I read a letter of resignation article tonight, and it was about as mindful an exit as I could conceive. Graceful, heartfelt, and real. Re-posting it for elephant spirituality on facebook, I coined (I believe) the phrase “Anusaga”, and so I include it as part of this article, both as an attempt to generate hits, and to snatch the credit, cash and prizes that are doubtless on the way.
So who is Bryan Kest lately? Well get the 80’s videos out of your head and think rigor in practice and speach. Bryan is an ungentle, brilliant teacher who leaves you sweating from everything, and wondering how the hell you have survived this far being as shallow as you are. Well, me anyway.
Maru and I caught his class at Buddhi Mat last fall. Maru had worked with Bryan at her center and knew he rocked the house, it was a first for me. His mix of pragmatism and candor brought me up short, and when it was over, had there been one, I would’ve bought the recording. He says some cool stuff.
“If you’re in full pose you’de better not be happy about it (hanuman asana) there will come a day that you will not be able to this pose. It will happen. And youll be just as upset as you are happy now. Get off the f*cking yo-yo now!”
I’ve heard Dharma say as much. Not really, but I have heard him say one tends to lose poses over the decades., and that there is nothing we should be attached to. The yo-yo is overrated. And so is the quiet, reverential tone I often hear in yoga classes.
“Who cares if you fall? I hope you fall. I hope the whole fucking row goes down.”
Bryan does not suffer from an overabundance of tact. It is refreshing as hell. In his class, there is a notable lack of a “la la” layer. For me, this rawness strips yoga down to the essentials.
Here’s one which he said in CT, while riffing on the habit of comparing your practice with that of the people around you.
“People bring their shit to yoga, and they turn yoga into shit.”
There is something in that. Here, try three:
“Yoga doesn’t ask you to be more than you are. But it does ask you to be all that you are.”
“You are the only person that can limit yourself. You are the only person that can liberate yourself.”
“Now spread your arms like wings like condors used to do before we killed them all.”
People get put off by Bryan’s language and, um, occasionally explicit terms.
“This warmup is like yoga foreplay- and you bet your ass we are going in.”
I take to them pretty much like a duck to water. As a teacher, I lack the confidence to speak like that, in class, but it cracks me up on the mat when I hear Bryan come out with it. And don’t worry, the irreverence goes out in all directions.
“These poses are stupid, unless you do them with intelligence.”
”Why is there no machine for your rectum at Gold’s gym?”
“Any idiot can touch their nose to his shin, that doesn’t mean its good for them.”
There is a genuine liberation in Bryan’s approach. He’s not for everybody (thank God, the classes are packed to stuffing now) but he is definitely teaching mind and body awareness with humor and hard-won insight. His way is a good reminder to all of us not to take this yoga stuff too seriously. And to take it seriously. If that made any sense at all.