The Most Important Lessons I Learned on the Yoga Mat
by Kino MacGregor
If you’ve been following me for awhile or been a student of mine online or in person, then you know that I love to teach strength poses in yoga. It might surprise you, but when I first started yoga I wasn’t naturally strong. That’s why these strength poses are so important to me and my personal yoga journey.
My very first impression of yoga was the headstand. I wanted nothing more than to be able to stand on my head. That’s what I thought yoga was: a fitness class of perfect, physically fit people standing on their heads. I quickly learned that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The yoga path is for everyone, and this is why representation is so important in yoga. When the yoga journey is presented as one image or one particular shape or size or color of body, it starts to exclude those who really want to learn the practice. Yoga students start to think they have to pose a certain way or look a certain way to be a real yogi, and it can be really hard to find the strength to stay on your mat.
But you have the strength! We all have the strength to get back on our mats and try these poses again and again and again. I wasn’t able to snap my fingers and be in a headstand. There were months of practice, of posing, of kicking yoga teachers in my attempt at inversion. And there were a lot of doubts. I doubted myself and my own strength and thought – there’s no way I can do this.
That’s when I turned to my yoga teacher. Yoga teachers – in fact, all teachers have the uncanny ability to believe in their students, even when that student doesn’t believe in itsself. That faith started as a tiny seed, a tiny voice that shouted “Yes I can!” through the doubt, and it eventually bloomed into the strength I use today, both on and off my yoga mat.
The lessons I learned of lifting myself into a headstand carry through to my daily life. I have the strength to lift myself up from negative emotions or cycles of self-doubt, and I’ve learned to trust in this strength as well. Don’t sell yourself short just because you don’t think you can be any stronger than you are right now in this moment. I’m here to tell you now that you are strong enough, you just need to put in the effort to see your strength. Are you willing to work for it?
Practice with Kino MacGregor in her Astanga Yoga Weekend Workshop on 10, 11 and 12 September 2021 in Amsterdam.
Kino MacGregor is one of a select group of people to receive the Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga by its founder Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India. The youngest woman to hold this title, she has completed the challenging Third Series and is now learning the Fourth Series.