are in our asana practice. One force – sthira – is our strength, willpower, and determination. The second, sukha, is the ease and flow of the practice, the force that represents happiness and comfort.

 

Of course, you’re probably asking yourself how can we be both? How can we be determined yet maintain a comfortable ease and flow in our yoga practice? We can’t be too strict on ourselves, but we also can’t be so lenient that we don’t complete a single pose. Finding the balance in our yoga practice is the true success we should be working toward. 

 

To find this balance, I invite you to once again try and find that state of stillness. But rather than chase the stillness of mind, ruminate on its opposite. Think of a tornado, spinning violently, destroying everything in its wake. Take this outward energy and focus it inward. Reverse the spin until it slows and eventually comes to a stop.

 

Calming the mind and stilling the storm is at the root of our yoga practice. Whether it’s the poses, the breathing, or the meditation, each is working together to achieve a calm and peaceful state of mind. Sooner or later, after much practice, it will happen. The joy in yoga is the experiences we have along this path and through the journey of the storm. 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “There is neither a right or wrong way to breathe at this moment. There is simply the observation of the breath as breath.” 6:21

2 – “By keeping the attention on the breath and remaining neutral…the chains and weight of the ego are gently stripped away.” 25:10

 

Get comfortable, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Take in the presence of this moment and join me for a traditional Anapanasati meditation. The awareness of the inflowing and outflowing breath that we focus on in this meditative practice is meant to teach your mind to relax and achieve a state of equanimity. 

 

Pure awareness doesn’t come easily, but you can make the practice easier on yourself by focusing on a tiny part of your body, such as your nostrils, your lips, or any spot where the sensation of your breath makes contact with your skin. 

 

Take this moment now to observe your breath. Observe the way it sounds and the way it feels. There is no right way or wrong way to do this, but sometimes the old habits of the mind will start to take over and pass judgment. The technique of Anapanasati is not to control or judge the breath but to simply observe. So, if you hear your mind wandering off with its typical patterns, bring your awareness back to the breath as it is.

 

We are training the mind to observe things as they are without any attachment or aversion, or any of those things that feed these habits of the mind. Remain diligent here and don’t let your mind wander off into its own thoughts too far.

 

If this becomes difficult, remember that these thought patterns are only natural. Remind yourself that your breath changes just as often as your mind and your body change. We all evolve and grow, but the only thing that can remain constant is the state of equanimity we are trying to cultivate with our meditative practice. So take a deep breath and let’s get started.

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “The more you enter the state of meditation, the easier it is for the mind to meditate.” 3:46

2 – “Meditation can open up all sorts of very intense experiences.” 11:58

I want to thank each and every one of you for showing up and getting on your mats. Whether it’s for meditation or yoga practice, it is inspiring to see so many of my fellow yogis sticking with the practice.

 

The tiny steps we all take during meditation practice can have a huge impact on the world around us. I know we can’t change the world overnight, but we can start making the positive changes within ourselves and carry them with us into the world.

 

Working on yourself is working on the world because it changes the way you interact with the world. Every time we get on the mat we are putting in the difficult work of removing the old habit patterns of the mind that breed seeds of anger, hatred, and ill will. Removing these habits from within ourselves is the only way to remove the same bad habits from the rest of the world.

 

We are each overcoming all sorts of obstacles of the mind, but the techniques we practice in meditation (like focusing on your breath) can train us in ways that have a positive impact on the world around us. For example, training our minds how not to react in anger is a benefit to everyone we interact with on a daily basis. 

 

Meditation will open you up to all sorts of experiences and ideas you never knew about yourself, but it’s important to understand that each of these experiences is fleeting. Don’t make attachments to or judgments on these interactions and experiences – simply acknowledge them and let them go. 

 

What we are practicing is a way to observe these moments as they happen, and then let them go without attributing any expectation to them. This kind of deep emotional regulation that you experience during meditation changes your brainwaves, and five minutes is all you need to start seeing a difference in your state of mind.

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “Yoga isn’t something that I’m doing externally. Yoga has been a practice that I am to embody in my daily life.” 1:30

2 – “We have to have humility in our practice, and we have to have humility as teachers.” 29:56

 

The lineage of yoga is a sacred key to our practice. Unfortunately, the way yoga is packaged up and delivered today – especially in the Western hemisphere – can have an impact on our personal and individual connections to the lineage. 

 

My guest today grew up in a Hindu household where yoga was and is an integral part of her faith. Anusha arranges her home in such a way that brings attention to the divine consciousness, and she begins every day with yoga. But she isn’t practicing asanas first thing in the morning. She wakes up early for her morning meditation, then shares her morning prayers with her son. While asana is a part of the yoga practice, it is just one element of the faith and the lineage Anusha discusses today. 

 

Anusha sits at the edge of the decolonization of yoga, a space that is uncomfortable for many of us. Yoga is very sacred to us, and it is normal to react defensively when it comes to our practice. But there are historical inaccuracies that we cannot deny, and it is our responsibility now as yoga students and as yoga teachers to create a sacred space that honors the true lineage of yoga. 

 

Decolonizing is not just a buzzword, as Anusha explains today through her work and experience teaching decolonization to the yoga community. We discuss the historical implications of colonization and how it manifests now in the modern whitewashing of history, media, and the wellness community. 

 

The whitewashing of wellness limits the education modern yogis receive. We miss out on the true essence of what the yoga scriptures are teaching us, and those students who follow after us will continue to be limited by this colonized perspective. 

 

We can use our yoga practice as a tool to dismantle and decolonize our minds, and Anusha shares the ways she and other members of the yoga community can platform minority voices and lift us up and out of the echo chamber.

 

I am personally very inspired by Anusha’s journey and her sense of responsibility to her faith and her practice. Each of us, as yoga students, has the responsibility to honor the lineage of yoga and maintain our agency as a yogi. By educating ourselves and seeking out diverse voices and perspectives, we can move away from the colonized perspective and break down any of the unconscious barriers in our own minds that could be translating into our practice. 

 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “When meditation and yoga came into the picture there was this amazing internal combustion. Everything clicked into place.” 5:32

2 – “As I’ve grown in myself and my practice…I’ve been much more confident in just embodying the optimism.” 26:23

Join me for a deep and powerful conversation with Melanie Klein. She is a mentor of mine and one of the founders of The Yoga and Body Image Coalition. She’s run the marathon of social justice work time and time again, and she has inspired me to grow as a person and as a social intellectual. 

 

The real work of social awakening goes well beyond the yoga mat. For Melanie, she started out at the intersection between social work, gender studies, and media literacy before ever taking her first Kundalini Yoga class, but that first class was a game-changer. It altered her whole perspective because she realized she wasn’t as in touch with her own body as she thought.

 

Having the intellect to deconstruct the world around you is one strength, but until you have the tools to deconstruct the way these messages live inside yourself, you aren’t reaching your full potential. Critical consciousness is key to the awareness we achieve on the yoga mat, but it’s also integral to carrying what we’ve learned on the mat into our waking world. 

 

Within the wellness in the community, we cannot talk about yoga without touching on the uncomfortable things people don’t want to talk about. But things like colonization, racism, classism, and sexism occur in this space too, and even though we seek meditation to “disconnect” in a sense, we cannot disconnect these social issues from our practice. 

 

Yoga is our space to make change and take the right action. It is a space where body acceptance can be realized, and it’s also a platform for amplifying marginalized voices. Practicing yoga strengthens our hearts so we can put in the real work – what Melanie calls “in-house shifting” – so that we can be the change we wish to see in this industry and in the world around us.

I want to keep inspiring you to continue your practice. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “The push and the pull can work together to create that place of stillness and perfect balance within ourselves.” 25:15

2 – “We have a shared heart and a shared experience that leads us to seek out something higher than us, and leads us to also become better than what we are.” 35:33

I truly love being a yoga teacher, but my most favorite space to be in is that of a yoga student. Harmony Slater is a fellow yoga teacher and forever student who continues to inspire me to learn in new and different ways. 

 

We are both practicing Ashtanga students who became yoga teachers, but that unique space where the student becomes the teacher can really change your perspective of the practice.

 

When Harmony first discovered yoga in her 20s, it was the first time she felt good inside of her own body. Many of us came to yoga to heal, whether it be physically or emotionally, and we discuss what it’s like to grow up struggling with body image and mental health. Yoga is an opportunity to feel at peace, and Harmony shares how using the practice as a spiritual tool helped her healing process. 

 

Harmony’s spiritual journey also stimulated her intellect, and she had opportunities to study in China and India. The more she learned about the intersection of philosophy and practice, the more her own perspectives were challenged. 

 

Luckily, yoga teaches us how to balance the duality of our world. The opposition of light and dark, masculine and feminine, internal and external all play together, and this is the kind of perspective Harmony brings to her practice. She describes it as bringing a kind of softness to the yoga mat that balances the inspirational flame that drives us to practice the asanas. 

 

We talk a lot about finding balance on the Yoga Inspiration Podcast, and Harmony’s upcoming workshop on OmStars dives into the goddess energy and how to balance the play of masculine and feminine in the yoga practice. I invite you all to try on a new perspective and practice yoga in a way that you may not have considered before. 

If you have an inspiring story to share, please get in touch. 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.

Show Notes

1 – “Whether the sensation is ordinary or extraordinary…it doesn’t really matter. It is merely the cultivation of the pure state of awareness, which is the foundation of sati.” 5:20

2 – “To try and hold steadfast to one experience or another sets the road for great suffering. The technique of meditation leads you out of suffering.” 27:05

Come to a comfortable seated position, and join me for a traditional Anapanasati meditation. Let your mind, body, and breath settle into this moment. You have to bring your attention inwards to start the practice of Anapanasati, and the easiest place to begin is by focusing on your breath. 

 

Pay attention to the ingoing and outgoing breath, its texture and its rhythm. No matter how it feels, sounds, tastes, or smells, simply acknowledge that your breath is moving in and out, in and out, in and out…Challenge yourself and see if you can stay with the breath for the entire length of inhalation until it falls back into exhalation.

 

If you notice your breath changes, remember it’s only natural, and try not to judge yourself. Change is the only constant thing in this universe, and even if you remain absolutely perfectly still during this meditation, your breath is still going to fluctuate. So don’t pass judgment, just acknowledge the change and bring your attention back to the breath.

 

This is the truth of the universe – we are always changing. Meditation teaches us both how to recognize this change and attempt to achieve a state of changelessness. It may take a lifetime of practice to get there, but every step on the path of yoga is a path forward. We are never perfect, only perfect students, practicing our craft and learning new things.

 

Only with continued practice can we ever hope to reach true mindfulness and break the old habits of the mind. Take this episode of Yoga Inspiration as your sign to practice today.

 

Tell me – what inspires you to practice yoga? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “You do the best honor to the lineage of yoga and meditation and the spiritual disciplines…by simply practicing.” 11:36

2 – “How can I care for this so that this sacred object makes it to the next generation intact? How can I honor those who have come before me?” 22:31

It’s time to celebrate the fact that you made time for yoga practice today! With so many distractions, it’s more important than ever to carve out time for spiritual practice, too. Take this moment now to acknowledge not only the work you’ve put in but the work of all the yogis before us. Every student of yoga and meditation owes a debt to the yogis, yoginis, swamis, sadhus, monks, nuns, renunciants, gurus and spiritual practitioners of India. 

 

None of us would be here today without our yoga teachers, mentors, and friends who helped us on this path toward spiritual awakening. And it’s our job as students to honor their memory and the teaching. We must take care of the lineage of yoga, meditation and spiritual practice that has been passed down to us. 

 

Do you remember your first yoga or meditation teacher? What about your first yoga class? While the types of yoga or meditation may differ among the myriad of lineages, all students can recognize where our path started. We are all on this path together. Teachers and students are two pieces of the whole, and the practice of teaching and the practice of learning is a cycle we all share.

 

These aren’t brand new spiritual teachings, and yoga is not something we invent, appropriate or colonize. The foundational elements of this practice must be respected and cared for. I’m sharing ways all of us, as students of yoga, can honor the practice of yoga and meditation.

 

Of course, it starts with us continuing our practice, but there are many things we can do on and off the yoga mat to humbly honor our lineage and the practitioners who have come before us. We can learn in greater depth about the origins of yoga and immerse ourselves in the traditional culture. Teachers of yoga in the contemporary Western world can do our best to include the traditional teachings, refuse requests to remove Sanskrit chanting and terms from our classes, and educate students about the history of yoga in India. 

 

We are only on this earth for a short time, and yoga and meditation help us make best use of this time. To respect the ancient teachings of yoga is a way we validate the source of our spiritual practice.

Seize this moment now to celebrate the history of yoga – and its future! What we practice today needs to be protected for the upcoming generation of yogis. Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com and share the ways you are celebrating yoga. You could be invited to a guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “We can appreciate and engage with these tools of spiritual devotion and realization without harming the culture of origin.” 32:05

2 – “Some base level of immersion within the origin culture of India could be very beneficial for yogis.”  50:22

 

Yoga is an ancient practice, passed on from teacher to student over the millennia, and the tradition of yoga is kept alive by the students, people like you and me taking time to get on the mat and practice every day.

 

The culture of yoga is essential to the student’s journey, and everyone who practices yoga is in debt of sorts to the practice itself. We owe it to ourselves and the future generation of yogis to protect and honor the culture and teachings, but while we’re practicing today in the modern world, we must do our best to respect the ancient culture of yoga and acknowledge the cultural appropriation that is happening within yoga.

 

I talk today of the most obvious cultural appropriation I’ve seen – that of namaste. This word has been appropriated across the West on t-shirts, wine glasses, used as catcalls, and to sell mimosas at brunch. This appropriation completely leaves its true meaning behind, which is dangerous for the incoming generation of yoga practitioners who may not know any better. 

 

To clarify: cultural appropriation is when the dominant group of society takes pieces from non-dominant cultures for their own use and ultimately profits from it in some way. With this in mind, I discuss the true meaning of namaste, its etymology, and how appropriation can dilute its impact on our yoga journey.

 

As students of yoga, we must strive to find a balance, educate ourselves and those around us to respect culture without appropriating it for ulterior gains. We must move into a space of knowledge and not just practice. Yoga gives us the spiritual tools to move away from ignorance and into the truth, and it is through our practice that we can not only educate ourselves by helping teach others the true roots of the culture and the practice. 

 

My advice to those of you listening and practicing now is to keep it up. Keep it up but remain humble in your practice. We are all indebted to those who practiced before us and shared their knowledge. Honor them by studying the history of yoga and meditation. Immerse yourself in the culture and learn as much as you can. It will only enhance your experience on the mat.

Send an email to info@kinoyoga.com and share what you’ve learned on the yoga mat. You could be invited to a guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast!

Show Notes

1 – “Telling the story of liberation and freedom is a way to tap into the timeline that leads you toward that actuality in your life.” 12:48

2 – “Reach beyond the known and into the feeling, the elevated emotion of a world built on the fabric of love.” 20:30

 

Welcome to Meditations for Manifesting with Kino MacGregor. This is your daily reminder to practice meditation. We will begin with a few minutes of mindfulness, focusing on the reality of our breath, and then bring our attention to a state of being beyond our breath, body, and mind. 

 

I will lead us through today’s meditation on healing and happiness, bringing your mind into a contemplative state. From here, you can start cultivating a space to process your emotions, taking the first steps toward healing. 

 

It starts by focusing on the simple reality of your breath, right down to the simplest sensation of air going in and out of your nostrils. Focusing on this minute detail brings your mind inward and creates an anchor for your mind to latch onto the next time the reality of your emotions gets the better of you. 

 

This kind of focus only gets easier with practice, so be kind to yourself during our practice. The steady pace of your breath is meant to bring your mind inward and below the frequency of your thoughts, so keep those thoughts from passing judgment on what you feel. Remember that you are not your thoughts, nor are you your emotions, and the more you practice cultivating this contemplative state of mind, the easier it will be to observe these thoughts and emotions as separate from yourself.

 

Don’t hide from any negative thoughts you may have. Be brave and accept them for what they are, but recognize that your emotional reaction to them is temporary. Whatever obstacle you are facing now, you can handle it. This space we are cultivating here, the space beyond the breath, the body, and the mind, is a space of infinite possibility. 

 

What does it feel like to be free of this personal challenge? How would it feel to solve the bigger problems in your community? Take a breath and imagine it. Breathe out. Notice how it feels to be liberated from your suffering. Hold onto it for a moment, and let that sensation plant the seeds of peace and love in your mind.

 

All it takes is five minutes of meditative practice to change the frequency of your thoughts. After a few minutes of meditation, you will notice a shift in your mind and your body. All it takes to start is a breath. Start your practice today with a meditation toward healing and happiness.

Show Notes

1 – “I think it’s important that we’re able to accept that the people we love and respect, whose opinions we value, might not always agree with us.” 8:54

2- “Be humble and step outside of your comfort zone because you’re the leader. You’re the yoga teacher.” 24:38

Today I am going to ask you to step outside the edges of your comfort zone. This is something yoga asks us to do all the time. Some of us call it “moving into the fire”, and I’m sure you recognize that sore, burning sensation that comes from the stretching and strength-building we do on the mat. 

 

In this way, yoga is very confrontational. The practice asks us to face that which we are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with and ultimately come out on the other side a little bit stronger for it. And if we’re practicing yoga regularly, many of us face this confrontation on a daily basis.

 

Stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow, both physically and emotionally. Yoga practice gives us the tools we need to step off the edge of familiarity, and I myself am still trying to learn my way around divergent points of view and opinions.

 

Ultimately, as yoga teachers, our job is to create a safe space for all members of our community, a space that breeds respect and the opportunity to communicate. At the time of this podcast, I am opening a new yoga space with gender-neutral bathrooms. Considering the new Florida state laws regarding the transgender community, I want to take this opportunity to help my fellow yoga teachers and practitioners understand how they can become more inclusive.

 

It’s important to create a space for everyone to safely explore the unfamiliar, and I share some advice that has helped me to be more welcoming and inclusive. From the language we use to the way we approach hands-on adjustments, there are opportunities everywhere. The key is communication – moving out of a space of complacency and into one of action. 

 

Asking questions is important, but so is inclusive language. For example, introducing yourself to the class and including your preferred pronouns opens the door for everyone else to feel comfortable sharing their preferred pronouns. Small steps into the unknown are sometimes all it takes to inspire others to take that step out of their own comfort zone. 

 

I share more ways yoga teachers can integrate inclusivity into their studios, with advice on consent-based adjustments, human anatomy, and making mistakes. You’re going to make a lot of mistakes as you navigate the edge of society’s comfort zone, so it’s important to remain humble. 

 

Yoga is a spiritual practice, a historically safe space that represents equity and justice for all that encourages people to become their higher selves. I am always encouraging you to take what you learn on the mat out into your world, and it’s important for yoga teachers and students alike to show up for their community and accurately represent what yoga means to us. If we aren’t using that goodness we learn in yoga, then what is the point of the practice?

Tell me – what inspires you to practice yoga? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “Not having rolemodels who were queer…I didn’t have anyone to compare myself to…and without that all I had were examples of what I was not.” 9:38

2 – “There’s a lot of people out there who are never encouraged to ask some of those fundamental questions about themselves.” 16:27

Our experiences make us who we are. The joys, the hardships, and the people we welcome into our lives along the way influence our identities and who we become. For the queer community, these experiences are an integral piece of identity. 

 

In honor of Pride Month, I invited M Camellia of Found Space Yoga to guide us through a special meditation based in identity reflection. They share their own trans experience and what it means to be non-binary in the yoga community, and I encourage you to follow this practice and come face-to-face with your own identity.

 

Some of us may have never asked ourselves these fundamental questions M asks us here. We are taught the norms and expectations of our society, but these norms stem from systems of oppression that have been in place for millennia. And while Pride is a time of celebration where we remember the lengths the queer community has taken to earn their visibility, we sometimes forget how isolating being different can be. 

 

Diversity is key to human existence. No two of us are the same, and these differences are what make our society. But that doesn’t make it any easier to face a personal identity that is different from the norms we were taught as children. Not having role models can make it even harder.

 

If this sounds similar to your experience, you are not alone. It’s important to reflect on the experiences that shaped you, and meditation can create the safe space you need  to reflect on memories without judgment.

 

Join this meditation practice now and pay attention to your breath. Note how deeply you’re breathing, the duration of each inhale and exhale, and where that breath goes when you take it into your body. Think of the identities you hold, whether they be familial or personal, and consider what they would mean if not for your relationships with other people.

 

It can take time to think on this. Let M Camellia guide you on this journey in recognizing the dualities and diversities that exist not only within us, but within our communities. 

How has yoga impacted your identity and how you see yourself? Send an email at info@kinoyoga.com and share your story with me. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “I just wanted to feel good in my body and I wanted to be at peace because it wasn’t something I had been feeling for a long time.” 6:54

2 – “I think it’s really important to have a community…and then also have safe boundaries.” 32:50

Each of us is drawn to the practice of yoga for different reasons, and our paths may not always be so linear. Marie Belle took her first yoga class in college as a sort of exploratory experience, but it wasn’t until graduate school that she sought out the yoga mat for a different reason.

 

In April 2007, a shooter took the campus of Virginia Tech hostage, killing 32 people before taking his own life. Marie Belle survived that event but was left to pick up the pieces of what came next. Although she was studying for a doctorate in psychology, there is no way to predict or prepare oneself for trauma or for the healing that comes after. Trauma can manifest in many ways, and Marie shares her experience with post-traumatic stress and the mentors who guided her along her yoga path. 

 

Taking a trauma-informed perspective to yoga practice can enhance not only the way you personally practice yoga but also in how you teach it. Marie never had any intention of becoming a yoga teacher when she took her first teaching classes. She initially took these classes to build her own practice and ultimately rebuild her relationship with herself and her body. Trauma can pull us out of our bodies, and yoga creates a safe space to bring all the pieces of yourself back together.

 

Marie takes a positive psychology approach when she discusses her own trauma, and she shares how that perspective continues to influence her yoga practice and how she teaches yoga today. Yoga showed her a different path, one of growth, acceptance, and peace. There is a way to integrate your experiences into your whole authentic self. It takes time, as all healing does, but Marie reminds us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

 

Listen now to hear more from Marie Belle, and join Marie Belle’s Handstand, Flexibility, and Recovery clinic LIVE on Omstars on July 18th at 12 pm EST. Not a member yet? Sign up now and get your free 30-day membership with code: PODCAST.

 

Remember – this month I’m challenging each of you to get upside-down! Join the Handstands for Everyone challenge from July 1st thru 31st and start practicing. And don’t forget to share your stories with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. 

 

Show Notes

1 – “Consumers are being fooled and marketed to with incredibly smart tactics and no one knows who to believe or who to trust.” 23:04

2 – “Yoga is a lifestyle. It’s everything that you do, it’s the way that you mom, it’s the way that you teach, it’s the way that you run a business.” 37:12

This interview is something special because Holly Fiske is a yogi like no other. She is a yoga teacher, movement teacher, headstand master, super mom, extreme athlete, and yoga entrepreneur. You may have seen some of her classes at OmStars, and I invite you to take advantage of her headstand lessons during the challenge this month (hint hint!). 

 

But first — I invited Holly onto the Yoga Inspiration Podcast to share her story and inspire us with the different perspectives she brings to the yoga mat. Because yoga is a business. Although some of us are not comfortable with using those terms, it’s true. There are many brands and businesses that capitalize on yoga instructors, clothing brands, and online influencers in order to meet their bottom line.

 

As a yoga teacher who also runs a business, Holly is at the front lines of yoga marketing. She’s built her sustainable fashion brand, WaHi Yoga, from the ground up, and she’s learned over the years how to balance business with spirituality. She has the experience, not only on the yoga mat but also from years in the journalism and marketing industries, but she quickly realized that many other consumers and entrepreneurs did not. Holly shares her experience as an influencer in the yoga community and discusses the challenges she faced when it came to remaining true to herself, her brand, and her yoga practice.

 

What she’s learned as a successful businesswoman in the yoga sphere is that it’s her – and other influencers’ – responsibility to have a positive impact on the community. She continues to educate consumers and she offers advice for other entrepreneurs who are looking for ways to give back, including how to rank your priorities in order to make the biggest impact in your communities.

 

But we have responsibilities as consumers too. Every time we spend money on something,  we are choosing who and what we support. It’s important to know where your money is going, and Holly shares tips that all of us can follow the next time we go shopping. 

Check out my teaching schedule, blogs, and more on Kinoyoga.com, and don’t forget to share your yoga story with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “It’s important if you’re newer to the practice to not judge yourself against people who have been practicing for a long time.” 2:21:28

2 – “There is great liberation in being willing to sit with your pain and there is a lot of misery in running from pain.” 18:13

There’s this common misconception that yoga is supposed to feel good. And it does. The practice is known to help us heal our injuries, relieve stress, and foster inner peace, but every yogi would be lying if they said yoga feels great all of the time. 

 

To be completely honest, yoga practice trains us how to become equanimous with our pain. That serene and peaceful look you see on our faces comes with years of asana practice and meditation that teaches us how to sit and truly experience our pain. Whether it’s emotional or physical, yoga gives you the tools to face pain and discomfort and accept them rather than running away. 

 

But yoga isn’t a challenge. The practice isn’t designed to make you push harder or work faster. We aren’t trying to generate more experiences of pain. Yoga is here to prepare you to overcome the pains you are currently facing. As you sit on the yoga mat, I invite you to explore these uncomfortable spaces and learn to recognize how your body reacts to negative experiences of pain, sadness, hurt, and discomfort.

 

I discuss how the asanas are designed to get you in tune with your body. From sun salutations to standing poses to the spiritual closing series, each step is there to guide you closer to inner peace. If you’re practicing inversion, this is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the benefits of shoulder and headstands and to join the July Challenge of Handstands for Everyone all this month.

 

The path won’t be easy, and many yoga students get very frustrated at how “hard” the practice can be. But instead of worrying about perfecting the asanas right off the bat, try starting with a meditation practice instead. Meditation is a way to explore discomfort without the risk of injury. You can’t run from pain when you’re in a seated, comfortable position, so if you’re new to yoga, this is an excellent place to start. 

 

Tune in now for more helpful tips for new yoga students, including yoga diets and how to practice yoga with an injury. Check out my teaching schedule, blogs, and more on Kinoyoga.com 

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “When I think of hierarchical language, there really is no reason for a lot of the words that we use in yoga class.” 3:13

2 – “As people who are active in the world – even as we’re on this yogic journey – we are still contributing to the greater society. As a yogi, it is our job to look at how we can make a difference.” 46:17

 

Is yoga just a physical thing? Is our value and our skill only limited to our physical frame? Or are we practicing to be a part of something greater than ourselves? To answer these questions and more, I invited fellow yoga teacher Shanna Small back to the show to share her perspective on our role as yogis and as yoga instructors.

 

If you follow Shanna on social media, then you know the work she is putting in to deconstruct the use of hierarchical language in the yoga classroom. She breaks down the differences between hierarchical and non-hierarchical language for us, and we discuss how this hierarchical queuing creates unnecessary stress in the yoga studio.

 

Hierarchical language can manifest in many ways. On the yoga mat, the most common instance is when you hear someone say “if you want more of a challenge, do this” or “if you’re feeling stiff today, do this”. While it may seem harmless, this kind of qualifying language inspires this idea that some poses are more important than others or, worse, that some yogis aren’t working as hard as others. 

 

You can’t tell how hard someone is working on the yoga mat just by looking at them, and as yoga teachers, it is our job to create a space where everyone can practice yoga comfortably and safely. Shanna offers tips for teachers on how to use the right words in the classroom, and we share examples of how our teachers spoke to us back in the day. Modern language has come a long way, but there are still many steps to take on this path, and sometimes a look into the past can do our perspective some good. 

 

The hierarchy Shanna is talking about is fueled by misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the ancient teachings of yoga. To overcome this, she reminds us to sit on the mat with a seeker’s mind. We aren’t here to show off what we know or out-pose someone, we are here to learn, to practice, and to become better human beings so that we can bring the goodness needed to make a positive change in this world. 

 

Learn more on my blog at Kinoyoga.com, and check out my teaching schedule so you can join me for a class. Don’t forget about the Handstands for Everyone challenge that finishes up this month. Only a few more days left to get inverted!

 

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “This vehicle of the body is a wonderful field of experience, but it is not you. There is no permanent self contained within the tissues and cells of the body.” 2:26

2 – “Life is suffering. There is suffering; we cannot escape it. How do we make peace with it?” 43:00

If you’ve ever been at the center of an emotional storm, or a storm of thoughts we can call it, then you know how real these sensations can get. Those raw feelings of pain, hurt, anger, even embarrassment are all very real emotions…but they are impermanent. As you sit here now for this meditative practice, I invite you to pay attention to your thoughts about and the way you respond to these sensations.

 

It’s hard to put yourself in danger when you’re in a comfortable, seated position on the floor, and this becomes our safe space to practice equanimity. There is no physical risk in a negative thought or a foot falling asleep or an itch on your nose from this seat. You might have the desire to move, shift your weight, or otherwise fix the discomfort – but don’t. Take advantage of this opportunity to practice neutrality. 

 

When your muscles burn or your mind aches, let it be. Recognize the sensation and let it go. Remember you are not your body, and this is your chance to practice and hone the mental peace and acuity that comes with Anapanasati

 

If the physical discomfort or emotional narration in your mind distracts you, always bring your attention back to the breath. The natural flow of your ingoing and outgoing breath will calm your mind and replace it with the peaceful neutrality that comes when you recognize that nothing is permanent, not even your breath. It leaves you as soon as it enters, only to come back again and again. 

 

No matter what emotional or physical turmoil you are facing today, your feelings are valid. Yet it makes no sense to force permanence when nature itself is inherently impermanent. You know how you feel will not last, so stand, or actually — sit comfortably with me in the open field of awareness and remember you are not permanent, your body is not permanent, so why would these emotional storms be permanent?

 

The Buddha teaches us that life is suffering, but these teachings also recognize the cause of and relief for that suffering. No matter your faith or religious beliefs, this meditation practice is meant to empower you and the way you think about your suffering. From a small cramp in yoga practice to an emotionally draining argument with a loved one, you can harness the power to calm your mind and embrace these experiences. 

 

For more information on meditation and the Buddha, check out my teaching schedule, blogs, and more on Kinoyoga.com. Or get in touch with me on Instagram @kinoyoga and @omstarsofficial

 

Don’t forget to tune in for more meditative practices at Omstars.com. Not a member yet? Get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com with code: PODCAST

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “Yoga is your practice…If you don’t work it out for yourself, we end up giving our power away.” 6:42

2 – “There is great liberation that comes from sitting with all your pain, rather than running from it.” 21:15

Meditative practice starts with the breath. We first recognize the neutrality and awareness of the touch of our breath, the way it feels in the nostrils and on our lips, and when our mind wanders we always bring it right back here. But as your practice evolves, you become aware of sensations.

 

These sensations are two-fold: those of the conscious mind and those of the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is aware of what it’s feeling. These are the pains we feel in our thighs from sitting for an hour, or those pins and needles when our feet fall asleep. But where the conscious mind ends, the unconscious mind continues to feel and carries these feelings with us into our waking life. 

 

When you feel these sensations on your yoga mat, this is when true meditation begins. This is your chance to train the power of your mind to penetrate the unconscious and explore these feelings more fully. The unconscious is where our habits are formed, and only when we can tap into that unconscious mind can we start to change those habits and redirect our thoughts.

 

We aren’t just training ourselves to become neutral to the physical pains of yoga or exercise. We are training ourselves to remain neutral amid the annoyances and inconveniences of our daily lives. We each fight battles every day – battles with ourselves, with our loved ones, even in that traffic jam on the way to work. We continue to carry the energy of these battles throughout our day, never truly letting them go, but meditation gives us the tools to start letting go.

 

Guided meditations are a great place to start, but you have to fight your own battles. Your yoga teacher can turn on a flashlight and show you the way through the tunnel, but it’s you who will have to climb your way through. Realize that your yoga teacher and everyone else on their yoga mat today have their own battles to fight, and we are all putting in the mental work to be better, stronger, and more fulfilled. 

 

Working out this yoga journey is a balance between wisdom and compassion. You need to find the right balance for you. Are you willing to take on the challenge? Try five minutes of meditation every day for a month and tell me how you feel. Maybe after one month, you can increase it to 10 minutes, or maybe you’re ready to take on a 10-day Meditation Retreat. No matter where you are on this yoga journey, I invite you to try this homework assignment and see where it leads you. 

 

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. 

 

Not quite ready yet? Check out the resources in my blog or pick a class on my teaching schedule at Kinoyoga.com. Not a member? Get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST.

Stay connected with me at @kinoyoga and @omstarsofficial.

Show Notes

1 – “So much suffering has been created by false stories…stories that we tell ourselves that create a whole spin…and then we take action based on that story we’re telling ourselves.” 8:00

2 – “If you don’t understand how to approach that difficulty with a kind heart, then we can miss the whole opportunity of the journey of yoga.” 28:18

Ashtanga yoga is more than the asanas, and it’s important to understand the method of this practice as you take this step on your yoga journey. The traditional definition of the Ashtanga method comes from Patanjali’s yoga sutras, and I’m taking a deep dive into his definition and how it applies to our yoga practice in this special episode of The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

 

The method of Ashtanga yoga is not the perfect execution of the pose. Not all of our triangle poses need to look the same, and this strict kind of discipline is actually the opposite of what Patanjali teaches us. When we first approach the yoga mat with the intention to practice Ashtanga, the first thing Patanjali promises us is suffering. 

 

You will burn through impurities with this practice, and that is the truth. But that deep burn we feel in our muscles, in our minds, in our heart’s center, is the purifying fire through which we cleanse ourselves of bad habits and negative thoughts. 

 

To be human to suffer, and yet we define ourselves by this suffering. It feeds into our habits and our egos. It creates an endless cycle of suffering. If you do not stand up for yourself and spark this flame and walk through it, the cycle will not end for you either. This flame that burns through our impurities also lights the lamp of knowledge and gives us the tools we need to overcome the obstacles set before us. 

 

That is the Ashtanga method. It can take centuries of practice to reach enlightenment, but Ashtanga provides you with the tools you need to get on the mat and keep practicing. It influences what you eat, what you think, and what you say, and Ashtanga yoga inspires you to face those thoughts head-on so you can burn through them and come out stronger on the other side. 

 

Of course, getting the discipline to practice is difficult. How do you find that perfect balance between discipline and tenderness? When is it appropriate to apply discipline? When is it appropriate to be gentle? Ashtanga allows you to work with the mind and train it to find this equilibrium within yourself. 

 

Tune in now as I discuss more about how to find this balance and check out the Ashtanga resources in my blog at Kinoyoga.com. View my teaching schedule and sign up for a class. Not a member? Get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST.

 

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. 

Stay connected with me at @kinoyoga and @omstarsofficial.

Show Notes

1 – “I do feel that this is a big lesson in acceptance and the limits of what any positive visualization can do.” 15:02

2 – “It’s your choice if you want to be vaccinated or unvaccinated, but take the precautions. It is real. This is real.” 21:00

What do you do when things don’t go your way? I’m supposed to be teaching yoga classes right now, but instead, I’m sitting in a quarantined hotel in Oslo, Norway waiting for a vaccine verification QR-code. It’s been nearly a week, but I’m optimistic and decided to present a new flavor of Yoga Inspiration for you.

 

This pandemic has not been easy for any of us. No matter if you’re quarantined at home, in a luxury hotel, or going to work every day, nothing about this situation is normal or easy. But that’s when yoga happens. Your yoga practice isn’t limited to the mat or meditation. Yoga prepares you for situations just like this one, and I know I’m not alone when it comes to the fear and frustration that’s been all too common over the past eighteen months.

 

Usually, I have a lot of time to prepare to travel abroad, but things were busy this time around. Not only did the international travel rules change just five days before my flight, but I’ve also been teaching, preparing new classes, and starting Miami Yoga Garage for my local yogis. I didn’t realize my connecting flight in France would require an EU-DCE, a digital coronavírus e-certificate that acts as translatable proof of vaccine as you travel through Europe. (It’s only required in France, but it will make international travel easier for many Americans.) I also wasn’t aware that U.S. vaccination cards are not valid in most of Europe.

 

Imagine the fear and frustration coursing through me and the families also traveling abroad as we were shuffled around the Oslo airport just to wait, the sense of impending doom as we board a bus with no idea where we’re going. Luckily, it was just a short trip to the comfortable quarantine hotel I’m speaking to you from now, but it took over eight hours to finally get here.

 

I am grateful for my yoga training. Finding a phone charger might have helped the boredom, but keeping a calm mind kept the negative thoughts from spiraling through my head. Things happen that are beyond our control, and being able to accept these upsets and continue moving forward is a strength I am grateful for. 

 

In the meantime, as I wait to teach yoga again here in Norway, I invite you to check out some classes at OmStars. Not a member? Get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. 

 

Visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com, connect with me on Instagram at @kinoyoga and @omstarsofficial, and check out the new things that are coming with @MiamiYogaGarage.

If you have an interesting experience on the yoga mat to share, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “The contrast of being in the hotel quarantine, and then going directly to Nøsen, just made the whole arrival into the Norwegian mountains even more spectacular.” 6:55

2 – “The yoga practice can really only be measured by internal metrics, the metrics of peace and tranquility and perhaps…how a yoga practitioner faces adversity.” 10:32

I am happy to say I have been tested out of quarantine and I am no longer in the quarantine hotel in Norway. I have so many people to thank for their support and help during this time, especially my friends in Oslo, the Oslo City Commune, my host in Germany, and my fellow yogis at the Nøsen Yoga Retreat Center. I would have never been able to get my digital vaccination card or expedite my test results without their insight and advice.

 

I also have so much gratitude for the support from you, my listeners, my students, and my fellow yogis. I really do rely on these positive moments in my community, and it makes up for all of the stress and negative emotions I’ve experienced over the past few days. 

 

No matter how long I’ve been practicing yoga, I have to remind myself that these kinds of moments are the true testament to the spiritual experience of yoga. No matter how much you meditate or practice the asanas, there are things beyond your control. All you can control is yourself, maintain peace of mind, and continue on the inner journey. 

 

Our anxieties and our expectations can obstruct the journey, but yoga prepares you to let go of those attachments. I don’t know how many times I visualized that QR-code, but that is not how the universe works. Somehow she knows that the stronger the attachment, the stronger the restriction, and maintaining a positive attitude throughout experiences like this is easier said than done.

 

I appreciate that yoga teaches us how to face adversity with an optimistic point of view, and I appreciate even more that I am still a yoga student at heart and still able to learn from my mistakes. This experience has been a challenge, but it has taught me more than I ever would have learned at home. Think on this as you reflect on your own practice, and always remain open to new learning experiences and opportunities to get help when you need it. 

 

Now that I have tested positive and have my digital coronavirus e-certificate, I will be traveling and teaching around Europe, through Sweden and Denmark. Keep up with me on Instagram at @kinoyoga and @omstarsofficial, and visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com.

 

Since most of us cannot practice in person, I invite you to check out some classes at OmStars. Not a member? Get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. 

If you want to share what you’ve learned on your yoga journey, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “As I want to learn more about ahimsa, then it leads me to transformative justice, and I really feel like I’m on my yogic path when I’m learning about transformative justice.” 10:29

2 – “We look at the collective understanding of how we negotiate group dynamics, and different countries are going to have different expectations and needs of a [yoga] teacher.” 33:38

Transformative justice can start on the yoga mat, but until you start practicing ahimsa in the world around you, all of this practice is for naught.

 

I have often been criticized for making yoga political, but it is impossible to be a yoga teacher today and not be socially engaged. The definition of Ashtanga yoga is changing and being an Ashtanga yogi requires more from us than daily practice. I brought Wambui back on the show to discuss more of the indigenous wisdom of our practice and how the practice of ahimsa is playing out in the world beyond the yoga mat.

 

The last time I talked to Wambui Njuguna-Räisänenin, we were discussing the cognitive dissonance of yoga and the challenges of taking what we learn on the yoga mat out into the real world. Wambui shares with us the teachers who have inspired her to take on new perspectives and apply what she’s learning through yoga to the social and cultural changes that are happening all around us. 

 

We discuss the meaning of transformative justice with lessons from Mia Mingus and examine emergent strategies and the paradox of power with lessons from adrienne maree browne

 

Being a socially engaged yoga practitioner does not mean we are walking away from yoga. As Wambui describes it, we are walking around our practice and looking for connections across different communities and circumstances. It’s how we find inspiration from new teachers and how we gain new perspectives to enhance our practice and improve the emotional and spiritual well-being of the world in our own way.

 

Wambui would like to see wellness spaces engage more in social justice and collective change and activist spaces learn to breathe deeply and practice sustainable self-care in the midst of dismantling systemic oppression. This is her definition of community care. 

 

Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen is a Kenyan-American based in Finland, passionate about making wellness through yoga and meditation seamlessly engaged in equity and justice so that more people of the global majority can live well and thrive. She holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and has appeared on Omstars, StillPoint Yoga London, and Maailmankuvalehti (Finnish publication).

 

Wambui is deeply inspired by spiritual teachers and communities that seek ways to apply the insights from our various practices and teachings to situations of social, racial, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice.

 

To learn more about Wambui and her offerings, visit wambuinjuguna.com or connect with her @wellnesswithwambui on Patreon, Youtube, and Instagram.

 

Take advantage of the resources we discussed today:

 

If you would like to see Wambui on Omstars, get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. Keep up with us online @omstarsofficial.

Keep up with me on Instagram at @kinoyoga and visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com. If you want to share what you’ve learned on your yoga journey, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “There is active [Hindu] erasure in academia, and a lot of South Asian studies hold a lot of biases…and spread such false narratives that are affecting us even to this day.” 21:39

2 – “You do have the power to drive the narrative, and if you are erasing Sanskrit [from your practice], it does percolate down back to India again.” 47:12

Take a moment to pause and think about the context through which you are practicing yoga. How long have you been practicing yoga? Do you remember where you were when you were first introduced to the practice? 

 

For many of us, myself included, we often first engage with yoga through a colonized lens. We signed up for a class at our gym or borrowed a few DVDs from a friend back in the day and never realized the spiritual experience that goes hand-and-hand with what has been marketed in the west as a fitness package.

 

But yoga is more than physical exercise. All life is yoga, and the practice of yoga is one of the major components of the Hindu faith. To remove this divine perspective is to essentially deny yourself the true practice of yoga. 

 

Hinduphobia and the erasure of the Hindu culture have been growing in the yoga community. Sushma is here on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast to describe what Hinduphobia looks like, why the roots of yoga are integral to the practice itself, and how to practice yoga respectfully in our modern, diverse world. 

 

Sushma was born and raised in India and started practicing hatha yoga when she was a kid. She moved to the U.S. nearly a decade ago to earn her Master’s and start a family. In her time here, she has witnessed the cultural intersection of Hinduism and colonized yoga firsthand. She is a primary source of the Hindu experience in the western world as someone who has re-discovered yoga on the other side of the globe where our spiritual methodology is more monotheistic and patriarchal. 

 

These religious differences are not the only areas where we see Hindu erasure in yoga. We see it manifest in language barriers and accessibility. When yoga teachers don’t know Sanskrit, they are ignoring the lineage of the practice and the decades of training that goes into becoming a true yoga guru. It’s similar to stealing knowledge without first getting to the roots of where it comes. 

 

This does not mean yoga isn’t for everyone. “All life is yoga,” Sushma says, but the practice deserves yoga students and teachers who are respectful of the history and willing to step out of their comfort zone to practice in a way that is culturally aware.

 

Sushma’s advice for contemporary yoga practitioners who want to do the right thing and practice yoga respectfully is to move forward working with your own biases, subconscious or otherwise. If you become a yoga teacher, then you are responsible for learning the roots of your practice. You deserve the experience of cultural immersion, and a trip to India to study the beginnings of the spiritual path will only help you gain a new perspective of this ancient practice.

 

Take advantage of the resources we discuss:

 

Remember, to make the effort is a sign of respect.

 

If you would like to sign up for yoga courses, get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. Keep up with us online @omstarsofficial.

 

Keep up with me on Instagram at @kinoyoga and visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com

 

If you want to share what you’ve learned on your yoga journey, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. 

Show Notes

1 – “As a community, if we didn’t come up with some kind of standards…these would eventually be imposed on us by the outside.” 14:07

2 – “Breathing is so powerful that when you start changing your habits around it, it changes your life, and it changes the way your consciousness interacts with your body.” 46:31

 

When it comes to yoga, fitness, and anatomy, Leslie Kaminoff has seen it all. Just don’t call him an expert. Because as any yoga student knows, the more you learn in this practice, the more you realize you just don’t know. 

 

Leslie started his yoga career down the street from Jane Fonda’s first fitness studios in L.A. He was working at the Sports Medicine Institute when one of the studio instructors started teaching therapeutic yoga to physical therapists at the Institute. Leslie shares what it was like to have a front-row seat for this intersection of yoga and fitness in the West.

 

He was in the right place at the right time and found himself on that first committee of the Yoga Alliance. Leslie helped set the standards that many yoga studios and health clubs use today to hire teachers and trainers. At the time, standardization was needed because the popular demand for yoga greatly outweighed the supply of experienced teachers. Today, our modern climate inspires us to ask: are hours really the way to gauge whether someone is qualified to teach yoga?

 

Leslie breaks down the Yoga Alliance origin story, how these hourly standardizations came to be, and provides a new perspective for us to see where and how these Westernized expectations surrounding yoga came about. He also speaks to the effect of yoga on physical therapy and how the yoga community responded to injuries, asanas, and the path to healing.

 

Teaching a therapeutic style of yoga that doesn’t adhere to the sometimes strict rules of the asana practice took a bit of practice itself. Leslie had to learn a new way to speak to students that encouraged them to inquire about the sensation of the practice rather than setting some expectation of the sensation. 

 

Of course, the nature of the asanas is to provide a framework for the student to see how and where their body fits into the pose. How else do you learn something new about yourself if you don’t try a new physical position or style of breathing? However, the poses often look different for each person and learning how to teach individual students rather than the perfect asana sequence was key to Leslie’s experience of becoming the therapeutic yoga teacher he is today. 

 

I am so excited to have Leslie come and teach at the Miami Life Center. Having him teach an in-person class means so much to me. We have lost so much during this pandemic, but seeing a classroom full of yoga students in person is something I miss the most. If you would like to take a class with Leslie, keep an eye out for his schedule on his website at YogaAnatomy.org.

 

If you would like to sign up for yoga courses with me, get your free 30-day membership on Omstars.com & use code: PODCAST. Keep up with us online @omstarsofficial.

 

Keep up with me on Instagram at @kinoyoga and visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com

If you want to share what you’ve learned on your yoga journey, get in touch with me at info@kinoyoga.com. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast.

Show Notes

1 – “Everybody loves connecting with friends and family on social media, especially being far away, but then there’s this notion that we have to be on…and it is hard to find that balance.” 7:11

2 – “If we only engage with accounts that make us feel comfortable, then we create an echo chamber of belief.” 17:04

 

Now that I’m back home, I’m checking in with my listeners. I really appreciate you tuning in every week, and I am happy to inspire you to get on the mat. You inspire me to keep practicing, too, and it’s been so refreshing being a student again and practicing at Miami Yoga Garage.

 

But with the latest Facebook and Instagram crash, I want to check-in and ask – what happened to you the day social media went down? 

 

Many of you have told me how refreshing it was to get away from your phones and let go of the expectation of being available at all times. It was definitely an opportunity to live in the moment and re-evaluate the ways we interact online, but how many of us fell back into the pattern of checking Facebook again as soon as it came back?

 

Social media reveals the patterns that are at work in our subconscious mind, and these patterns are born from our environment and influence the way we think and how we interact with the world. Unfortunately, when the social media algorithm is based on engagement, it seems that only the most negative stories reach the tops of our feeds. 

 

What kind of reaction does this create within us? Where you give your attention is so important, so be mindful of what kind of content is dominating your attention. Not everything works in our best interest on social media, and it’s up to us to learn how to use this tool with the right intention. 

 

Because it is an amazing tool that connects us with so many people around the globe, and when used correctly, social media can create a currency of meaning that inspires compassion and understanding. I share ways you can retool what shows up on your feed to better understand the algorithm and adjust your content accordingly. 

 

When you take a moment to consciously engage with social media, it can start to change the way you think about the world.

 

Visit my blog at Kinoyoga.com and connect with me online @kinoyoga or info@kinoyoga.com to share your thoughts on social media. Tell me a time when social media boosted your inspiration to practice or about the day you saw a post that soured your mood. You could be invited to guest spot on The Yoga Inspiration Podcast. 

 

Sign up for yoga classes online at Omstars.com and follow for news and updates @omstarsofficial.  Use code: PODCAST to get a free 30-day membership.

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