Bryan Kest has been practising Yoga for 30 years, coined the term “Power Yoga” and has many thousands of followers worldwide. Bryan’s visiting Australia to present several workshops, one of which will be hosted by local business Yoga Avenue at Sundowner Tiona on August 28. This class will fill quickly … so if you’re interested in a unique and complete mind/body experience, check it out!
Hi Bryan. You’re visiting Australia very soon for a series of Power Yoga workshops – one of which will be at Forster. What will you be teaching in these workshops?
I’m going to be teaching what I call a Power Yoga Masterclass; that’s basically as much Power Yoga as I can fit in a 2.5 hour class. There’ll be a lecture that gives everybody an introduction to Yoga and Power Yoga as well. Then there’ll be a physical class, where we have the chance to take what we talked about in the introduction and integrate it into an activity. Finally, there’ll be a meditation, where we’ll be practising what we were talking about during the first hour.
Is this class suitable for all levels of students?
They are for all levels; I make the classes very accessible, so they’re definitely for everyone.
You began practising Yoga when you were only 14; whereas, many people seem to take it up a little later in life. What led you to discover Yoga?
My father had a bad back, and someone recommended he do Yoga – and he really gelled with it. It became something he really wanted his children to do, so he highly encouraged us to do it too…
You were fortunate enough to travel to India to further your Yoga studies. What was the most valuable knowledge you took away from your experience in India?
I took so much away from it, but I think the thing that I took away the most was that Yoga is not a physical practice; it’s really a state of mind and a meditation practice. The physical stuff, ultimately, is really just Eastern Calisthenics and if you don’t bring meditative qualities into the Calisthenics, then they’re not Yoga. But if the Calisthenics are done with meditative qualities, then they’re called Yoga Asana.
What do you feel is the biggest benefit Yoga produces?
Yes, for sure – if it’s not meditative, it’s not Yoga. There’s no correlation between physical exercise and Yoga – that’s a complete American invention. You can’t find it in India. 99.99 per cent of Yoga in India has nothing to do with physicality; it’s all to do with different types of meditation and devotional practices.
It’s really an American invention and the rest of the world has copied … the little bit of physical Yoga you do get in India, was just meant as an exercise, because Yogis were meditating all day long and their bodies were falling apart. They had to create exercises to get the blood flowing, but even for them it was just exercise.
Your website: bryankest.com is very interactive. Can people really just access your site and find a class to suit their schedule?
Ever since I heard about the internet …15 … 18 years ago, the idea came to mind that I wanted to do this, but it took a while for technology to catch up to the idea, because the bandwidth wasn’t wide enough to stream content. But now we can stream content, so it’s time to start bringing Yoga to the world! I have classes in Los Angeles that are packed … We have a camera in the room and record the classes and put them online, so now people all over the world can do classes – almost exactly the same as if they were in Santa Monica. You roll your mat out, and basically you’re a student in my class …
I’ll talk you through the routines, just like I talk people in my classes through the routines, and if there are any issues, you can just look up at the screen and see what we’re doing …
You’ve now been practising Yoga for around 30 years. There must have been some big changes in not only how Yoga is practised, but in how people perceive Yoga these days?
I feel it’s become less dogmatic, and people are branching out and becoming more creative with it. When I first started, there was no such thing as music in a Yoga class … Now, 90 per cent of the classes have music. Really, physically speaking, there were only three forms of Yoga: Iyengar, Ashtanga and Bikram … And now there are 50 forms! People are expanding upon it and bringing their own interests and creativity into it. So basically, Yoga is continuing to do what it’s always done … which is evolve beautifully. People are realising also after years of physical practice that physical practice is limited …
Final words …
I want to let everyone know that if you come to the class in Forster, you’re going to learn how to bring meditation techniques into your daily life by learning how to bring them into your physical exercises AND you’re going to get the best physical exercise you’ve ever had in your entire life, because there’s no other exercise you can imagine that touches every single place in your body.
We all know that the integrity of a web depends on the resilience of every strand; you have to take care of your whole self – not just the places that affect you aesthetically. When you brush your teeth, you brush every tooth – not just the front teeth.
When you do this class, you’re going to get a very dynamic practice that’s going to touch every place in your body, and you’re going to walk out feeling physically tingling from your head to your toes …You’ll really walk out feeling like you’ve had a complete mind/body experience.
THE PLUG: One-off Bryan Kest Power Yoga Class in Forster. Includes a talk on the history of yoga (approx. 1 hour), plus a Power Yoga class (approx. 1.5 hours) and meditation. The class is open to all levels.
WHEN Friday 28 August 2015 from 6:30pm – 9:30pm. WHERE Sundowner Tiona Conference Centre @ 4451 The Lakes Way, Pacific Palms. (Sundowner Tiona has offered a 25% discount on accommodation for people wishing to stay on site. BOOKINGS www.yoga-nrg.com
0439 418 571 Email. firstname.lastname@example.org. Or contact Karen Farrell @ Yoga Avenue: 0425 275 611.
Photos by Jalal Pashandi and Nate Funk