Kino MacGregor – Bad Girl Yogi

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It had to happen and it has. The holier than thou brigade have fired their angry arrows at the rising star of Ashtanga Yoga, Kino Macgregor, and they’ve thrown these white hot coals because Kino, in their opinion, is not adhering to the yoga philosophy laid down thousands of years ago and that’s the point, it was laid down thousands of years ago.

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The current Ashtanga yogi’s take their philosophy and teachings mostly from those of Krishna Pattabi Jois who himself was the ‘student’, as it’s commonly known nowadays  though it may have been known as ‘disciple’ at the time, of Krishnamacharya who preached that one should make yoga propaganda and to get the message out there. I support that one.

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Krishnamacharya in a thong

From my own experience the world would be a totally different place if everyone practiced yoga. I think it should be taught in schools as part of Physical Education and also as part of Religious Education as yoga crosses both boundaries. One only has to pick up an Ashtanga yoga book to know that there are eight limbs of which the asana’s (physical postures) are only one. The eight limbs are very similar to the Buddhist eightfold path and also to the Ten Commandments though in Yoga, which is, or at least originally was (he says controversially), a hindu philosophy there is no commanding going on which is also the case with the Buddhist eightfold path – there is no reward and no punishment for following or for not following except that from and for your own self.

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Yoga in schools has already courted controversy as it’s ‘not Christian’, which is like most people then in the west, because for most people who say they are Christian, it’s just a convenience so they know what to put in that blank box on passport and census applications.

Kino has been pointed at for her style of yoga clothes – talk about attachment and aversion! It gets hot in an ashtanga  yoga class and I wear as little as I can get away with (vest and shorts and when it gets really sweaty the shorts get rolled up as high as is possible to go). In the warmer parts men mostly just wear shorts and in some cases, I will sit down before I say the next word – speedos ! – and women wear bikinis, but so what? If people are getting distracted by this or fearing that a bout of lust might come upon them, then that, at least, shows them where they’re stuck. This clothes fascism is akin in some ways to the Catholic Church not allowing female priests, cardinals or popes although I think the only reason for that is because the celibate men have all the frocks.

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Kino is trying to get yoga on to TV.  This has amazingly upset the upper brethren of Mysore yogis. What seems to be the yoga moan lately is whether yoga should or shouldn’t be an Olympic event or whether yoga should become prime time TV. The argument mostly being that the Asanas, what most of the world think is yoga, is not the whole yoga. My personal opinion on this is that when people come to yoga for whatever reason, they are all the better for it and some, probably quite a high percentage, eventually dig deeper and begin to want to breathe properly, try to then maybe regularly practice meditation which leads on to greater empathy and compassion and kindness and bigger eyes to see the world with.

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If the population would frown at yoga on TV, yet sit glued to Strictly Come Dancing or the greatest karaoke show on Earth (X Factor) or watch endless programmes about chefs who cook with varying degrees of alcoholism and bad language, then abandon hope all ye who enter etc.  Yoga will be on television, this much is for sure and there are many great teachers out there who will embrace the medium and hopefully for the right reasons and Kino should be right up there and lead from the front.

Like it or not, according to Bloomberg, ‘Yoga is the fastest growing industry on Earth’ (and without any TV!). Bill Harper of Yoga Journal announced, ‘it’s not just an activity, it’s a lifestyle’. Are these facts a bad thing? Maybe only to the brethren of the mountain ‘Holier’ which is quite a bit higher up the valley than ‘thou
Kev Ollier at Kino Macgregor workshop London

My naked half leg (bottom right hand corner) at the end of a Kino workshop in London, England

Everyone has their own path to their own G-D and that’s as it should be and whether the path is pathless or not is irrelevant.

see also, ‘Kino MacGregor, London’ at
http://kevollier.com/2012/09/30/kinomacgregor/

and
‘Yoga Mat Death’ at
http://kevollier.com/2013/05/30/yogamat/

and
‘Kino DVD review’ at
http://kevollier.com/2014/01/05/kino-macgregor-primary-series-dvd-review/

Kino’s ‘how to’ videos are here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwSX7NnE-uU&playnext=1&list=PLBAA695702548F199&feature=results_main

The article this post addresses by Kino is at
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/02/confessions-of-a-loved-hated-ashtangi-kino-macgregor/

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21 thoughts on “Kino MacGregor – Bad Girl Yogi

    Cowboys and Crossbones said:
    March 14, 2013 at 16:35

    I think the world would be a better place if yoga was practiced by everyone. I started practicing last year and I’m in love, it’s changed my life and I’m a different person (in a good way) because of yoga.

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      March 15, 2013 at 09:10

      that’s lovely to hear and things in ones life taking a positive turn after starting a regular yoga practice seem to be always the rule rather that the exception :)

      Like

    colgore said:
    March 14, 2013 at 20:28

    Agreed! First of all, I am so tired of the grumbling about respected yogis posing nude or Kino wearing short shorts. The human body is a beautiful thing and what better way to see truly perfect form in an asana? Yoga can still remain firmly rooted in ancient traditions while evolving. As you said, yoga on television is preferable to some of the other trash they air. If it gets more people to classes, improves their health and wellbeing, what is the problem? Side Note: My sister is a physical education teacher and teaches the kids yoga! I’m so proud.

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      March 15, 2013 at 09:09

      exactly! and good for your sister, she’s obviously one of the progressive people on Earth

      Like

    Diandra Bergman said:
    March 24, 2013 at 13:53

    Thanks Kev for this article and thank you to Kino.
    Worldly people will forever be struggling for power and position. Kino has been an inspiration for me, she is clear and grounded in her practice and life. The rate a which the yoga community is growing will create problems just like that of an upcoming third world country, hold on to your truth!

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      March 24, 2013 at 21:47

      thanks Diandra. I agree entirely

      Like

    sillysadhaka said:
    April 11, 2013 at 16:22

    Hi Kev. Cool article. I have mixed feelings about this.

    One one hand, I am seeing the excess attachment Western/Euro society has placed upon physical fitness – only one of many important areas of holistic health. I am seeing our society alter yoga dramatically from its ancient roots to place an emphasis on the physical. (Ex: Power yoga, yoga-pilates, shorter and shorter savasana, emphasis on flexibility.)
    I feel that there is need for us to realize that yoga was traditionally meant to assist with meditation and overcoming spiritual blockages, and that specific postures were prescribed to people individually depending on their needs. Yoga, without mindfulness, is no more “spiritual” than going for a walk.

    On the other hand, yoga is powerful. I see that after class, people are more centered and aware, despite their best intentions. Because of western obsession with the physical realm, it will be experience with yoga that ignites that deep connection within many people in our society. So in this sense, the proliferation and non-traditional evolution of yoga is a huge benefit, because it is giving thousands of people the stepping stones towards creation of mindfulness.

    I think it is important to keep in mind what yoga was, even when enjoying what yoga current has become.

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      April 13, 2013 at 08:03

      I concur. I think a lot of western yoga students would. It is the stepping stones that are important. I don’t think it was ever meant to be secret, mystical knowledge that only a few can access but by definition it is for all. Some think we need to be austere to practice or as part of practicing yoga yet he meaning and understanding of ‘austere’ is definitely different to what it was thousands of years ago. To some, not watching a big 50 inch TV for 24 hours is enough! :)

      Like

    jbw0123 said:
    April 13, 2013 at 20:31

    Some might say Kino is a bad girl just because she’s a girl. Yoga was not set up by women or with women in mind, as far as we can tell. Pretty funny that some believe the tradition is the same as it has been for thousands of years, when even in Myesore, Ashtanga central, the series is evolving even as we write. Pattabi Jois’ biggest gift? His admonition to not think too much, just do it. What a relief. I like what you say about people starting yoga maybe for the wrong reasons, but eventually starting to breathe better and then other good things happening, too. Sounds like true Joisean tradition. Fun blog (stopped over from a link on Alison & Don’s blog, Adventures in Wonderland). P.S. Yoga has been on TV for decades in our neck of the woods. Maybe not Kino yoga, but yoga nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      April 17, 2013 at 08:58

      It would be welcomed over here, possibly de-lycrafied though :)

      Like

    jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com said:
    April 14, 2013 at 20:38

    Hi Kev,excellent ,powerful post about yoga and kino.Thous as you called them heating their homes with candle lights will never admit the truth about yoga.Thank you so much for following my blog.l appreciate your writings.Regards.jalal Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    angela said:
    July 31, 2013 at 03:46

    thank you Kev for a man’s perspective on this ‘issue’ (as it has turned into). Criticism of women’s clothing, and what ‘type’ of woman this makes them, is nothing new. If Kino were a man teaching yoga topless and wearing shorts there would be absolutely no problem. Nobody would notice. Personally, I love that Kino wears what she is comfortable wearing despite what others say. To me a true yogi would not notice what fellow classmates are wearing, nor their teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      July 31, 2013 at 07:54

      Thanks for the comment, and exactly Angela!
      If somebody is bothered or distracted by something as trivial as what one is wearing then they are at least in the right place – to learn yoga and to give themselves the opportunity to lose their attachments and projections.

      Like

    Alexander Svitych said:
    January 5, 2014 at 19:54

    “From my own experience the world would be a totally different place if everyone practiced yoga. I think it should be taught in schools as part of Physical Education and also as part of Religious Education as yoga crosses both boundaries.”

    Totally agree! Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

      Kev Ollier responded:
      January 5, 2014 at 20:08

      thanks fro visiting and especially for the feedback :)

      Like

    littlelondonyogini said:
    January 5, 2014 at 23:36

    Love kino, she is awesome!! Her YouTube videos are brilliant! Agree with you that more people should practise yoga, but at the same time I don’t think it should be forced on people – if you are made to study it in school are you really going to step on your mat with the right intention and properly be present? Having said that, yogis like Kino can only help inspire others so hopefully people will watch her videos and be inspired to give it a try! One thing to say on her shorts…it is so much harder to do arm balances ‘skin on skin’. Plus she looks great so good for her!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Fit Chick said:
    February 7, 2014 at 07:00

    Amen to Speedo’s!! And long live hot yoga shorts worn Kino style ~ the ONLY way I can practice! And everybody else including all the Ashtangi purists out there can just go clean their minds! … How apropos, check out my Aug 16/13 post “Yoga Shorts in the Style of Kino” for another take on the subject @ http://www.fitchickyoga.blogspot.ca. … And whatever way gets you to yoga, take it!
    Amazing post Kev!

    Liked by 1 person

    Monica Stone said:
    April 28, 2014 at 13:31

    I love and admire kino. Yoga is not black and white, and it’s so personal, so it’s interesting how people judge. I feel like no matter where you are on your journey and how you practice is where you’re supposed to be and there is a lesson there. Even if you’re practicing only for the physical …or if you become attached to the practice… I feel like whatever it creates within will hopefully start to work through you so you can learn and let it go. I wish people would just start supporting others in their practice and stop judging!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Kev Ollier responded:
    April 28, 2014 at 14:24

    Absolutely. Yoga is about oneness. Judging is its antithesis!

    Like

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