Last weekend I attended a 3 day workshop with the yoga masters that are Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. Anybody that has even the slightest interest in yoga will know who these two yogis are. Kino, most commonly known as KinoYoga, has almost 900,000 Instagram followers and can be thanked for inventing the many yoga challenges across social networks. Tim is a 6ft something ex dancer whose humorous approach to Ashtanga will have you giggling your way towards the mat. They are the directors of the infamous Miami Life Centre and both travel the globe spreading the joy of yoga. Kino has written 3 books, 1 memoir and 2 yoga bibles (The Power of Ashtanga 1 & 2), both are students of the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois and both continue to study under the guidance of Sharath Jois.
Formalities over, I can now move on to the good stuff; what I learned whilst practicing with Kino and Tim. I think it’s quite obvious but let me start by saying both are equally amazing teacher. Both have very different teaching techniques but one is not better that the other. Both are very knowledgable and have been practicing Ashtanga for 15 plus years, both are very dedicated to their practice and the linage of Ashtanga and both are really tough! Both will make you hold Utpluthi for at least 1 minute (arms trebling!)
The workshop kicked off on Friday evening with a 2 hour class with Kino focusing on breath and bandas. This class would be the foundation to the weekend workshop and, eventually, the foundation of our yoga practices moving forward. We did a mediation which was much needed after a long week at work and then Kino taught us how to engage our bandas (yes, there was a lot of talk of our anus’, all weekend!). When you engage these bandas it locks your posture in place, it gives you a focus when the body starts to tremble and it aligns your asana. I’ve be very conscious of these bandas in my practices this week and I can say it’s made a really difference to my postures and my strength. It’s a great tool to have when things get difficult. Try engaging your butt in your next practice.
Saturday started with an introduction to Ashtanga which was essentially a full Primary series with a lot of explanations as to the hows and whys of certain asanas. This was led by Tim, who had us hold Utpluthi for 1 minute and if someone dropped we all waited until they picked themselves back up again. Tough but worth it!
This was followed by a hip openers class, led by Kino. She told us how, when she first started practising, she literally couldn’t feel her hips. At first I had no idea what she meant by this, I could feel my hips so I must be a great yogi, it wasn’t until she started giving us hip exercises that I truly understood what she meant. Yes, I knew where my hips were located but I didn’t really engage with them during rotational asanas. After taking this workshop I really feel my hips move and rotate. My Utthita Hasta Padangustasana has changed completely, I’m a lot more confident in the asana now all thanks to the teachings of Kino.
Sunday started with a full Primary series with Kino. It was tough! She started by letting us know just how tough it was going to be, she counts fast and the slow during the really difficult postures. If you fall out of a posture we aren’t moving on till you’re back in it. No water is to be drunk during practice and you must always engage your anus! She smiles throughout the practise and cracks jokes but we all know to take it seriously. I found this practise quite difficult because I was coming down with a cold and was in pain from the day before but I made it through! The room was filled with sweat and some much energy it almost vibrated. I was just amazing to practise with her.
The final session of the weekend was backbends with Tim. Now I’m quite in love with backbends so I was really excited for this session. I’d heard great things about Tim and his knowledge of back bending and he lived up to all of them. He taught us so much about the anatomy and how the pelvis works that even my sister, who despairs at backbending, was performing drop backs. The tip of the day, when it comes to your backbend, lift the pelvis up. It all starts with the pelvis! Don’t be afraid of bending backwards, it’s actually beneficial to your spine.
It really was the most amazing workshop. I came away from it with so much knowledge that I was able to take into my own practice. Not only have they both improved my practice but they have made me fall in love with yoga all over again.
If you ever get the chance to take a class with Kino or Tim grab it with both hands. Pay the money and run toward your mat and then be thankful you’ve been given such an amazing opportunity! I’m off the class now to engage my anus 🙂