the yoga life, Yoga Poses
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Training with Kino: Secrets of the Sun Salutations

I recently came back from several long, but amazing days of training with Kino MacGregor. It was beyond incredible, and I am so humbled and grateful for every opportunity to deepen my practice. In addition to attending workshops with her this month, as I’ll have the oppotunity to train with her in April and May before I fly out to London in September for the 100 hour Ashtanga course with her husband and her.

spring equinox 2015

Kino is one of my personal role models, not because she’s crazy talented, an amazing business woman, and beautiful person, but because she has passionately dedicated herself to learning and sharing the message of yoga. The greatest blessing of training with her is without a doubt being able to learn more about the heart of yoga. I adore Kino; I mean, she’s my women crush any day, not just Wednesday! But I don’t want to “train with Kino”, as amazing as she is. I want to sit at the feet of someone who is a vessel for yoga and learn as much as I can with an open, humble heart. Yoga is so much more than really awesome asanas, but getting our pose on is definitely one of the fun parts. I am so grateful to learn from someone who has dedicated herself to living the yoga life and sharing wisdom with others. Ashtanga has enriched both my life and soul beyond words.

My husband won good the Spousemanship award by taking me up to Montclair, New Jersey for Kino’s workshops on Friday through Sunday. Spring Equinox didn’t get the memo that we were expecting sunshine and flowers; the weather was being a little punk and released a snow storm on the East Coast. It was a beautiful but slow drive from DC to Montclair, and my amazing husband was such a trooper the whole time. I have crazy travel lust, so I enjoy going to new places…even in the midst of a snow storm and a solar eclipse. One of the things I love about living on the East Coast is that it’s absolutely gorgeous, and the snow made the little town of Montclair look post card pretty.

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Even though I follow Kino on Instagram and often practice along with her various YouTube videos, when I actually met her, I was amazed by the quiet power that emanated from her teeny-tiny frame. You would never guess it from her pictures, but she’s incredibly petite. The other thing that was immediately clear was that she is a true master of the Ashtanga lifestyle and practice. I also realized how rare it is to truly sit at the feet of someone who is an expert in their field and learn from that person. Kino gathered us around and created an intimate circle where she could share with us. With snow falling outside, Kino shared the wisdom of her own teacher and guide, the great Sri Pattabhi Jois. I feel such deep love and gratitude for that great man, even though I’ve never met him.

Kino MacGregor

Sri Pattabhi Jois said that all the secrets of the Ashtanga practice are found in the Sun Salutations. The asanas are specifically designed to create a strong inner fire. This fire burns away the distractions and parts of us that keep us from deep peace and joy. Through our discipline and training, we learn how to tap into this fire and use it for good. As we do yoga faithfully, we’re often surprised that our bad habits often diminish or disappear entirely.

Going through each of the poses might sound easy. It. Was. Crazy. Hard. Seriously. When you focus on perfecting each pose, it’s surprising how challenging the sequences are when you’re really applying yourself. We usually miss out on the power of the sun salutations, because we’re often thinking ahead to upcoming “bigger and better poses.” There’s an important life lesson goes with this: how many of the every day important things in our life do we blow through on auto pilot as we focus on “bigger and better” things? What are we taking advantage that are the foundation of our lives or not paying attention to that actually hold together all that is sacred to us?

Next time you flow through the Sun Salutations, take time to truly be present in these poses and you’ll be amazed at the difference it will bring to your entire practice and your life off the mat as well. I’ve been amazed at the simple and yet transformative power it’s brought to my life both on and off the yoga mat. And isn’t that really why we do yoga? To experience change from within and without through the changing fires of each pose.

Stay tuned for the rest of my lessons this month with Kino! Much love and namaste!

Kino MacGregor

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