The Yoga Student

What an amazing workshop! Hard work but worth every aching muscle!

It was a true pleasure to work with Kino and Tim! There wasn’t an asana which didn’t feel more challenging than ever before! They definitely made us engage those bandhas from deep within! It’s amazing what a difference simple changes can make to your practice…pushing those elbows together in every Ekam position! Engaging that uddiyana bandha on every jump forward and jump back (…and every other asana!) Working that trochanter  into those external rotations in those hip openers! And not forgetting lifting that sacrum and ribs high, to elongate the spine for those deep backbends! Thank you to Kino and Tim for sharing their knowledge and techniques with us and with such infectious wit and humour! I’ve got to say…it’s pretty difficult holding those bandhas whilst trying not to giggle!

The way Kino and Tim talked about yoga philosophy through the Yoga Sutras gave some real food for thought! What I hadn’t realised when my body is ‘screaming’ holding Navasana and Utpluthih (Kino’s favourite asanas to count super slow!) was, just observe the body, observe the challenge, and recognise this as part of the journey to my inner self, my inner spirit! The workshop really helped to put some of the challenges in my personal practice into perspective. Since the workshop, it’s helped me to gain better self awareness, which in turn is enabling me to really focus the mind and truly feel the meditative qualities of my personal practice.

Kino and Tim are inspirational teachers and I loved their talk about the obstacles we all encounter on our yogic journey. It’s helpful to be reminded about why we committed to this beautiful, empowering, challenging, soul searching, lifelong journey. These reminders help to keep us inspired and to accept these challenges head on. It was encouraging that they were both so open about sharing their journeys, their own experiences and challenges, and despite there being 200 yogis at the workshop that did not hinder their ability give a personal touch to the experience. Their energy is contagious!

If you ever get the opportunity to work with Kino and Tim I would highly recommend it! No matter how long you have been practicing Ashtanga yoga, we can always deepen our practice, and what amazing, inspiring and vibrant teachers to do this with!

Thank you to all the Yoga Manchester ‘Warriors’ that assisted all us yogis! You made the whole weekend run swimmingly! A truly excellent workshop hosted by Yoga Manchester! Thank you!


I have been practicing Ashtanga yoga for the last 15 years under the supervision of Matt Ryan, I attend Yoga Manchester classes on a weekly basis. I have felt a real transformation in my yoga practice over the last two years, since committing to a daily home practice and the monthly Mysore classes with Yoga Manchester.

Sapphire Raydon-Rennie


The Yoga Teacher

I’ve been a student at Kino and Tim’s workshops before, only when they’ve been operating as separate entities though, this time it was lovely to see them working together as a couple. They are both really warm people and even with their yoga ‘celebrity’ status there’s no need to feel intimidated. After-all, being told what to do with your anus on a Friday evening is certainly going to break the ice!

There were lots of wide grins at the sign-in desk – it was clear students were really excited to be there and as a teacher that makes me excited too! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to assist Kino and Tim during the led classes, and to observe so many students practicing – shuffling the hands-width distance between the mats was certainly a test of my spacial awareness!

When talking about the practice Kino and Tim skilfully balance years of dedication and respect for the Ashtanga method with a good sense of humour. While there’s a thirst for technical instruction on the more challenging postures they offer consistent reminders to remain equanimous (‘equanimity’ was the word of the weekend with ‘anus’ following closely behind!) and stay on track with the focus of the practice – stay present.

During the Q&A Kino and Tim kept their answers grounded in reality while still referencing philosophical concepts and relevant texts, they weave philosophy into real life choices and experiences very well – rather than it being a subject that remains distant or separated from the practice and our lives. It was nice to see nods of agreement when Kino steered a question about what she eats into making ethical food choices and thinking about the impact that we as consumers have on the world.

I’ve done a reasonable amount of study over the years with some top teachers (although in the context of yoga study this constitutes a tiny, tiny tip of the iceberg). This includes a number of weekend workshops of a similar format, but I always learn something valuable – whether it’s a reminder about the fundamentals of the practice (which we all need from time to time!) or a new technique/point of view that I can use in my own practice or apply to teaching. After all a yoga teacher will always remain a yoga student.

Kino, Tim and their assistant Carmen brought a bit of Miami (and European) sunshine into the Gita Bhavan temple that weekend and I think we all took some of it away with us! I had three classes to teach after the workshop, I should have been shattered, but it’s testament to the enthusiasm of them, the students and the Yoga Manchester Team that I was raring to go!

Marie Harris

On the 13th August, we were very pleased to host world-famous Ashtangi, Kino Macgregor for two fantastic workshops!

Two of our Yoga Manchester teachers, Kirstin and Charlene, have written a review of the day and evening workshops, which you can read below. We’d love to read your comments on the event – please add your voice to the mix by commenting on here and on Facebook.

If you missed Kino’s recent visit, fear not. We’re very pleased to announce that she’ll be back in Manchester next year! Keep your eyes peeled for announcements and further details.


A Day with Kino MacGregor 

We’re a really lucky lot of yogi’s in Manchester. Not only do we have fantastic teachers from Yoga Manchester ,  we also have amazing guest teachers who come to visit us and share their yoga wisdom. Last Tuesday was no exception when Kino MacGregor dropped in to town as part of her European tour. Folk travelled from all over the North West and beyond to spend a day immersed in Ashtanga yoga.

So who comes to a yoga workshop?  A mixed bag made up of teachers, long term practitioners and those who have only recently discovered yoga. We’re all there for the same reason; to discover more about the awe-inspiring practice of Ashtanga Yoga. I love attending these workshops, not only for the wonderful teaching but also to be in a roomful of people who share the same interest, dare I say passion?  The energy and enthusiasm is almost tangible.

This was the first time that I had studied with Kino MacGregor and I know that it will not be the last.  Her teaching style is straightforward and makes absolute sense.  Much of the focus of the workshop was about finding strength within the practice.  We spent a lot of time looking at the standing postures, working on activating the arms, rotating the shoulders, finding a sense of uplift from the core and an inner strength deep within the pelvis.  This clearly demonstrated how increased awareness and effort applied in the (seemingly!) simple postures is the key to accomplishing the more challenging asana.

This was all presented in a clear, informative and down to earth manner making it accessible for everyone regardless of experience.  We also had loads of fun helping one another locating the source of strength….or at least getting a sense of where it comes from.  I can’t speak for anyone else but I felt it highlighted how easy it is to go through the motions once the movements become familiar or habitual.  For me, the standing postures have taken on a new life of their own.  Oh, and I have found my ‘pelvic bowl’!!!  Many students I know talked of waking up to aching arms and shoulders on Wednesday morning.  They also spoke of a heightened awareness and motivation to get back on the mat and practice, practice, practice!

Kino is a warm, engaging and truly inspirational woman, yogi and teacher.  She shared stories of her own yoga journey, her travels to India and the time spent with her own teacher, the Godfather of Ashtanga Yoga – Guruji.  I’d take a guess at saying that every single student had her undivided attention at some point during the workshop.  She connected with us all.  On a personal note, I want to send a heartfelt thank you directly to Kino for dropping by and for confirming a return visit in September 2014.

By Kirstin Robertson – Kirstin’s classes with Yoga Manchester here.

A lesson in inner and outer strength with Kino MacGregor 

Less than two hours after finishing the day session with Kino MacGregor, I was at the beautiful Gita Bhavan temple in Chorlton ready and waiting for the next instalment of her Manchester visit. As 100 students filed in to the hall and strategically placed their mats to get the best view or to hide from view, I wondered what Kino had in store for us – “Probably Primary Series”, a few of us had concluded earlier in the day.

For those not familiar with Kino, she is one of the world’s leading Ashtangis, was taught directly by the late founder of Ashtanga, Sri K Pattabhi Jois, and is a senior teacher within the tradition. All this aside, she has authored two books, has gazillions of ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube, and Tweets to her 16,000 plus followers at least 10 times a day.

Kino opened the session by sharing her own experience on the difficult Ashtanga path, including one six month episode in Mysore. To summarise, this involved her being in a difficult posture from Third Series, and hearing her guruji, Sri K Pattabhi Jois repeatedly shouting an instruction. “Why don’t they listen to him?” she thought, only then to hear, “Kino!” and be told she needed more strength. Her embarrassment quickly gave way to realisation: she had become complacent in her practice, and needed to reignite the “fire that leads to internal purification”.

On reflection, this anecdote provided the theme for the session and inspiration we were all going to need to persevere with the wrist, leg, arm and core strength sequences, she was about to unleash upon us. Demonstrating each sequence before asking us to do it was deceptive: her effortless movement made every exercise look as if we would execute it with little effort and strength – how wrong was I.

Breaking down Surya Namaskar A to include a modification of high plank which involved being on our “tippy toes” before moving into Chaturanga served to highlight the enormous amount of strength required for this transition posture. Already my deltoids were crying and my abdominals were recruiting every active muscle within their vicinity. With over 90 minutes to go, I’m sure I wasn’t alone in mercifully thinking, “what else does she have in store for us?”

A few horrid core exercises, baby Bakasana, and fully-grown Bakasana later, we were on to an “approachable” version of a posture from Third Series, Vasisthasana. Whenever Kino said  “approachable/easier” I didn’t believe her as every muscle was begging me to stop.

Self-doubt must have been expressed in the eyes of the 100 people Kino was looking at as she then told all of us: “There is one thing you’re lacking right now” – “strength, balance, 10 years+ practice,”I thought – “you all need to have faith that you can do this.”

Working through the balance, bodies were falling down like flies, arms were shaking, murmurs and sighs interrupted her encouraging words, but despite every outward sign that we were about to throw in the sweaty yoga flannel, we continued to do as she said. We were all ignoring our whiny “please stop now” voice within to see what we were capable of – our internal fire was well and truly burning as we tried to have faith that we could see if the impossible was possible.

The energy within the room was palpable as people of different abilities shared the same aim of moving beyond our perception of what we can’t do, and move towards what is possible. “Attraction and aversion is what keeps us trapped in habit – keep the internal fire of purification burning by moving beyond this”, Kino told us as we were approaching the last push: backbends.

Lifting up into Urdhva Dhanurasana, something triggered within me as I suddenly realised that I too had become complacent in my practice as I believed I was ‘strong enough’ for the stage I was at. Whilst the Primary Series talk through was expected, the focus upon strength not only proved my expectation wrong but served to demonstrate how easy it is for complacency to set-in.

Ashtanga’s leading missionary used the small window of time she had at the Gita Bhavan to share with us the technique’s most powerful tool: continued determination to move beyond self-limiting thoughts to discover who we are and what we can achieve. Feeling like a weakling in need of some spinach, we moved into the postures of the finishing sequence exhausted from the lesson Kino had given us in inner and outer strength.

After the much-needed relaxation, we had a Q&A session with Kino before wrapping-up the evening with an auction of Kino’s hot-pink mat in aid of her charity, Yoga Gives Back. Starting off at £1, generous students sent the price up to £50 before it was sold for £60 to a man behind me. On that note, we exchanged our thanks with Kino before retiring for the night.

Leaving the temple, I wondered how sore I would be in the morning. My physical fatigue though was sharply contrasted by motivation and inspiration which was a result of Kino’s encouraging words and above all, everyone’s effort to go beyond self-doubt and burning arms to see what we’re capable of.

If you didn’t manage to make the session, or you want to relive the evening, Kino has uploaded a 10 minute version of the evening’s strength sequences here. Good luck!

By Charlene McAuley – Check out Charlene’s classes with Yoga Manchester here.


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