Kino MacGregor is a Miami native who’s happiest on the beach with a fresh coconut in hand and a poet at heart…she’s also one of the world’s best-known ashtanga yoga instructors. Here, she tells OM how we should all cherish our time on the mat
How did you first get into yoga
I came to the practice of yoga out of a sincere desire to live a more peaceful life. I can look back now and see that I was searching for a way to be happy. With this seed planted in my heart, I joined a traditional ashtanga yoga class.
What inspired you in the early days
In the very beginning, I remember devouring spiritually-oriented books that helped guide my journey. While I started ashtanga yoga 20 years ago, I also began a seated meditation practice nearly that long ago as well. The books I found most inspiring were from the Buddhist meditation teachers, Pena Chodron, Suzuki Roshi and Jack Kornfield. I would recommend any sincere spiritual seeker to read their books.
What does yoga give you personally
Yoga gives me a place or refuge, a sanctuary, where I meet myself. I leave each practice with a little bit more peace to carry into my life.
Any favourite teachers or studios
I would always recommend any devoted student of ashtanga yoga to practice with my teacher R. Sharath Jois. And for anyone interested in learning meditation I always recommend signing up for a Vipassana course at dhamma.org
Describe your own teaching style
As a teacher, I am most interested in being a catalyst for the student’s awakening. I see myself as a light on the path and I consider it an honour to share the space of practice. I care about the sincerity of the student’s heart and it always excites and inspires me to see someone who truly has passion for the inner journey of awakening.
Yoga career highs so far
Whenever I get a message or speak to a student who shares how my writing and teaching has helped them through a difficult period; that something I said may have given them a bit more peace or encouragement to keep going…then I feel I’m on the right path, doing what I’m meant to be doing.
What are your plans going forward
While I practice and teach a traditional style of yoga that often has a reputation for being hard and intimidating, I’d like to make it my mission to make the tools of traditional practice accessible for all.
Your advice for new yoga teachers
Keep practicing. Continue to be a student.
Any other words of wisdom
You don’t need to win everyone over, you just need to be true in your heart to the standards of compassion and wisdom.
Tips for students new to yoga
Study more than just the poses, dig deeply within yourself. Find a teacher that inspires you and study with them as much as possible. Cherish every moment on the mat. Drop all comparison of physical form and focus on the inner experience. Look for moments of peace, love and joy because that is where the yoga is.
What do you say to those who feel they’re not able to do yoga
It can be intimidating to see all these ‘perfect ’yoga bodies in mainstream imagery. It can feel like only thin, wealthy, able-bodied people are welcome in the yoga world. But that’s not the case at all. Those images are just that - images. Yoga is a personal practice and it really is for everyone. If you feel a desire to start the practice don’t wait for a better day, just start now.
What do you do when you’re not doing yoga
I love to read, write, go for walks on the beach and snuggle with my husband.
Any tips for incorporating yoga into daily life
You are a yogi in every moment, not just when you’re on the mat. Keep a root in your inner awareness and you will find that yoga unfolds all around you. This is a spiritual path that has the chance to turn every breath into a prayer and every moment into worship. The whole world can be holy and sacred if you let the power of yoga guide you in every way.
For more information about Kino MacGregor visit: kinoyoga.com
YOGA FOR EVERYONE
Kino MacGregor is also the founder of Omstars. With over 1 million followers on Instagram and over 500,000 subscribers on YouTube and Facebook, her message of spiritual strength reaches people all over the world. To practice with Kino MacGregor online visit: omstars.com