Kinogate: snobbery & the 1% theory of Ashtanga. ~ Erica Schmidt

Via on Sep 13, 2011

 Originally published by our elephriends over at Recovering Yogi on September 7, 2011. 


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Kinogate: snobbery and the 1% theory of Ashtanga.

A little background: Kino MacGregor runs the Miami Life Centre in Miami (obvi) and teaches Ashtanga Yoga. Kino, like most American girls, had a dream: to be on Oprah. She made a video, stuck it up on YouTube, and let her freak flag fly. Then, she made a bunch more videos. In the videos, she is earnest and bubbly, preaching the gospel of “helping people believe in themselves…” one pair of short-shorts at a time. Did we mention that she lives in Miami?

Well, the holier-than-thou yoga world ain’t having it. Poor sexy Kino has been slammed all over the internet, in one blog after another. It’s a bit of an uproar. Here’s an example. Needless to say, the fact that Kino is hot is not winning her many friends. “Yoga masters” are not supposed to be hot!

Recovering Yogi contributor Erica Schmidt has this to say about Kinogate:

There has been a recent uproar of criticism of Kino MacGregor.  It seems as though Ashtangi bloggers are maxed out on their one-percent idea.  (Remember folks, ninety-nine percent practice, ONE percent theory.) One Percent.  I’m pretty sure Guruji didn’t mean for this theory to include your analysis of someone else’s short shorts.  But if we must talk about short shorts, I have a few things to say about this.  Kino has at least three reasons to wear the hot little shorts that she wears.  So here we go:  Un, deux, trios / Ekam, Dwi, Trini / Insert your favourite language, (knowing that Sanskrit is definitely the superior choice):

  1. Miami is hot.
  2. Kino’s legs are hot.
  3. It is actually much harder to perform arm balances when you’re wearing shorts and your   legs are all sweaty, so Kino is showing us how adept at the practice she is.

As everyone knows, your practice is an offering to the Supreme Divine Brahman.  If you require the traction of long lululemon pants to get into Bakasana, well, everyone knows what that says about your Supreme Divine Offering.  If you’re lucky, no obnoxious blogger will say anything about it.  I say, cosmic love to Kino MacGregor’s thighs.

The blogosphere has been particularly critical of the trailer to the TV show “The Yoga Girls of Miami” (above).  The show was supposed to delve into the inner workings of the yoga studio “Miami Life Center,” run by “yoga master” Kino MacGregor and a team of attractive and charismatic ladies.  The Highly Evolved Ashtangis of the blogosphere have accused this video of being vain, flakey, self-inflating and excessively commercial.  Certainly, the tone of the trailer isn’t as down-to-earth as Kino’s wonderful articles and the audio podcasts of her excellent workshops.  But let us remember that this sort of thing is often scripted.  That is to say, Kino is probably not a self-proclaimed “yoga master.”  And even if she is, we all know that yoga is about Loving the Self.

As my grandmother, an extremely advanced yoga practitioner, regularly repeats, “If you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will.”

So toot away, Kino.  Toot away.  In any case, I feel like Kino’s underlying intention was to attract a more diverse audience, including tweens and entirely un-spiritual people who pollute their higher selves with corrupt indulgences such as reality television.  In all honesty, I’m pretty sure that if the show hadn’t been cancelled due to the malicious online feedback, I would have watched it religiously.  I’m okay with this fact, since honesty is one of the sought-after ethical precepts of the Ashtanga Yoga system.  I’ve got it in the bag.  Thanks be to God.  And to Kino.

Harsh judgment is also being passed about Kino’s YouTube channel. Here, Kino futures enlightening videos on how to access elusive asanas such as Marychasana D, Kapotasana, Scorpion Handstand, and my personal nemesis, Karandavasana.  If Kino were truly the egomaniac that bloggers are calling her, she would demonstrate these postures on her own, inserting cocky comments about your, the viewer’s, inability to honour the supreme divine Brahman by grabbing your ankles or maintaining your uddhiyana bandha.  As it is, Kino features models of all shapes and sizes, and remains extremely light-hearted and empathetic in her explanations of each posture presented in the videos.  I’m both a yoga teacher and an Ashtanga practitioner, and to be honest once again, I find the videos to be rather useful.  Some of us don’t have the cash to fly around and follow Senior Ashtanga teachers on their international tours.  One day I hope to become an un-kept woman and meet Kino MacGregor in person.  But for now, I heart Youtube.

My one-percent theory of the day is probably up, so I won’t go on for much longer.  However, I believe that as yogis who strive toward peace and compassion, we should be as generous in our thoughts and words as Kino MacGregor is in her sharing of Ashtanga Yoga.

About Erica Schmidt

Nearly eight years ago, Erica Schmidt moved from Perth, Ontario to Montréal, Quebec in search of Jesus, her bandhas and her tailbone. Her bandhas and tailbone remain elusive; however, she did find Jesus. Although the two were married, Erica now cheats on Jesus with Ashtanga Yoga, Atwood novels, and Ovarian Kung Fu. Just recently, she relocated from Montréal to Halifax to live with a boy she met on a boat. When asked for a word she loathes and abhors, Erica responds, “Vibes. For years, I have been sending good vibes to the universe, and so far, all I have received are pubes. It’s breathtakingly disappointing.”

You can read more of Erica’s musings at exuberantbodhisattva.blogspot.com or follow her on Twitter.

About Recovering Yogi

Far from the land of meaningless manifestation, vacuous positivity, and boring yoga speak lives Recovering Yogi, the voice of the pop spirituality counterculture and an irreverent forum where yogis, ex-yogis, never-yogis, writers, and readers converge to burst the bubble of sanctimonious rhetoric. We are critical thinkers and people who just love to laugh. Visit us on our web site for some straight talk, join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter, or buy a t-shirt and support our mission.

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29 Responses to “Kinogate: snobbery & the 1% theory of Ashtanga. ~ Erica Schmidt”

  1. yogiclarebear says:

    Sandi Strong via Facebook: "I really don't know anything about this other than what the article states, but my first thought was of all those photos of men from India with their ascetic loin cloths in various poses. -I realize there is another dimension to their choice in minimal clothing, but could you imagine if a woman did that?"

  2. Just posted to Elephant main Facebook page.

  3. boodiba says:

    I have to admit I laughed over that video. It comes off like an audition for some cheesy, reality TV show. But whatever. To each their own. And while it's comforting to feel oneself superior, judging the judgers is just joining their ranks.

  4. Zach says:

    As a yoga teacher and Ashtanga lover, I thank you for this post. Limo embodies yoga more than those who trash her. Mayne if more people approached Ahstanga the way she does, I think more people would be open to try it. It’s just yoga, people.

  5. Zach says:

    Eck, Kino. Auto correct error.

  6. suzanne says:

    wow shes a great teacher whats the fuss!

  7. Dawn says:

    If the "Highly Evolved Ashtangis" were indeed highly evolved, they wouldn't be judging in the first place.

  8. Cyndi says:

    I find the yoga world to have an unwritten rule about being “pretty” &/or having a nice body. If you have either, you best keep it covered or you will receive the wrath of all those who arte jealous and have self esteem issues. And it will be dealt under the guise of “yoga isn’t about what’s on the outside, it’s what’s on the inside.”

  9. Leah says:

    Kino rules!

  10. Chandrala says:

    Just my interpretation but 99% practice would IMHO incorporate the practice of yoga theory…or putting the theory into practice, i.e. asanas, meditation, on the mat, off the mat…into the world…

    • Hi Chandrala,
      Thanks for your comment. I agree that practice is something that stems far beyond the two hours you spend on your mat each day. Take the one percent theory and put it into action. Make karma, if you will. I wonder where such articles fall on the theory-practice spectrum. ;)
      Enjoy your day and your practice, Erica. xOM.

  11. Dax says:

    Wow! Beautiful, articulate and has an obvious willingness to help people. No wonder people are hating on her. Who wouldn't? Duh.

    Just another example of how yogis, like everyone else, can be a$$holes too.

    She seems pretty cool to me. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Madelain says:

    If i had a bod like kino, I’d were shorty shorts too. Body by yoga man. Kino is gorgeous, yes… But I ‘m sure she’s just as spiritual as she needs to be as any other yogi who doesn’t where short shorts.

    Rock it Kino!

    Love’d this article.

    So disappointed with all those professed yogi’s who feel it’s their duty to criticize and judge…

    • annieory says:

      Actually love, you can wear shorty shorts anyway, especially if they are most comfortable when you practice your yoga. Anyone who notices, and thinks anything of it, should immediately get their eyes and their presence, back on their own mats. Your body is beautiful, even if it doesn't look like hers. All yogi bodies are.

  13. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  14. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  15. ashtanga chick says:

    I'd watch the show.

  16. Jean LeBlanc says:

    That wasn't very nice of those people to say those things about her.

    (Aside: Woo! Nova Scotia! Nouvelle Écosse! Acadie!)

  17. athayoganusasanam says:

    People may not like her presentation (some of her videos do seem a bit forced and the Yoga Girls video was hard not to laugh at…I'm so glad she didn't go through with the show) but that does not deligitimize the value of the content of her teaching. I have not had the privilege to study with Kino yet, but I do occasionally watch her instructional videos and read her articles. She comes across as a very smart, eloquent, open and loving teacher who is very supportive of her students. Her videos make Ashtanga accessible to more people and I commend her for that.
    Most importantly to me – She always pays humble respect to her teacher and to the tradition…..which is much more than you can say for a lot of yoga celebs out there! She honors the lineage and the practice rather than making up her own shtichk, calling it yoga and then going out and getting it trademarked like so many other big-name teachers.

  18. amanda says:

    Regarding the short shorts… When I was in Bangalore practicing Ashtanga Yoga- our teacher asked us to wear those short shorts. He said to never have the knee covered while practicing as it's harder for lotus poses and to effectively get a sense of the position of the knee. In fact, he said we were all "foolish" to be wearing long Lululemon pants as it takes away from the practice. So, good on Kino- she knows what she's doing!

  19. Kevin says:

    Leave Kino alone!
    Maybe that video wasn’t the greatest, but Kino is a wonderful Teacher and a lovely human being. Kino took the time and trouble to send me a “Get well” message when I was very sick in Hospital in January, the email arriving at 4am as the next IV Needle was being inserted, that message was just what I needed. Kino rocks & she looks great in her teeny weeny Shorts!

  20. Yogini5 says:

    Snide against the wrong people, too.

    If only I had money where my mouth is, though … think of all the potential Ashtanga students the article may put off, and you would know what I mean …

    I believe you about the assists. In a vinyasa studio, I'd had more than I bargained for of those …

  21. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

  22. yogijulian says:

    she's great – smart, sincere, and yea she has gorgeous legs – must be the devil!

  23. yogijulian says:

    she's great – smart, sincere, and yea she has great legs – must be the devil! how D A R E she? ;)

  24. Katherine says:

    I agree with pretty much what everyone else here already said.

  25. james says:

    i want to cum all over kino….m mmmmmmmmm

  26. Yogini5 says:

    Nahh, even that does not bother me. My father always used to say, "we were not formed like pennies out of a mint"

    Some look better—I mean, DIFFERENT——at 70 than I had at 20 or during that decade when I'd been at my most slender and toned, from something more suited to my body than yoga is: namely, the rapid Jane Fonda-style calisthenics of the time. Oh, did I tell you that I'm branching away from yoga these days?

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