I was somewhat filled with trepidation waiting at Manchester Piccadilly rail station with a bunch of flowers in hand awaiting the arrival of Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann. The trip to Manchester was the culmination of a transatlantic teaching tour for the couple. Kino was back in Manchester for the 3rd time accompanied by Tim who was yet to sample the delights of our fabulous city. The two of them together drew a crowd of students to max out the capacity of the weekend workshop. 200 participants were to be perfectly slotted into the Hindu Temple in Whalley Range, making a massive space intimate and cosy.
How does one greet a duo of international yoga demigods with a combined Instagram following of close to 900 thousand souls? Kino broke the ice by sending a text as the train was drawing in, to let me know that they were arriving with “a ton of luggage (smiley face emoji with blushing cheeks). Well she didn’t disappoint. The London train disgorged its late night commuters and as the throng thinned out, there at the far end of the platform was the endearing sight of the diminutive Kino completely dwarfed by the lofty Tim pushing a trolley piled to the rafters with luggage. Kino herself had two further suitcases a shoulder bag and two yoga mats slung over her shoulder. Once they had trundled to the end of the platform towards me, Kino gave a smile and confessed that she was glad we were not walking to their accommodation.
The next ice breaking challenge was to fit tall Tim, all the suitcases and Kino in my small car. One of Tim’s Nordic superpowers is spatial awareness and car boot packing. This is a skill taught him by his father. Apparently you are not a real man unless you can perfectly fit an unfeasible amount of luggage into the trunk of a hatchback. I left Tim to the packing and wheeled the luggage trolley back to the station concourse then returned to my car to find visible only Kino’s ponytail and the flowers she was clutching, as she was buried in my back seat under a pile of bulging luggage.
Now where do Ashtanga Yoga royalty stay when visiting Manchester? You may imagine they took a Penthouse suite at the Lowry hotel. But no, a humble AirBnB suited them just fine. They seemed to relish being in a city centre apartment and took time to wander round our civic spaces, particularly enjoying the Central Library.
No doubt much has been speculated and lots has been written about Kino’s diet. I hope she doesn’t mind me spilling the beans, but since I did a small grocery shop for her and Tim, I have some inside information on this matter. During the Question and Answer session of the workshop, Kino was asked about her favourite foods. Well I can endorse her answer. She lives for fruit of all kinds in all forms: fresh, dried and juiced fruits seem to be the mainstay of her diet. Right now a mono-diet of figs would have suited her down to the ground, but sadly figs are not in season in Manchester right now. Tim, being originally from Denmark would have his basic human rights contravened if her were not allowed to eat cheese. So they have softened their vegan aspirations in the interests of marital harmony. Re-hydration comes in the form of coconut water. This was very important for Kino who can get through litres each day. She has preferred brands of coconut water so a crack team of Yoga-Manchester yoga teachers scoured the supermarkets of our fair city to source this for her, but to no avail. Even Unicorn, Manchester’s cooperative health food grocery failed us. Well Kino took the news well. She and Tim treated themselves to Starbucks takeout for lunch as compensation. So Rock ‘n’ Roll.
You’d think that after years of teaching that Kino would have forgotten what it is to be nervous. I’m sure this is true to some extent but who wouldn’t have a slight frisson of adrenaline just before kicking off an event with 200 yogis hanging on your every word? In the car on the way to the first session I could detect that the usual equanimity of Kino was ever so slightly out of kilter. In fact she had forgotten something in the apartment, needed to go back and get it and then was anxious that we were going to be late. Goddamit she is human after all! However once she got going, her cheeky and slightly theatrical delivery held the attention of the crowd. A recurring theme of the sessions was the role of the pelvis and engaging of the Bandhas. Kino relished talking through the anatomy and created some mental imagery which I am sure had everyone blushing. But we had our eyes closed so who would know? Over the weekend I think Tim and Kino said “anus” about a thousand times. The concept of the rogue anus was new to me. One brave yogi ventured to ask what she should do with her tongue during asana practice. She felt she had a rogue tongue, so Tim set her straight advising her that it should rest gently on the upper palate with the tip positioned behind the teeth. With a sparkle in her eyes Kino chimed in that it was very important not to get one’s rogue tongue and rogue anus mixed up.
To wind up the whole event Tim and Kino cooked up a scheme to give away their personal yoga mats that they had used on tour. They played Bingo, calling numbers from the list of people signed up to the workshops. Sadly numbers one, 200 and 108 had already left the Temple by the time the Bingo got going, so lost out on their opportunity to win the yoga mats. If you are reading this and are wondering if that was you, well you must be gutted and I bet you’ll never leave a Kino and Tim workshop early again! Once two winners were identified, a fight nearly broke out over which mat was the sweatiest. When asked why they where giving the mats away. Kino gave a warm smile and confessed that they were flying back to Miami the next day so by reducing their luggage the recipients of the sweaty mats were doing them a favour.
So we bid Kino and Tim bon voyage and hope to see them back soon again in Manchester to share their wit and wisdom with us.