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Kino MacGregor Led Primary Series in Vegas, December 2013

2 Jan

Yes, my pretties: I did it, and I lived to blog about it! My lovely sister-in-law gave me the Xmas gift that keeps on giving: a led primary series with my Miami Yoga Goddess of All Things Ashtanga and Hawaiian print, Kino MacGregor. I really wish that we could have done more of the rest of the workshop, but funds were very tight as I had to move unexpectedly at the end of the year. The most surprising things, other than the fact that I did not die or perish in flames? How incredibly tiny she is! And also how much she channels Jois in the way she teaches. She came over and said to me, “You do!” and believe me, I did. She kinda scared the crap out of me! It’s odd to hear the voice of a 90-year-old Indian man coming out of a tiny, very young woman.

As always, I enjoyed her very clear instruction and the way that she helps you to understand the asana from the inside out. Kino is just an amazing teacher, and I can’t wait to do more workshops in the future with her!

Another surprising thing about this workshop: I didn’t spend most of it body-checking everyone and obsessing about whether or not I was the fattest person in the room or not. I was too busy praying to the Dark Gods of Ashtanga, Heavy Metal and Whatever–desperate pleas that I would not embarrass myself and/or not be able to finish! My practice has been non-existent over the last 4 months, and I was dreading the ass kicking that I was sure was going to happen. I felt very proud that I finished, as I have only ever done the full primary three times. It made me realize that fear and my own doubt are my worst enemies in this practice. Kino did, in fact, say to another student, “Why fearing?”. I felt like she really meant it for me!

The benefit of having to move unexpectedly is that I now have a practice space, hell yeah! I practiced this morning, and while it was short and kind of not the greatest—it was practice. It feels good to be back in the AM Ashtanga groove again.




Yoga Hip Rotation Explained: Kino MacGregor Adjustment Workshop

6 Nov

My ongoing obsession with both my screwed-up hips and anything Kino has to teach me from afar knows no bounds! Hey, that skeleton is more flexible than I am! And it’s DEAD!

Kino MacGregor on the Yoga of Gratitude

4 Nov

A good post to start November off…I also loved seeing Kino on the beach in my home state. I miss you, South Florida!


Kino MacGregor: The Promise of Yoga

14 Oct

“There’s a certain lesson that each movement, each posture contains. The yoga practice makes a promise to you, and the promise is that you won’t be allowed to move on from your lesson until you really get it. There’s no way that you can fake that, there’s no way you can get a pass.” Ain’t that the freaking truth!

Kino MacGregor on Real Fear vs Imagined Fear in Ashtanga

18 Sep

Kino, reading my mail again. Well, not literally—but she might as well be.


Kino MacGregor on NOT Being a Dancer or a Gymnast

18 Sep

The take home message? You don’t have to be a super flexible or super athletic person to start Ashtanga yoga. You just have to do it. As Kino says, “If I can do it, you can do it!”. I always come back to the similarities between the recovery process and Ashtanga; it’s not for people who want it, it’s not for people who need it, it’s for people who do it.

In the spirit of just doing it, I took my second Intro to Ashtanga class with Julia on Sunday and it was great…except for the parts where I kept wanting to kick the dude in front of me in the freaking head. Anyone who interrupts an Ashtanga class to try to correct the teacher, does their entire own series of poses, loudly rearranges his mat during savasana or hits on new women in the class needs a kick to the head in my book. This guy did all of the above. Speaking of recovery, defects of character/hindrances anyone? Arrrrrgh! Damn you, Step 6!

This is why I like to practice in my safe Slayer yoga cave–I get all tweaky and twitchy in yoga classes. The only person I can get mad at in the Slayer Shala is ME, cuz it’s just me, my mat and Tom Araya screaming about raining blood from a lacerated sky or some other such stuff that makes me giggle. And really, this was just another instance of me being mad at myself–being mad that I am injured, being mad that I am fat, being mad that I am “old”, being mad that I am stiff, being mad that men in my past have been dicks, being mad that I am me. I don’t know this guy and I don’t know his deal or what he’s going through; it’s not my job to run things or correct his behavior. I’m getting mad at him for trying to run the class and in the meantime I’m doing the same exact thing by wanting to “run” his behavior! I crack myself up. I could feel the angry bear in me gearing up to kick some ass! I had to tell her to go chill out and take a nap or something. No mauling tourists today, no picnic baskets and no swiping in class. Got it? We are not trying for this:

courtesy of

But we are moving toward this:

That bear is definitely way more flexible than I am!

Chanting for Dummies, part one

25 Jul

I have to admit, I love me some chanting. Maybe it was all of the years in Catholic School of reciting the rosary, but I love to chant…and I love it even more when I don’t understand what I am saying. I’m surprised I haven’t been abducted by some cult already. I should be wearing white Nikes and drinking the vegan koolaid, er, wheatgrass, by now.You should see how many Ravi and Ana Kundalini yoga DVD’s I have. I might need an intervention.

So what’s a lonely, Sanskrit-dropout, home practitioner to do? Why, resort to Youtube, of course. I think it’s important to note here that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to Sanskrit. I fled from the prospect of a Master’s degree program because of the Sanskrit and Pali language requirement.  I worry constantly that I am chanting incorrectly, and I’m sure I am. If Richard Freeman gets corrected, then I shudder to think about what is coming out of my mouth. Right now I am only trying to tackle the Ashtanga opening chant and that is plenty for now.

Ashtanga Opening Mantra…and Star Wars all at the same time! Be still my nerdy heart!

Kino MacGregor Opening Ashtanga Mantra, call and response. She has a very pretty voice:

Sri K Pattabhi Jois Opening Ashtanga Mantra as well as some words of wisdom about Ashtanga. I think David Swenson is lurking in this video as well?  “Vegetable food, you take. Non-vegetable food, you not that taking.”:

Sri K Pattabhi Jois Opening Ashtanga mantra, Sanskrit on screen, call and response:

Richard Freeman chanting. I have no idea what he’s chanting, but it’s really beautiful:

More Richard Freeman—learning Pranayama chant with Sri K Pattabhi Jois:


How do you feel about the opening and closing Ashtanga mantras? Love chanting or hate it? All tips and suggestions are appreciated!


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