2019 is going to be a Triptych cracker ! It will be a year of firsts for Yoga Manchester as we host Tim Feldmann , Doug Swenson & The Ashtanga elder statesman Eddie Stern for what will be their first ever workshops for Yoga Manchester.


Tim Feldmann 8-10 Feb

Tim is the director of Miami Life Center, the yoga shala he founded with his wife Kino MacGregor and Matt Tashjian. He was set on the yoga path by his first teacher Lino Miele and is Authorized to teach directly by the founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Method, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and his grandson, R. Sharath Jois. A practitioner of the Advanced A series Tim is dedicated to Ashtanga Yoga’s traditional method.

To book yourself on Tim’s workshop please click here.

Doug Swenson 17-19 May

Doug Swenson the older & wiser ; ) brother of David will be in Manchester in May 2019. Doug began his study of yoga in 1969. He has had the fortune of studying with many great teachers including Dr. Ernest Wood, K. Pattabhi Jois, David Williams, Nancy Gilgoff, Ramanand Patel, and others.Doug is a master yoga practitioner, philosopher, poet and dedicated health advocate. He has incorporated influences from several different yoga systems along with his passion for nutrition and the environment to develop his unique approach.

To book yourself on Doug’s workshop please click here.


Eddie Stern 27-29 Sep

Finally we have our man! After a few years of trying to get him to sunny Manchester , Yoga Manchester are thrilled to announce details of a weekend workshop with the inimitable Ashtanga Yoga authority Eddie Stern. Eddie will be in Manchester to teach a weekend workshop and to promote his forthcoming book ‘One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life’.

Eddie Stern is an Ashtanga Yoga teacher, author, and lecturer from New York City. He is the co-founder of Brooklyn Yoga Club, Ashtanga Yoga New York, Broome Street Temple, Namarupa Magazine, the Urban Yogis, and Breathe, Move, Rest, Inc. He studied Ashtanga Yoga under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from 1991 until his passing in 2009, and continues to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’s grandson and successor, Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois.

To book yourself on Eddie’s workshop please click here.


To some people the idea of a whole weekend of Yoga with a super star Yogi like David Swenson can be quite daunting! Would a class Friday night, three times on Saturday and three times Sunday be too much? The answer to this is it wasn’t enough! It was a perfect balance of Yoga Asana with pearls of wisdom you only have after 50 years of Yoga.

David wasn’t what I was expecting, I have David’s practice manual and in his book he looks so serious. Wow I was wrong. He was hilarious. I was laughing so much, proper belly laughing. He has so many anecdotes. Some relate to things we have all thought whilst practising but we don’t want to say out loud.

One of my favourites was when he explained how when you step on the mat you know how the practice is going to go from the first lift of your arms. Some days it’s gonna be a breeze, others it feels like your arms are lead weights! And I’ve had plenty of those! He said how Pattabhi Jois (the creator of Ashtanga Yoga) would say that you only have to do 3 x Surya namaskar A (sun salutation A) and 3 Surya namaskar B (sun salutation B) and the final 3 postures if you were having a busy or tired day. He tied this in with the first session on the Friday evening which was about how to have a manageable practice for the lives many of us lead rushing from A to B. Perfect for Friday night as most people had finished work and driven to Manchester.

His individual sessions were exactly what they say on the tin. We had one class that was the entire Primary series. As a yoga teacher I liked to watch him adjust people in the class. He was open to questions and always gave great explanations along with more stories. He passed on his experience practising with Pattabhi Jois, it was a relief to hear as both a practitioner and teacher that Pattabhi Jois would not be so critical of exactly where every limb would go, allowing me to go with the flow a little more and just breathe.

Another one of my favourite stories was where prasarita padatonasana D and E went. He said Pattabhi Jois said they were not removed but students forgetting!… maybe i’ll just forget Navasana … just joking, I love boat pose 😉 . My favourite tip of the weekend: in uttita hasta padangustasana (you stand on one leg and straighten your other leg out in front of you holding your toe) actively curly your toe around your fingers OMG!!!!!! I can stand straighter and my toe doesn’t fall out of my sweaty grip.

The weekend was absolutely magic and I will be going to the next weekend he does with Yoga Manchester … and the full week he teaches afterwards. Between each class he also hung about for everyone to talk to him, ask questions, get a book signed and even have a selfies with him. I tried to play it cool but as soon as the selfie trend started I totally got in there!

I have to say David has made me fall in love with Ashtanga again, as a Vinyasa flow teacher, my self practice is Vinyasa flow. However, Ashtanga will definitely be sneaking into my self practice. Sneaky little Ashtanga!

David Williams is perhaps in a unique position to offer a workshop on “Ashtanga Yoga for Life”, as he has literally spent his whole adult life dedicated to the practice. He opened with a colourful account of his introduction to Yoga at a sixties rock festival, and his subsequent journey via the “Magic Bus” to India, where he eventually came across Manju Jois practicing Ashtanga Yoga on a beach. After promising to bring Manju to America (somehow one day!) David went on to meet Manju’s teacher, his dad Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore around 1970 (along with Nancy Gilgoff), and became the first Western student to eventually master the entire series. Later he did manage to get Patthabi Jois to California, along with Manju, who never went back! I guess this planted the seed which eventually led to Pattabhi Jois’s version of Ashtanga Yoga now being one of the primary forms of Yoga practiced in the West.

David moved on to Hawaii, and after one final visit to Mysore to finish learning the last series, he realised he didn’t really want to teach, but to practice. So he passed his classes on to his student, David Swenson, and spent the next 18 years living in a shack by the beach concentrating on his practice. Thanks to another one time student, Danny Paradise, he has had various celebrity students, including touring with Pavarotti, which no doubt has helped keep the wolves from the door. He is now something of a celebrity himself, and his (literally) original views are very instructive and refreshing, opening up a whole new insight into to the practice.

Along with his own biography, David gave a detailed account of the story of Krishnamacharya, including eight years in a cave on Mt Kailash in Tibet learning from a reclusive Nepalese master, and the legendary Yoga Kurunta text, said to be hidden in Calcutta library. The tale went on to detail the life of Pattabhi Jois and also the interesting links with BKS Iyengar – almost an archetypal “Grand Narrative” guaranteed to inspire future generations of students.

The first two evening practice sessions were a relaxed run through elements of primary series, exactly as David initially learnt them, e.g. no standing balances.

Saturday morning’s practice put all the primary series together, and in the afternoon we ran through the Ashtanga pranayama series. The final session on Sunday morning was an equally relaxed look at second series, which David emphasised contained many postures which were no more difficult than primary series postures, just different, with more emphasis on back bending rather than forward bending.

I thought David did a great job of “demystifying” Ashtanga Yoga, pointing out that many of the changes introduced later were really for “class management” as numbers grew, rather than any deep esoteric reason. I was particularly impressed by David being brave enough to say that strong adjustments in Ashtanga Yoga are counterproductive, and Pattabhi Jois was wrong to use them, as they may cause injury without any great positive benefit. Personally I completely agree, and was encouraged to see David making this point so strongly. In my view there have been far too many people injured by teachers slavishly following a flawed approach, or, as David put it, “an experiment that went wrong”. He also made the point that Yoga insurance does not cover “hands on” malpractice!

The whole tone of David’s workshop was to focus on the joy of practice, getting into the feeling of how good it is to stretch and work the body in a relaxed and open way without getting hung up on how “good” the postures are. He emphasised the importance of daily practice, provided it was a happy relaxed approach which the body looked forward to. Also, he said a practice at a bare minimum was six sun salutations, three A, three B, Yoga mudra, deep breathing and tolasana, which would take less than thirty minutes.
Overall I found the workshop to be light-hearted, informative and highly enjoyable, and I got the impression most participants felt the same. Having worked with many Ashtanga teachers over the years, for me David Williams, together with Danny Paradise and David Swenson, are the most fun to work with and really embody the joy of the practice.

On a more serious note, I think David’s message cuts to the heart of a polarity of approach which any student would do well to recognise as early as possible, arising from the fundamental question, “why  practice Yoga”? On one hand, Yoga may be used as a method of physical and mental cultivation and control. The techniques work, and many people enjoy great benefit from this approach. The risk in my view is that this approach may easily become ego-driven, and if you practice because you feel you “should”, and the goal is always to get “better” eventually your unconscious impulses (which really runs the show) will rebel and the practice will fade; or the ego will dominate and the body will eventually get injured or burn out. Ego domination can lead to a serious, heavy practice, a narrowing of attitudes and eventually a brittle foundation prone to life denying misery. Teachers and teaching styles following this approach are likely to be pedantic, dominating and unsupportive, as David says, sadistic teachers with masochistic students – no pain no gain! On the other hand, Yoga may be used as a vehicle for self inquiry. I think the original purpose of Hatha Yoga is as a preparation for meditation and a natural starting point for self inquiry. Interestingly David seems to consider Ashtanga Yoga to be a complete meditation form in its own right, generating a continuous meditative state, with no need therefore for sitting meditation or other practices. I might beg to differ, noting that Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga as developed in the Yoga Sutras has little emphasis on Hatha Yoga, with asanas being just one of the eight limbs of practice, but this is a discussion for another time. The main point is the development of an approach with an emphasis on inquiry and nurturing spontaneity, not cultivation and punitive control. The hallmark of such an approach is lightness and humour – after all, this stuff is far too important to be taken seriously! The ego is unmasked as being just one element of the totality of being, and humility and surrender can lead to an expansive joyful dissolution of ego control, and a relaxed and life affirming practice. With surrender, the practice is allowed to take you wherever it leads, enjoying the trip (the downs as well as the ups) and trusting that however unexpected, this is where you need to go. In my view, Yoga is to be enjoyed, not endured, if it is to be Yoga for life. I have been practicing on and off for a long time now, being even older than David, and as Nancy Gilgoff once said, I’m terrified of what would happen if I stop! I have been fortunate enough to have had “fun” teachers, and their legacy is simple: if it’s fun, you’ll do it!




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.




Perhaps it’s his knack for story-telling, or his immeasurable warmth when he makes your acquaintance, or even his genuine love and devotion to his Guruji, Sri K Pattabhi Jois. It could be his first-hand knowledge and experience of the Ashtanga practice, or conveying esoteric theory into the most simple and practical terms; maybe it’s the way one leaves his presence feeling deeply moved and humbled.

I could go on trying to pinpoint exactly what it is about David Swenson; for the 200 plus people who were fortunate enough to spend the weekend or week with him, we will all have our very own reasons as to why we feel inspired to continue wanting to be the very best of ourselves.

This may be through the application of yoga or something totally unrelated for David’s true contentment with himself and life is palpable regardless of whether we’re on the yoga path or not. And that’s probably that ‘something’.

If yoga is universal and is union, then David is truly an embodiment of this as he graciously shares his knowledge, but above all, his remarkable energy to leave us feeling that we are one and the same and have as much to give as the next person to enrich ours and others’ lives.

“A yogi is someone that leaves a place a little better than they found it”, says Swenson, and without meeting him we could be forgiven for thinking this is a cutesey ideal but is not always possible in ‘real’ life.

But upon meeting David, his presence permeates all and leaves each of us that little bit better than before, but above all, with the conviction that true yogis don’t reside in the forests but are within us all.

Thank you David for your inspiring devotion and love to yoga, and therefore, all of us, we feel that bit better since making your acquaintance.

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.


If you enjoyed attending or reading about this event, why not check out our future events?

If you’re reading this review, then the chances are you’ve already been acquainted with Kino MacGregor’s work. With hundreds of ‘how-to’ clips on YouTube and a schedule that spans the entire globe, Kino’s missionary work to spread Ashtanga Yoga far and wide is well and truly under-way.

As with any discipline though, Kino’s method of promoting Ashtanga has drawn criticism not from those of other traditions but within Ashtanga itself. Her effervescent personality, groomed locks, and not to mention teeny shorts have led a minority to accuse her shamelessly self-promoting to ‘cash-in’ on the Ashtanga tradition. Kino is more aware of these criticisms than anyone, and posted a rebuttal on Elephant Yoga to address the most popular critiques of her and the Kino ‘brand’ which was a very yogic way of showing the Vs to all the haters.

When I went on the hunt for my first ever yoga book, there was a plethora of male-authored practical guides, with David Swenson’s The Practice Manual ruling supreme, however, female-authored books were more to do with the subtle aspects of the yoga practice than asanas. Don’t get me wrong, the meditative side of yoga is now a firm part of my practice, but three years ago, I wanted to know the quickest way to bind in Marichyasana C not how to stimulate my chakras.

So why do I make the identification between male and female-authored books? In an Ashtanga class, students will notice the usual 70/30 (give or take) ratio of women to men, but the literature, workshops, and figureheads of the Ashtanga tradition is probably 80/20 men to women, which in no way represents actual practitioners. Given that the practice of yoga is aimed at uniting the masculine (Shiva, consciousness) and feminine (Shakti, energy) parts that make us who we are, the resources on the Ashtanga tradition as it stands is firmly governed by Shiva with Shakti occasionally getting a look-in.

And this is where The Power of Ashtanga Yoga steps in.

Taught directly by Pattabhi Jois during her countless visits to Mysore, Kino is one of only 14 people in the United States to receive Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga, so is well-placed to be writing a 217-page book on the practice. Split into Part One: Theory, and Part Two: Practice, Kino’s knowledge of the former and its application to the latter is thorough, academic but experiential. In her trademark colourful style, she explains the history and tradition of Ashtanga Yoga before highlighting how the method taps into and cuts through our habitual modes of being to help us reveal who we really are.

In less than 57 pages, she shuns the airy-fairy rhetoric often written on yoga but stops short of bogging the reader down in detail to convey the complicated and subtle side of Ashtanga Yoga. Her explanation of the tristana method (gaze, breath and posture) unique to Ashtanga clearly explains before emphasises the importance of not getting so fixated on the asana that we forget to breathe and focus our gaze, thus miss the point on what Ashtanga is working us towards: the balance of the Shiva and Shakti within to create union and end the incorrect idea of dualism.

In Part One, Kino goes to great lengths to highlight the physical and spiritual benefits of a disciplined practice. Including her own experiences to encourage the reader to stay on the difficult Ashtanga path, it is almost as she is providing as much inspiration as possible before moving to Part Two which is the asana practice itself.

Forming the largest section of the book, Part Two is dedicated to the Primary Series, with illustrations of the posture and modifications included. The ‘how-to’ descriptions are thorough, with the occasional anecdote alongside a list of benefits included which act to spur the reader on whilst shouting: “Practice and all is coming!!!” Kino’s descriptions command attention to detail whilst labouring the points of breath and gaze, just in case the reader forgot/skipped the Theory section.

In the appendices, Kino goes that extra mile to include ‘cheat sheets’ including the vinyasa (breath and posture), gaze (drishti), and the Sanskrit count for every asana of the Primary Series, as well as the opening and closing chants. This added bonus at the end of the book is probably a good indication to the reader that they’re taking the practice up a notch when they begin and end their practice with an OM, and are concerned with the correct vinyasa.

Her dedication and passion for Ashtanga is truly conveyed in The Power of Ashtanga Yoga, however, in terms of usability, David Swenson’s The Practice Manual for me is still number one as the formatting allows the practitioner to quickly check the next step whilst attempting a new posture. That said, once a posture is familiar then this is where Kino steps in to provide more detail to Swenson’s instructions thus allowing us to fine tune the posture.

Perhaps as an act of recognition to the imbalance of gender representation in Ashtanga Yoga, Kino includes a small section entitled ‘The Quiet Strength of a Woman’s Body’ which explains the differing but equal strengths of the male and female physique. The inclusion of this small but important section works to encourage the female practitioner to modify the posture if the bosom is too large to do the binds, keep working on the lift-ups to increase strength, but most of all, embrace her femininity as part of a balanced yoga practice.

If the aim of Ashtanga Yoga is to create strength and flexibility in equal doses whilst working internally to maintain the balance between our inherent masculine and feminine aspects, then The Power of Ashtanga Yoga is a great resource to all practitioners, and a worthwhile contribution to the outward portrayal of the tradition itself.

Kino MacGregor is in Manchester on 13th August to teach a yoga workshop for everyone.

We will have copies of Kino’s book ‘The Power of Ashtanga Yoga’ available to buy at the workshop.

Charlene McAuley teaches the beginners workshops and yoga for sports class for Yoga Manchester.

Charlene McAuley


On the 12th July we are very excited to be hosting a weekend workshop with Ashtanga Yoga authority Tim Miller. This will be a rare occasion to study and practice with such an esteemed yogi click here for full details of the workshop.

Tim Miller has been studying and teaching Ashtanga Yoga for over thirty years and was the first American certified to teach by Pattabhi Jois at theAshtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. Tim has a thorough knowledge of this ancient system, which he imparts in a dynamic, yet compassionate and playful manner. Tim teaches workshops and retreats throughout the United States and abroad.

A word from Tim:

My goal as a teacher is to inspire a passion for practice. The practice itself, done consistently and accurately, is the real teacher.The practice of Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient and powerful discipline for cultivating physical, mental and spiritual health. Progressive techniques of breath, posture and movement, cleanse, stretch and strengthen the body as well as focus and calm the mind. A deeper experience of the self becomes possible through consistent practice.