Between September 16th, 2022 and September 18th, I attended a yoga workshop with Kino Macgregor in Bree, Belgium. Yes, the Kinoyoga who always smiles in every pose while each of us are just suffering trying to get even close.
A little bit more about Kino if you are new here. She is one of the world's most famous yoga teachers, from Miami, devoted her life to yoga/ ashtanga practice. And if you know about Mysore - the home of Ashtanga, she has already made around 20 trips there in the last 20 years. She has a fantastic, skillful practice, an author of many inspiring yoga books, instagram celebrity with 1,1 mil followers and Youtuber with almost 800.000 subscribers. The workshop was organised by 'The Happy Yogi' studio (https://thehappyyogi.be/).
I never met Kino in-person before this workshop. However, by watching so many videos and listening to her podcast almost everyday, I feel like I have known her for a very long time. I admire her in many aspects, especially her refreshing energy. That's why I registered for this workshop immediately when I heard about it, even though it took more than 4 hours to get there from my home.
The workshop was organized in an indoor tennis academy as more than 100 people attended, coming from all over Belgium as well as other countries as France, Holland, Germany, etc. The worksohp consisted of five sessions, including one lead primary series. It was my 1st time joining a yoga workshop and being between more than 100 yogi’s gave an amazing energy.
Except for the lead primary class, the other 4 sessions followed a similar structure, starting with an opening chant, a few minutes of meditation, a good long-talk for almost 50’ to an hour about yoga practice and philosophy, then 1 hour or less for movements/ practice. The session would end with a closing chant.
To be honest, in the first session on Friday evening, that 1 hour talk (which I think is so familiar to her yoga inspiration podcast) was quite tiring for me (or perhaps I was just tired from travelling).. I was in the 3rd row, as a small person, I couldn't see her so I got quite lost in focus.
Thankfully, the next day I was able to move to the front row, so I could see her clearly and her 1 hour talk became amazing. She brings the philosophy of yoga from a distance to a life/practise experiment. She transforms yoga philosophy to an familiar, exciting topic whether you are a newbie or a seasoned yogi.
For the practise part, every workshop we mainly did some parts of the primary series. There was also a lot of information and practice focussing on our shoulder mobility, “armpit-bandha”, core strength, hips opening or isolating, etc.
The lead primary class was fantastic. She had a quick talk to us before starting and I remembered especially this quote
“ In the end, we are here to practice, not to perform”
This was extremely helpful to relax my mind while standing between with 100 other people there. Her guided speed is just perfect, not slow, not quick, with lots of modifications. I especially love how she always gives more time in the transition with bakasana so everyone can try or try again which rarely happens in other classes I have been in. She brings a very comfortable energy during the whole lead class, encouraging everyone in the room. However, after the workshop, some people who are still quite new to the primary series told me that she did not provide much guidance about where to gaze during a pose so they found the lead class a bit confusing. And to think back, I might agree with that...
About my impression of Kino in reality, she is exactly how you see her on Youtube or hear her on podcasts. She is down to earth, humorous, very inspiring and so humble. I was lucky enough during this workshop to have her adjust me to handstand twice and some more adjustments during the lead class. Her hands-on skill is definitely beyond amazing, every touch just right. At the end of every workshop, she patiently let you come to take pictures with her, sign her books or answer your questions in a no rush and very respectful, friendly way.
In general, I loved her workshop. I was not there to get stronger in my practice but to get inspired by practicing with her, to let yoga bring harmony to my life. This workshop gave me a lot of encouragement for my yoga trip to Mysore where I will study/practice under the guidance of Guruji Sharath Jois in November and December and at the same time reduced my anxiety about the trip as well as I started questioning myself.
There were days my body felt really tired but instead of listening to it, give it a gentle stretch, I rolled out the mat and beat myself up there in my practice. It didn't feel good. It did not feel right and I got lost in my practice too. That is why this workshop is so valuable to me at the moment as it really sets me back on the right track.
Thank you so much Kino, the inspired yoga teacher, who has lifted me up in handstand like a feather,
Photos credit: Nyah Maussen