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I had the delight to attend an arm balancing workshop with Kino MacGregor, an Ashtanga master teacher certified by the founder Sri.K Pattabhi Joice out of Mysore India. I arrived at Semperviva city studio early to get a spot close to the front, because I’m a keener like that, and it ended up being a full house. Kino introduced herself and we opened the class with an om. She began by telling us stories of her training at Mysore. One story was pretty funny, where she had mentioned a moment in her practice thinking “I have my leg behind my head and it’s 4:30 am in the morning, what am I doing?” Almost everyone in the room chuckled. It was also motivating to hear from a master teacher to stay humble and not let your ego get in the way. She explained as she progressed from practicing at home and then revisiting Mysore to further her training, on each trip her ego would be broken down putting her back into check making her humble again; because there was always another level or refinement to make. Rarely was she ever patted on the back by her teachers or told ‘good job’, since yoga is not really about how beautiful or how difficult a pose you can create. After the wonderful stories, which I quite enjoyed, we began to learn how to take the necessary steps to stabilize the arms and use the core strength to lift up. From the very first pose, I became humbled as I learned quickly that I have my practice cut out for me. I was grateful for this workshop because MacGregor was able to break things down providing many poses systematically leading up to the full pose. So if you were not able to do the first two stepping stone poses, then of course you were not to try the full pose out of the fact the strength, stability, or flexibility just is not yet there. In a workshop setting this is much easier to explain, and is why workshops are so great for any yogi or yogini. Stepping into a workshop setting allows time for demonstration, explanation, and an in depth look at the refinements for a pose. I must say the most important thing I took away from this workshop was not the knowledge of how to get myself into these advanced arm balancing poses, or at least how to build up to them, but to stay humble and keep practicing. Your practice, regardless of being a good or bad day, as stated by McGregor “is just what you do.”

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