dvd-ashtanga-primary-kino-macgregorWritten by Kristie Eccleston

This purchase was my second step towards becoming a full on Ashtanga Yogi. Starting with a free video I found online, I thought this would be a good progression. My intent to was immerse myself into the authentic primary series and not having an instructor in my hometown (or anywhere nearby) who has been granted the rights to teach by the KPJAYI (Sri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute), figured this would be the closest I could get for awhile.

At first I was blown away by the video and seeing the FULL primary series, as most of what I had seen in the past were only modifications to the full postures. Very few people in this world can do the full primary series. In all honesty, I didn’t know most of what I was doing were modifications and blindly thought I was doing the full postures. This blindness resulted in no reason to push my body a little further. Seeing the full asanas daily has changed me. Now knowing what a human body is capable of, doesn’t thrill and amaze any longer and it shouldn’t. Watching Kino go thru the asanas seamlessly with a look of contentment and peace (or as I like to call that look- a buddha smirk!), is something I never dreamed possible for any human being, let alone someone without a background in gymnastics or dance like Kino. Now that I know what’s possible, I expect one day, when I am ready my body will do these postures with grace. This video has given me hope but I’ve gained so much more important than the hope for a flexible body from this experience.

Even though I have a new found love affair with this video, it’s not to say that I don’t struggle with it. Sometimes every one of the 75 minutes is a battle, watching Kino do the full posture making it look easy and me struggling with the beginner version. At the end of the video Kino demonstrates easier versions of some of the more difficult postures, but to run the video in it’s entirety, you’re stuck with the advanced postures. It’s really too bad there isn’t a little window popping up during the posture to show the beginner modifications. At first I hated this because I felt so frumpy, inflexible and incapable because the advanced postures are so difficult. But that’s the real beauty of Ashtanga. Learning to find my breath and ease into difficulties. I don’t just mean on my yoga mat, either. It’s teaching me how to stay calm amongst a storm in my everyday life beyond the mat.

The reason I got into Ashtanga yoga is because becoming a circus performer acrobat/contortionist has been a lifelong dream that at 33 years old I had finally given up on, but after seeing a demo video of Kino’s on Youtube and doing a little research into what these highly trained yogi’s can do with their bodies at all ages, my interest in these arts flared up again. To be perfectly blunt, I wanted to be immensely strong and extremely flexible, to satisfy my ego. But watching Kino’s video and listening to her voice gives one a pure and authentic reason to practice-to find peace, calm and relaxation when the world presents what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. Or to fully bring yourself into the moment and let everything else slip away. It’s almost as if she’s in my head, when I’m fighting with a pose and she ques to relax and release, magical. How did she know I was holding my breath and tensing my body? Because she’s been there, done that, herself and watched many of her students do the same. I am so grateful this video was made. Thank you for allowing me to further my practice.