How to describe a Led Primary by Kino MacGregor? Athletic

The room on Saturday was packed for Kino MacGregor’s Led Primary.

As James — one of the teachers at Omkar 108 — said as he had everyone move their mats a few inches over, “You’ll get the full Mysore experience.”

We did. Although I suspect in Mysore, where people are used to that crowding, there’s a bit less chaos. Bobbie and I were fortunate to be next to each other, so that minimized the chaos a bit. It didn’t intrude too often.

To steal the word Bobbie used to describe the class: It was athletic. We could see why people are so entranced by Kino’s classes. Other teachers we’ve practiced with — the ones on the Confluence list most notably, but others, too — have perhaps moved more into the contemplative region of the practice. I think it is safe to say that was a reoccurring theme at both Confluences. There’s a a bit more conservation of energy going on with them.

Kino’s was full-out, especially in the places you’d expect: long Navasanas, deep Warriors, a focus on proper alignment (that also deepens the poses), the occasional long counts in poses. Not that she didn’t talk about focusing inward or about the importance of the breath. It’s just that the physical body felt very fore-fronted.

It felt, in another phrase, pretty Miami. I would imagine that the stereotypical Miami resident — image conscious, beach- and club-going, party-balancing (wait, did I just describe LA?) — would flock to this class. It was more of a body-wrecker; Kino promised we’d be sore in places we’d never been sore in before, although I’m happy to report I’m not. (I credit all those mildly terrified classes with Tim Miller when I gave 150%; I can still manage 100% and survive unscathed.) It felt more like the beginning of the Ashtanga journey, where one needs to get the Sacred Fire stoked. And it makes sense that that would be the class she’s take on the road. One would want to light the fires. (Meaning: I’m sure her classes at her home base are varied and different; I don’t mean she’s somehow a beginner.)

At the same time, while athletic, it wasn’t overly flashy. People weren’t encouraged to lift into handstands or any of the flourishes that exist out there. But she did want everyone to pick up in the seated poses. She wanted everyone “up” in between Navasanas. It was solid and the count true. Kino knows her stuff.

Ultimately, the class reinforced something David Swenson said at the Confluence: It’s amazing that the Ashtanga asana practice hasn’t changed more over the years. I was expecting a few more unexpected tweaks — something new out of Mysore, perhaps — but the small differences from how I’ve learned the Primary were ones I’ve encountered before.

I think we all know how easy it is to get caught up in questions and arguments about this style of Ashtanga versus that, this teacher’s take versus that one’s. Reflecting on Kino’s class, I’m more struck by all that’s the same, all that’s shared, and I figure that what’s shared is what’s Ashtanga yoga: breath, focus, intensity.

We’ll see if we get to her backbend workshop today. Householder duties continue to intrude mightily!

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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