A few weeks ago, My mom and I took a little road trip to Asheville, North Carolina for an Ashtanga Yoga workshop with the one and only Kino MacGregor. For those of you who aren’t into yoga, Kino is a famous yoga teacher who is actually one of the first women granted the title of Ashtanga yoga teacher. She studied for many years with a famous yogi named Guruji and over the last decade has basically become a yoga MASTER. She’s traveled back and forth to Mysore, India learning from the original masters of Ashtanga, how cool is that? So when I found out that she was going to be holding a workshop only a four hour drive from me, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be there. I didn’t want to go alone so I signed my Mama up for the workshop as well.
We drove up the night before and checked into our hotel right in downtown Asheville (the yoga center was walking distance which was perfect). We were so excited to be on a mini vacation and to have some nice quality time, just the two of us. My mom and I have a tradition of going on a trip together every year in May since our birthdays are 2 weeks apart. The first year we went to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and had a blast. The next year, I was volunteering at an orphanage in Ecuador for a month so we decided to get a little crazy and meet up in Peru. We had the most amazing trip ever exploring Lima and of course the magnificent Machu Picchu!
At Machu Picchu!
Well since then, we haven’t been able to keep up with our little mother daughter tradition – life just gets in the way sometimes, with busy schedules, babies being born, weddings being planned and daughters living across the world in other countries. So finally, after 3 years we finally had another trip to ourselves! So while I was stoked to take a class led by Kino, the part I was most excited about was having my Mama all to myself for 2 days.
Heading to class
Anyway back to the yoga thing. So friday night we had an amazing Italian meal with pasta, red wine, homemade bread and a giant slice of cheesecake (great diet before two days of yoga I know). The next morning we woke up bright and early and walked to the Asheville Yoga Center. Kino came in and we started our first of four classes for the weekend. Since I practiced Ashtanga in Italy – and did my teacher training in the Ashtanga style, I know the deal. It gets sweaty, it gets tough and sometimes you just want to stop and take a nap on your mat for the next hour but you push through and you always feel amazing in the end. Well my mom.. she practices yoga. Like at a gym in North Raleigh. She goes when she feels like it and practices a different sequence every time she goes. So when she found herself in the middle of a 2 hour traditional Ashtanga primary series class she was a little shell shocked, to say the least. I mean I was dying within the first 30 minutes also don’t get me wrong, but I at least knew what to expect. For example, before we even got to our second set of sun salutations a woman passed out twice and had to be escorted out of the room.
Not looking too shabby after 4 hours of Yoga
I’ll give it to my mama though she is a warrior! She pulled through and did the entire two hour sequence without hardly any extra rests. This woman is amazing! Even the experienced practitioners at the end were getting tired. It didn’t help that this tiny room was PACKED OUT with yogis. The rule for setting up our mats was no more than 3 fingers apart from each other. With this many bodies in one tiny, closed off room with 2 lousy fans, things got a little hairy. For example, so many people were breathing and moving and sweating that by the time the class was over, everyone was laying in a giant pool of each others sweat. (cute. right?) When leaving the room, people had to tip toe out so they wouldn’t slip and fall on the soaking wood floor. (yummy). Well to say the least we were pretty beat at the end of that sequence. We were also sweaty, hungry and tired. Day one, class one down. 3 more to go? We didn’t know if we could handle it but we had a two hour break so we decided we’d figure our shit out then. We ran back to the hotel and showered instantly. Then scarfed down some noodle soup and spring rolls and headed back to our human sauna maker.
My fortune after our 2 hour class! #irony
Well the next 3 classes were a lot more relaxed so we were thanking Kino for that. She talked more about philosophy and the history of Ashtanga and then we broke down a select number of poses and just worked through them over and over. Before we knew it, 2 days and 8 hours of Ashtanga had gone by… I completed my first workshop with Kino MacGregor! Brillant.
Kino doing her thing
All in all, my mom and I had such a wonderful time just being together, and enjoyed the fact that we had each other so we didn’t feel dumb not being able to jump in handstands and balance on our forearms like everyone else in the class seemed to be able to do so effortlessly. At least we can say we tried! Kind of. yeah actually we just watched and even watching them made me too tired.
Martinis and pasta for dinner
I am thankful that we were able to practice alongside some wonderful and talented yogis and that I had the opportunity to see Kino in the flesh, and know that no, none of her instagram pics are photoshopped.
So thanks Kino for spreading your knowledge with the world, and for allowing us neophytes to step into your classroom. Namaste.
The perfect anecdote to a hard weekend of Yoga