Now 41, Bryan Kest has been practicing yoga for more than 26 years. He initially studied in Hawaii with David Williams, the first person to bring Ashtanga yoga to America. He then studied in India with K. Pattabhi Jois, the main proponent of Ashtanga yoga. Kest has been teaching yoga for 21 years. “My primary objective”, says Kest, “besides turning more and more people on to a healthier, more peaceful lifestyle that continually challenges them to grow, is to teach a system of exercise that fully integrates the body, mind, and spirit.
The new trend towards yoga is not surprising, given that the body is limited and the mind is limitless. The combination of body and mind creates an incredibly broad range of fulfillment, including top physical condition and a calm, peaceful, clear mind.”
The body talks to us in the language of sensation! It says, “that feels good” and “that does not.” The reason for this is to keep us safe. Why would we not listen to what we are feeling? How far we go in a pose should be directly related to how it feels and whether we can breathe free, not holding the breath and straining. Remember there is no proof that looser people are healthier or happier people. So we are not trying to get loose, we are trying to get well or maintain wellness. That will not happen if we do not honor what we are feeling. This is not a sport. There is no proof that athletes are healthier or happier people. In my experience, health is a state of balance brought about by moderation among other things. Moderation is the opposite of being extreme. And happiness is a state of mental balance. Not craving and clinging, but accepting who we are and where we are at, instead of rejecting where we are at in a constant pursuit to get somewhere. Most people bring their craving and clinging mentality into the yoga class, and then the practice is polluted. In yoga class and maybe in life, let the practice be, “I am not trying to get anywhere, I am trying to make it OK to be where I am at” because I love myself and value my process!!
– Bryan Kest