Bryan Kest: Yoga is Not a Physical Practice

(Bryan Kest and I after his Master Class at Yoga on Yamhill)

“Yoga doesn’t look at you like you’re wrong, it honors you, it respects your process.” ~Bryan Kest

A couple weeks ago Bryan Kest walked in to a packed class of yogis at Yoga on Yamhill eagerly rooted on our mats waiting for his wisdom.

Bryan began by talking about what Yoga really is, how it truly serves us as individuals and as a community. He focused on the reality that Yoga is not a physical practice, that Yoga does not care what we do, but how we do it- with awareness.

Best of all Bryan is down to mother earth and real with every word. He spoke of the need to recognize our state of mind, and feed the qualities that free us from our agendas- compassion, love, being gentle.

“Life is the Teacher, Your Life is the Teaching”, Bryan said as he let out a satisfied burp (like I said, Bryan is real!) 🙂 After a round of giggles, Bryan continued by saying that instead of seeing others as our teachers we should look to ourselves as the teacher and be accepting. Sounds much better than strengthening the negative shit by judging ourselves, but instead eradicating that shit! (as Bryan would say)

The best past of it all? The flowing meditative practice that brought it all together. Bryan led us through a dynamic class, offering suggestions on how to explore our own practice, mind and body. There was a moment I will always remember when during a balance pose, Bryan was right next to me saying that he wanted all of us to f-ing fall; “because don’t we learn more from falling that staying in some pose like a statue?”. Wonderful in so many ways!

So how do we as a community embrace yoga as it is meant to be? Without judgement, without competition, but rather with stillness; etching the yogic qualities into our minds, our neighborhoods, our yoga community that supports us all.

Since we can’t all take Bryan’s powerfully omazing classes everyday, how do you embrace yoga beyond physical practice?