Confessions of a Loved & Hated Ashtangi.

Via Kino MacGregor
on Feb 5, 2013
get elephant's newsletter

kino23May12

People love and hate me. I am, after much deliberation, okay with that.

I’m a bad Ashtangi.

I wear small shorts and mascara. I’m not a natural blonde. I color my hair and blow dry it, even while in India. I’m also vain and I love beautiful and sometimes expensive things. I’ve been called an Ashtanga cheerleader, a slutty yoga teacher (I’m married), a good businesswoman (as if that’s a derogatory term for a yoga teacher) and a sell-out for fame and fortune. I’ve lost really important friendships and hurt the people I love the most through the delusion of blind ambition. I am far from perfect, most likely more flawed than most.

In the mad rush to success I have produced five Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, written two books, started a line of yoga products, filmed online yoga classes, taught in over 100 different cities all over the world, co-founded a yoga center on Miami Beach (Miami Life Center) and founded Miami Yoga Magazine. I’ve figured out how to use social media and build an online presence, dare I say my own “brand.” I tweet, blog, vlog and film for my YouTube channel.

For all these reasons I am, as Guruji used to say, a “bad lady.”

But I’m also a good Ashtangi. I practice six days a week and follow the guidelines for practice as best I can from my teachers, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath Jois in Mysore. I go back to Mysore to continue my studies and be a student at least once a year. I follow the simple vegetarian diet that my teachers recommend. I do my best to be self-reflective in everything I do, I try (not always successfully) to be a nice person all the time.

I work hard at everything I do, take nothing for granted and am above nothing. I am thankful every day for my students, both the real people in my classes and the real people watching my videos and reading my books at home. I wasn’t strong or patient when I started the practice, and yoga has taught me both strength and patience. You can only push so hard before you break—I’ve learned that all the rest of success in both yoga and life you have to receive through grace and surrender.

So maybe I’m also a little bit good.

Some people would say that what I do is all in the interest of building my own personal yoga empire, in the aggrandizement of my ego. To them I am something akin to the Kim Kardashian of the yoga world.

But to myself, I hope I’m more like Oprah Winfrey. I would love to take the message of yoga to millions of people, because I believe in the power of yoga to transform the world. Someone once asked me,

“If you knew you could reach a billion people with the message of yoga and half would hate you and half would you love you, would you still do it?”

Yes, for sure.

I honestly, perhaps naively, believe that if every person in the world practiced yoga it would be a better place. I would personally like to be a vehicle of inspiration for people to practice yoga, and if having some people hate me is a price I pay for putting my message out there, then I am strong enough to pay that price. At the same time, I admit that I am not as saintly as that sounds. I enjoy seeing myself in videos, on the covers of my books and I like seeing the results of my efforts. I also like that my husband and I can make a good living doing something we love and believe in. While I wouldn’t say that I’m proud of what I’ve done, I do feel a sense of self-confidence that comes from the real world experience of accomplishing some of my dreams.

One of the reasons that some people have taken issue with me is that they feel that the way that I put my teaching out there in the world is against the fundamentals of the Ashtanga Yoga lineage.

First of all, people don’t like the clothes I wear.  I’m not going to apologize for my choice in clothes, whether they are too small, skimpy, bright or whatever. At the risk of sounding callous and elitist, I think the discussion about telling women to cover their bodies lest they offend or stimulate someone’s sexual desire belongs to a by-gone era, not the year 2013.

gurujiThe men’s traditional yoga gear is a loin cloth that barely covers anything.

I wear short shorts, they cover everything that needs to be covered, and I honestly think people should just get over it. I’ve had numerous conversations where I explain my choice of yoga clothing to people, and I am getting exhausted by it. I’m from Miami—where it’s hot and a lot of people wear shorts and show a lot of skin.

I figured out long ago that if I wore pants I would use friction instead of core strength and that no men were wearing tights to hold themselves up in the challenging arm balances. So I made a conscious choice to wear shorts even though I slipped and fell off my arms for years. Here I go…explaining my choice in clothes again and I’m honestly sick of it! My choice is mine alone—I certainly don’t force anyone else to wear shorts.

If you don’t like shorts, don’t wear them. If you don’t like seeing my wear shorts, don’t watch. My freedom of choice is rooted in the history of women who gave their heart and soul to feminism so that I could vote, wear mini-skirts and tiny shorts, burn my bras, go to college, pursue any career that I am qualified to do, lift up into handstand and marry whomever I want freely. I will not betray the heart and soul of feminism to appease anyone’s else’s discomfort with my skin.

Second, I guess you could say that I have broken the taboo against marketing in the so-called purist world of Ashtanga Yoga.

I am a yoga teacher who is a yoga entrepreneur as well. There are benefits and disadvantages to this, depending on how you look at it. Krishnamacharya said to make yoga propaganda and get the message out there. I’ve really taken that to heart.

My teacher, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, also said, much to the contrary, that we should not make yoga an advertisement, that the teaching itself will bring the students. Guruji would also get really excited when there were hundreds of students in Mysore or on his world tours. Whenever he asked me asked me how many students I taught in my classes he would also be so happy to hear that the numbers were growing. In my experience, Guruji loved the idea of Ashtanga Yoga reaching more and more people all over the world. I’ve taken the mission to bring Ashtanga Yoga to people all over the world to heart.

So where do I fit in to the traditional Ashtanga Yoga lineage? I guess that’s the question I am seeking to offer up for discussion here.

Let me say that I have the utmost respect for teachers who teach an under-the-radar Mysore program early in the morning with little advertising and get their students through the power of their own dedication and word of mouth. You rock! I love each of you for your humility, your quiet strength and the un-sung heroism of your work.

I, however, am not one of you. It’s not my path. It’s not that I want more, I want different. I want to be the ambassador of yoga in the “public” sphere. I want to share the message of yoga, authentic real, lineage based yoga, with as many people as possible. I want to be a bridge between the average person and the authentic experience that I’ve known in India with my teachers and the Ashtanga Yoga method.

I want to inspire people to find their yoga path, the inner devotion and the spiritual lineage.

Padmasana Kino yoga oprah tvI do not care if they ultimately choose me as their teacher or not. I would be honored if a person that I inspired practices Ashtanga Yoga with me, goes to Mysore and develops a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice for the rest of their life. But I would also be honored if a person that I inspired develops a daily meditation practice or a daily yoga practice following another lineage.

My work in the “public” sector is perhaps the biggest sticking point between me and the more traditional teachers of Ashtanga Yoga. Guruji taught in relative obscurity for the majority of his life, waiting patiently for the yoga that he believed in to attract students. In some ways he waited his whole life for his dream to come to fruition.

The lesson that I take from this is to never give up on your dreams, to work for them patiently even if the results are not immediately evident. The lesson some of my colleagues take from this is that the correct way to teach is exactly how Guruji did in the old days. With the steady humility of reaching one student at a time, these traditional teachers aim to emulate the exact methodology of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. They ask the question, why is it necessary to spread the message of Ashtanga Yoga Oprah-style? Why not just be humble, and teach whoever shows up?

The only thing that I can really say is that each person must choose their own path and learn the lessons that life presents to them. You cannot choose for another person, nor beat anyone into submission to your views. We are all free to live and let live, to find and discover our destiny and live out our dharma in the world. I remember feeling lost in my early twenties before I really discovered Ashtanga Yoga.

I prayed that I would be guided to find the one thing that God put me on this Earth to do and then I would do it with all my heart. With the message of Ashtanga Yoga, I feel that I have found this mission. My dharma, my path is mine alone and I may need to accept that it is a non-traditional approach to Ashtanga Yoga. While I seek to honor my teachers and the tradition I seek to do it in the spirit of what I believe the tradition to be, rather than the letter or dogma of the tradition. Just like for some people it would not feel right to make YouTube videos, yoga DVDs or offer classes online, it is not right for me to sit silently by while other voices carry the message of yoga to the world.

kino2One point worth making is that the message is going to get out there. There are many other yoga teachers on YouTube, creating DVDs and offering online classes. In fact some of the Ashtanga Yoga teachers who appear on YouTube have not been to Mysore to study with Guruji or Sharath. There are yet still more teachers online who eschew tradition all together and present yoga as a glorified stretching and fitness routine.

I see myself as a link between the pop culture of yoga and the more traditional lineage based spiritual practice.

Many feel that I am harming the tradition by providing the teaching of Ashtanga Yoga to the people via books and electronic media. I agree that it is best to learn directly from a teacher, one on one. Not everyone has the time, financial resources or access to a teacher. I intend my videos and writing to be a source of inspiration for new students, to be a reference manual for existing students and to be a teaching resource for those without a teacher.

Whenever I am learning something new in the yoga practice I use all available resources. I Google, YouTube, read anatomy, study movement mechanics and dissect the psycho-spiritual-emotional components of the posture. Rather than be without information I want more of it. I seek to contribute to the information publicly and readily available in the world of yoga. In the freedom of the information available on the internet I do not believe it is possible or really relevant to hold precious things hostage. Give them freely and they will grow, share your heart and it will expand. In this vein I share my work in the public sphere. I get enough feedback from people all over the world who use my videos as a resource to know that they are doing more good than harm in the world.

I’ve been saddened recently by the realization that some of my colleagues in Mysore prefer not to associated with me.

This came crashing down into my field of awareness because of people’s objections to being part of the video on my YouTube channel about Mysore:

People are upset that I did not ask their permission prior to using the extra footage from the Mysore Magic film shoot.

I should have asked their permission directly and I am sorry that I didn’t! It honestly did not cross my mind, and I can see that it is my own naivete to think that people would not mind. I wish that people would have contacted me directly with their concerns, but I understand it’s harder to confront someone with negative feedback.

For the record, I am open to any negative feedback anyone wishes to share with me.

It would help me grow and I am definitely learning from this experience on many levels. I had no idea that the people that I practice with in Mysore who are friendly with me post-practice hold such strong negative views of my teaching and presence in the world. I have read the negative blogs complaining about my shorts, my Youtube videos, and generally me but I just didn’t think that it was from people I shared practice space with in Mysore.

That limited view is just another reflection of my own naivete. I am currently considering what action to take, e.g., contacting each individual person in the video directly and apologizing/asking permission, whether to take the video down or leave it up and of course speaking with Sharath next week when I am in Mysore. I honestly love the video as a link and inspiration for people who may be inspired by my teaching and presence to find their way to the power and magic of Mysore.

My hope is that we can reach a peaceful resolution where the video is okayed to stay available on YouTube. I hope that I’m not being naive about that, too!

Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga with Kino and Tim at Koh Samui
Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga with Kino and Tim at Koh Samui

One of the most controversial things that I want to do in the yoga world is take the message of yoga to a wider audience through television and video. That desire definitely pushes people’s buttons. My YouTube channel has reached more than 6 million views in a little over a year and a half. I hope it’s the start of the actualization of my dream to take yoga to more people through the vehicle of video.

A little over a year ago I was in NYC meeting with some television executives about my ideas for a TV project and I dropped in to practice with Eddie Stern. When we were chatting after practice he asked me what I was doing in New York. I was more than nervous to say that I was shopping around an idea to take the yoga lifestyle to television. But his response was liberating.

He said, “Someone is going to do it, and it’s better that it’s you.” You can be sure of one thing: I will work tirelessly to be sure that it is me, not just for the fame and fortune, but also (perhaps most importantly) to be sure that the lineage of yoga is represented authentically.

 

Kino MacGregor’s next book, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, is set to come out in the spring of 2013 from Shambhala Publications.

 

Like elephant Ashtanga on Facebook.

Ed: Kate Bartolotta

150,628 views

About Kino MacGregor

Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of four books, producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center, co-fouder of Yoga Challenge and OmStars. Kino’s dharma is to help people experience the limitless potential of the human spirit through the inner tradition of yoga. She is one of the few people in the world of yoga to embrace both the traditional teaching of India’s historic past and the popular contemporary social media channels. You can find her teaching classes and workshops all over the world and on Kino Yoga Instagram with over one million followers and on Kino Yoga YouTube channel with over 100 million views. With more than 17 years of experience in Ashtanga Yoga, she is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and practice into the Fifth Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Practice with Kino online at OmStars.

Comments

216 Responses to “Confessions of a Loved & Hated Ashtangi.”

  1. chad lowe says:

    love you and your videos..

    And the fact is that you can get sued. And considering that you are a 'brand', and you own a business, it can be for a lot of money.
    http://www.webvideozone.com/public/88.cfm http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html

    Pulling the video or not for you does not have to be an ethical decision. If you don't it can get really expensive!

  2. rabbit says:

    Well …. Lots of advanced teachers don't spread themselves all over the net and have a much more modest way of being. Kino may be lovely but she is also narcissistic and highly ambitious.
    Perhaps its the 'I want it all' attitude people don't like? I am really very spiritual but why can't I be a rampant capitalist and self publicist as well?
    Sure, you can do yoga in hot pants, that's your choice but when you do you will find your very public clips followed by lots of offers to 'jizz on your feet' etc, which perhaps, just perhaps
    , would not have pleased PJ or even some other teachers who do not rabidly promote themselves as a brand.
    If as you say these are you being a 'bad lady' then tone it down a bit? So you practice six times a week … Well sorry … So what?
    And if people are upset with you then why do this publicly AND repost the video?

  3. Purusha says:

    Great that you are having so much positive response and I agree with most of this stuff as well, so won't repeat. Just one thing however, at one point you mention that you don't mind whether people who you attract the attention of come to your yoga classes or anyone elses, which is highly admirable. If that is the case, why not post video clips of other teachers on your wall, blog, site etc. They seem to be only clips of yourself.

  4. Michaela says:

    I have been so inspired by Kinos dvds and youtube videos. I find her instructions helpful and hope in her positive attitude. I taught my first vinyasa class today and if I am so fortunate as to pass anything on to others I owe it all to teachers such as Kino. Namaste and thank you for being YOU.

  5. Thomas Saunders says:

    Kino – you're awesome. Dont change, dont apologise. Be happy. You give so much.

    We love you.

  6. Antranik says:

    Kino, I am from California and you are inspirational as fuck. I don't give a shit that you wear shorts. All your videos are awe-inspiring. I've been trying for months just to nail the "down-dog float to press-to-handstand" and I'm almost there. It's all thanks to you. People who hate you can go fuck themselves. I, too, am an entrepreneur and the only thing that drives me is my own ambition to HELP others and TEACH others. You say you aren't proud of your accomplishments, but fuck that, BE PROUD because you are doing amazing girl. Much love. I say rep you and esther ekhart on my website at http://www.antranik.org because your dedication and commitment is very genuine.

  7. Michelle Marchildon says:

    I am with you, Kino. You are an inspiration.

  8. Kev Ollier says:

    I've only just come across this post.
    Yoga on TV?
    If TV had been around in India at the time of Patanjali, he would have had his own channel and Buddha would have been on channel 0 live from 'the tree' and their teachings would have spread around the world and we may have avoided so much shit. But they didn't have TV then – but we do now – and it's quite unbelievable that yoga is not on it and at least daily.
    I agree 100% with all you say – and this anti-money thing or money and yoga not going together is poppycock.
    All that money does to a person is exaggerate their true self so a kind and generous person will be even kinder whereas as asshole who gets more money just becomes a bigger asshole.
    People want to know about or know more about yoga.
    I wrote a post to my blog at http://kevollier.com/ about my attending one of your workshops in London, England and it is the all time number 1 post at my blog and has been for 7 months! – and my blog isn't all about yoga
    – so anyway GO Kino! 🙂

  9. RAS says:

    Does anyone know how many times Kino wrote 'I'?

    My calculator burst into flames when trying to add them up.

    Talk about self-obsession.

  10. Casey says:

    Thanks!

  11. kirstan says:

    I just read this, stumbled upon it trying to find a vid of you practicing padmasana and tolasana (b/c it's KILLING me right now to not be able to do them RIGHT NOW). I find your teaching refreshing, inspirational, fun, vibrant, humble, and stirring all at the same time. I love that you come to your students open and honest and caring and it comes across in your teachings on vid. I'm 45, started yoga a couple years ago, am amazed at the calmness it's given me. I started a regular practice the day after my mom died b/c I didn't know what else to do and couldn't stop my spinning head. I watch your vids, perhaps, a bit obsessively so I can break it all down to build the poses. I look forward to being able to come to a workshop. Mostly, right off, I wanted the solitude yoga practice offers and hoped like hell to find serenity. I was surprised to find both and a sense of community. At least mostly. What I loved after a personal journey of 100 days of yoga, were the shoulders, abs, legs, sense of accomplishment and, yes, even a peacefulness I hadn't had in years. I'm a selfish yogi. I work my ass off at work and during practice, it's MINE. I love the people I practice with and that there isn't embarrassment or judging in my vinyasa studios. Because I watch/practice your videos, I finally decided to throw myself to the world of mysore style and find ashtanga studio to progress further. I don't think i would have without watching your videos and learning the subtlety, fluidity, peacefulness of an authentic practice. Thank you for that, really.

    I think the shorts and brightness of the clothes are fabulous. Isn't yoga about having brightness in spirit? Well, then, who's to say we can't have it in our clothes, too? Maybe they're just jealous. It doesn't matter, you do what you do and you do it really well. Much appreciated! Kirstan

  12. souljourney says:

    you can only be the best you you can be. Keep up the great work. love this blog and youtube channel. peace and love~soul journey

  13. Don Fleming says:

    Kino, I have never met you but I am aware of you as a member of the worldwide ashtanga family. I believe that there is as many types of yoga as there are people in the world, each one of us practices in our own way and some spread the word of yoga differently than others. There is no wrong way to practice yoga as such. Tradition is not rigid, after all everything had to start from somewhere, so what might be called tradition today was possibly controversial when it was first started. When Krishnamacharya first started teaching westerners, he was considered to be breaking with tradition, if he hadn’t, would any of us today know about yoga!! So for what my opinion is worth, keep doing what feels right to you and let others worry about themselves. There is a saying I was raised with that seems to be perfect to finish my comments with, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Namaste Kino.

  14. Thea says:

    Simply love you for EVERYTHING that you are 🙂 (I could write a lot more but that pretty much sums it up!!) Shine on!!

  15. seema says:

    First off, I'm an Indian and a woman. My grandfather practised twice a day, every day – just to stay alive. So yoga is theoretically in my blood. Any comment as to your clothing choice is insane. No one can do advanced postures wearing a lot of clothing. Secondly, as a teacher, how can your students understand what you are expecting them to do without being able to see your body and mimic the action?
    I don't know you but everyone that has met you where I practice has nothing but positive things to say about you. People should pay more attention to their small minds than your small shorts.
    Lastly, stop your explanations and apologies. Any effort to react takes away your ability to act and you have far too much to do educating people about their physical practice. Maybe you pissed some people off by doing something they didn't like in hindsight – well unless you intended to hurt or exploit them, welcome to the world of people. There are only two times that you will be criticized (1) when you are doing something wrong (2) when you are doing something right.

  16. Frances Mary says:

    Reading your post, I really feel what you have been through and I salute you for standing up for your own beliefs and values in this situation. What a difficult thing it is, to stand in your power and for what you believe in, when others are being so judgmental and critical. You are quite right, it is your choice, your body and you have every right to wear whatever you choose to without having to face criticism. Also, people get so stuck in their ideas of right and wrong, that there is no flexibility in their thinking and so they project outside of themselves and are critical towards others who are doing what they unconsciously wish they had the courage to do! Over time, traditions naturally develop and change, and there will be resistance to this, but things cannot stay the same forever. People are cautious of new technology and new ways of doing things. It is important to live the life you love, and to honor your choices and honor other people's, and so yes it may have been a good idea to ask others if they minded being filmed and respect their choices too, but you were naive to this and are willing to look at yourself and apologize. Thank you for your post, it is great to find like minded, inspiring women with pioneering spirits. I am glad that you have chosen to acknowledge and accept that not everyone likes what you are doing, and yet are willing to carry on anyway and live out your dreams! Best of luck, I will look out for your videos on youtube!

  17. Tejpal says:

    Watched you both on elephantjournal and web. you are fabulous, CERTAINLY NOT SLUTTY. Jois School is world fame one like the Pune one. __Your body postures are well done, easy to confuse anyone in its simplicity in its complexity. Wonderful, God bless you. __If you find it anyway helpful, kindly visit http://opsudrania.blogspot.com/ for some theoretical details. It is freely available and I did it free for all to benefit in my Indian generosity in the interest of humanity.

  18. Neha says:

    Lets just say that after a longgggg practice of Sivananda yoga, i managed a half lotus after watching your You Tube post! Now I gently get into half lotus first thing in the morning for my Pranayam practice.

    Keep up the brilliant work…OM TAT SAT!

    Neha

  19. Zdenka says:

    Kino, I am very new to yoga and watched some of your explanatory videos. They are very helpful and I think you do the right thing to present yoga the way you do, I meant the way to present yoga to people. I tried to follow your explanations and it helped to understand better. Thank you very much.

  20. Matylda says:

    Hello,
    Thank you Kino for a lovely letter. One thing WELL DONE GIRL!!!
    I am a new yogi and been practising yoga for an about a year…
    Your YouTube movies inspired me and I think movie about Mysore was great.
    I am absolutely shocked that anyone said some bad things about you ( I dont know you really… ) but commenting on your shorts or blonde hair its absolutely sick and all those people need to grow up.
    For me you are doing great job. I learned a lot from you and THANK you that you are.
    Whatever we do we always find people how will like us or not… but our lifes is not really to pleased everyone because that is not possible.
    I am just wondering …. why other yogi are so afraid of you… what do they have to hide? Ashtanga yoga is great…. how will I found it if u won’t be on YouTube or Google ?

    Thank you for post
    Well DONE
    and see u soon…
    xxx

  21. phwaap says:

    These yogis aren't very advanced then, are they?

  22. Susan Smeltzer says:

    I love you, your clothes, your sincerity, your passion, your knowledge, and your generosity. I would consider it a privilege to be in a class with you, and have my butt in the air in a video of a yoga class that was going to be shown around the world to inspire others to investigate yoga.

    You rock. If those colleagues don't want to play with you, there are millions of others who do. 🙂

  23. Cristina says:

    Kino you are awesome and I can't wait to see you in Amsterdam!

  24. I am also convinced that Yoga will make the world a better place to live.
    And I hope and pray that many many women find the courage to be like you, Kino.
    Because if they do this world wiil be a better place too. Skin is divine. It's time for FreedOM.
    You are an IN-SPIR(I)aTion!
    So- Rock on!

  25. Perri wiggins says:

    Kino, you are inspirational! I love your videos. I purchased your book and am reading that along with light on the yoga sutras and yoga mala. I just finished ligjt on life. I’m taking it easy as a hamstring strain heals (I’m 55 but in super shape & was a gymnast when younger!). I ‘d love to take teacher training from you someday. Can’t wait for your next mantra album!!! I love your shorts & I think it’s encouraging to see your muscles and movement rather than pants. Thank you!

  26. Tara says:

    Kino, rock on! Not only are you a wealth of inspiration and valued information/teachings….but your spirit shines. Don't let the ego of others dim your light.

  27. Bop says:

    you go girl!

  28. tatiana says:

    You just rock Kino! I admire your self confidence and the way you are able to bring an old and wise practice to the nowadays world and the nowadays people that is simply different than before! Is just perfect! I can’t way to see the yoga life style on TV! Make a reality! That would be very very nice! So they can see how you are a real yogi in all its word 😉

  29. Christopher says:

    We love you, Kino. You are a teacher to be loved and shared. Keep up the good work!

  30. Vengki says:

    You do well in your part and the people like the way you’re. Guruji may bless you lady

  31. Inês says:

    Well, I think you are amazing just the way you are. And no way you could please everybody…but you are doing a nice job 🙂

  32. Naheed says:

    Oh Kino, you won't believe but at the moment whatever I am advancing in my yoga practice is just because of you. I started watching your videos on Youtube around in June and have been continuing since then. It is my dream to practice and learn yoga from Maysore but my financial circumstances don't allow me and honestly, your videos have been of great help and now I wish that once I would love to learn yoga from you as my guru. I also find your yoga clothes great and those who have problem with them is their choice. Fro yoga one's clarity matters the most.

  33. Catherine says:

    Kino, you are amazing. Thank you for writing this and thank you for your openness and honesty, and your dedication to Ashtanga! You have changed my practice, my teaching, and are a constant inspiration to me as a lifelong student of yoga. There will always be naysayers, especially the wider your reach, but please continue to do what you do anyway. Among the yoga teachers out there in the public sphere–along all lineages–I feel you are one of the most humble and genuine. Namaste! <3

  34. This article makes you respect you more than I did before. You are a true inspiration to our practice! I like nice things and making some money too. So what, you are awesome and loved!

  35. Lisa says:

    BRAVO FOR KINO!!! (Even though I am a little jealous of how great you look in your shorts;)
    Keep the message going!!!

  36. Kino,

    The best part is you even help people in a subtle world.

    This body is not yours nor are you of the body;

    The body is composed of fire,water,Air,earth&ether & to these elements it will return & merge. Those who know the support of God are forever from Fear, Worry & Sorrow. So, whatever you do, dedicate it to God, & experience the eternal joy of life. – Bhagavad Gita. Namaste from India

  37. Frédie says:

    Well, you just did it!!! I am one of those teachers that practice quietly in the dark. I am from another tradition, but because of how candide and authentic you speak about your practice, I will go and check you out. And maybe Ashtanga, that has never attracted me before, maybe you will be my door to this practice. Maybe not, but you have inspired me to be more commited and have faith. This is a blessing! 😉 thank you!

  38. chezron says:

    I love you Kino! You are an inspiration to me as a yoga instructor and as a person. I love how you are following your own voice and mission. I feel in my heart that you come from the best possible place. When I am trying something new in yoga I always find that your YouTube videos are the strongest reference for me. I cherish them–and you! Keep up your work on this earth.

  39. sabine says:

    Hi Kino:
    Being a yoga practitioner and teacher also for 20 years, I can honestly say I've never heard of you until I saw this article.
    And I'm sure you've never heard of me.
    We all teach and learn in our own circles and do our best to share our love of Yoga with those we are able to touch.
    Social media is great but leaves you vulnerable to too many thoughtless comments and attacks.
    Unplug and just live your Yoga. Practice and teach for yourself and the love of Yoga and the rest is not that important.
    Peace.

  40. chelsea says:

    i was wondering why you wear make-up and dye your hair?

    part of my practice has been a huge realization that i have been influenced so heavily by a western ideal of beauty that i hate my body and the way i look. i dont wear make up anymore, but some days i really hate my body. i dont know how to feel about make up, and i was wondering if we could talk about it some time. thanks

  41. Kino!!! Love the honesty. And I love your shorts. I want some. I was practicing yesterday and had to change out of pants because they were actually more slippery than my arms (I wasn't doing hot yoga, just playing around at home). In my opinion, you are providing a more modern approach, bringing your practice to a much greater audience. I think this is important as reaching people these days is so much easier using modern technology. I think it can only help spread the message and the traditional style of Ashtanga. I love all of your videos, you are so helpful and amazing. I'd love to take one of your classes so I just signed up for some of your online stuff. Will buy the DVDs soon too. You are actually the reason I started practicing much more than I was. Your videos on social media are so inspiring and I've found that learning more advanced technique is hard to do at my local studios and the gym, so I am thankful to have found you (earlier in 2013). Keep it up. I often talk about what a genius you are, being both a fantastic yogi and a super smart business person. XOXO

  42. Jenny says:

    Kino, it's true that you are a master marketer and perhaps you are that at the cost of being a master teacher. I was at your retreat in Goa in 2014 and was very disheartened to see that you rarely made eye contact with your students in favour to vlog, blog, tweet, vine, whatever. Rarely did you lead a workshop and you were more interested in snapping photos or What A Great Retreat This Is for Instagram than actually BEING PRESENT and teaching the people who'd travelled far and wide to study with you.

    Be a marketer, or be a teacher. Clearly trying to do both isn't working.

    It's very uncool to be snapping photos during Mysore practice. I did not fly half way around the world and pay thousands of dollars to be part of your Look At Me Campaign. Next time, ask permission.

  43. YogiHopeful says:

    I'm a yoga student – not yet formally devoted to any teacher – but I know yoga well enough to see that it allows me to align with Universal consciouness/God/creative force (whatever you choose to call it), which helps me create and respond to stimulus with mindblowing clarity and ease.THIS is what matters!! Yoga can wake us up!! I respect you for keeping the traditional knowledge alive with such passion.
    The judgements about your shorts and looks are ego-driven and the critics need to revisit the definitions for compassion and unconditional love. Please keep spreading your message about the tranformative power of yoga. it's beautiful to watch and has inspired me greatly. Despite what critics say, you're very sincere and your purpose is clear. PLEASE stop reading the bad press, it'll just cause you inner resistence. Follow your instincts to wherever you feel you are called. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  44. Rivka says:

    Namaste to you Kino. You are such an inspiration to me and many others. You do everything with such light and love! Keep inspiring and being yourself, the people who “hate” you or disagree with you are only that way because of some inner problem in their soul. You are the Oprah of Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga <3

    Thank you for sharing. Sending light and love to! Xoxo

    -Rivka

  45. Matt says:

    Hi Kino, I was wondering how you have such a tight lotus pose. can you tell me how my lotus can get tighter each day I practice lotus? thank you

    Regards, Matt

  46. Tracie says:

    Kino reading this blog was really heartfelt and a bit sad. It's sad that we as people expect other people to fit into a mold of what we like for them instead of what they like or want for themselves. Doing Yoga for me from other people view is a bit tabo I suppose. I am a mixed raced women who live in a small town in Georgia. Where the blacks act really black and the whites or just as Southern. I don't fit in to any mold and the things that interest me. I had a lot of hurt in my life and for years I didn't know myself. Through Yoga I learned about me (who is most important). To mention your hair and eye make. You rock what makes Kino happiest. Heck I have very curly hair with blonde highlights. And if one more white person ask me if my hair is hot Im going to scream or if they can touch it. I don't look like a traditional yoga student but how does one look exactly. Can't answer that its because there is no such thing. Through your videos I have learned a great deal. and I have learned its okay to fail sometimes because I will eventually get it. Thank you for sharing via social media and what ever means. Without you we wouldn't be inspired.

  47. Laurene says:

    Gifted, honest and beautiful…you're above all the critics Kino, may you go on with your wonderful flow!!