Kino MacGregor manifested her divine and very physical being at Ashtanga Yoga Toronto a few weeks back. I was delighted to spend a few hours in her presence and the small group of Yoga practitioners and gathered to listen to Kino talk.
Kino's talk was so relevant to my life journey at this time, and likely to the lives of most others in the room. It is amazing how when the student is ready, the teacher appears. And appear she did. Her diminutive yet strong physical manifestation is shiny and bright and her words softly cut to the essence of the matter at hand. She is truly talented, skilled and very present.
In my view, the most important thing that Kino shared with us is how the practice of Yoga puts you face to face with your very own life, emotions, challenges and all that good stuff. Things are going to come up in your practice, and in your life, things that are light and things that are dark. The goal of the asana practice is to have the mind become so big that it can embrace both the light and the dark.
Alrighty, mind embraces light and dark. So how do we go about doing that? In order to allow the mind to become big enough to embrace both light and dark, we have to crack the Heart open.
Roger that. Crack the Heart open. How do we accomplish this? Don't turn away from the pain, the sensation both in life and in the poses. Go deep, breathe deep and allow it to break you open so your mind can expand.
To clarify, the pose itself is not going to bring about Enlightenment or an enlightened state of mind per se. Kino spoke about how, for example, when you bind Marychiasana D for the first time (a tough pose to bind for most), it's not as though the Buddha is going to walk in and you are suddenly Enlightened! Kino explains that you face your life, yourself, your inner shadows and meet your true divine self while practicing the poses. She says that when the mind can be big enough to contain all of the light and all of the dark, all of these emotions and sensations you find on your mat and in your life day after day, then you have truly opened yourself up to experience now, without running towards something pleasureable or away from something uncomfortable.
Here are a few out takes from Kino's Instagram account to clarify:
"Yoga is an inner journey that takes you deep down into the unexplored territory of your own mind, body and spirit. It is a personal practice aimed at giving you a direct experience of the true self within."
"What you do when you meet your body's limit will show you exactly who you are in the face of stressful or challenging life situations. Each time you rise up and meet the obstacle with a clear mind and an accepting heart you are stronger regardless of how deep you go into the posture."
"Let your whole life be a grand harmony that reflects the magnitude of your soul. Then sing the song of your own happiness with so much joy that everyone around you just has to smile."
"Delve into the inner body in search of enlightenment and discover your true self. The body itself is the subconscious mind, the emotional reservoir of everything that seems hidden. Through the microscopic lens of yoga you can see through layers of thoughts into the vulnerable space of your authenticity. Reveal all your beauty, power and greatness simply by experiencing the essential nature of your self and saying yes to everything that you already are."