We sat down with the teacher of teachers, Jonny Kest, and talked about why yoga is so important in America, how yoga helps at-risk children, and the one thing he can't live without.
How did you start your journey of being a yoga teacher?
My father shared with me his Vinyasa practice at the age of 12, and I’ve been practicing ever since!
SG: Describe your style of teaching yoga, and how being inclusive is a huge part of it’s power and national success.
JK: Our style of teaching allows students to flow at a speed and intensity that is best for each individual, instead of micro managing and controlling every breath and asana of a class. Something that we find very helpful and meaningful during our classes is the idea of using the posture to get into the body, rather than using the body to get into the posture.
SG: Your mission is to introduce the practice of yoga to as many people and platforms as possible. How has LifePower helped you to achieve this on such a monumental national and world scale?
JK: Previously I was only teaching out of my hometown of metro Detroit! But now with over 120 locations across the U.S. and Canada, we’re excited to share that LifePower Yoga introduces yoga to more Americans than any other organization. By spreading the practice and teaching of yoga to as many people as possible, we can have a positive influence on a wider spread community across the U.S. and the world.
SG: You have been called the Teacher of Teachers. What does this mean for you, and how do you bring your style to teaching to the next generation of yoga teachers?
JK: I love teaching yoga, however my true calling and passion is teaching others how to teach yoga! Often times when students come to our workshops, they are bogged down by so many limiting beliefs and myths about themselves and yoga. For me, teaching teachers is really about helping the next generation of teachers to break free from those old beliefs and limitations and unlocking their infinite potential!
SG: America is a society of quick fixes and numbing meditations. How does yoga strive to awaken not only the body, but the human spirit to it’s original state of sensual expression and radiant existence?
JK: Yes, as a culture, we are constantly being numbed. The practices of yoga help to stimulate and sensitize our minds and bodies in a progressive way. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual place here you can develop greater self awareness, acceptance and love….transforming oneself and thus the world!
SG: Yoga, in it’s most simple and pure form, is a practice of relationships; relationships with your self, your body, your mind, your soul, your fellow yogis, and your community at large. How has yoga transformed your relationship with your self and the world around you?
JK: Yoga has give me innumerable insight into different ways to experience relationships, may they be with others, the world, or myself. Because of my relationship with yoga, I have cultivated a more powerful, penetrating intimacy with food, nature and all sensual beings.
SG: Who have been your most influential yoga teachers and mentors in your life?
JK: Both my mom and dad have supported me on a path of yoga and meditation and have had the greatest influence on me!
SG: Tell us a little about how you are bringing Yoga to your hometown of Detroit.
JK: I have been volunteering as a yoga teacher for years in the Detroit public schools and juvenile detention facilities. Here, we try to create a safe haven built on trust, respect, and understanding to the youth of Detroit that have grown up without any of these important opportunities. Now we’re excited to explore opening a yoga studio downtown Detroit!
SG: You use yoga as a tool to help high risk kids to cope with life traumas. What about the practice of yoga is so helpful in this kind of healing practice?
JK: Its gives the kids a way to self-soothe and calm down the fluctuations of their mind. Yoga is a tool to bring self-respect and an inner dialogue that encourages kids to break the cycle of violence and suffering.
SG: Share with us your favorite mantra:
JK: Things don’t happen to you, They happen for you!
SG: What is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
JK: My breath
For more on Jonny and LifePower teacher training programs, visit LifePower.com
And join Jonny for his summer retreat
End Of Summer Immersion with Jonny Kest
Laguna Niguel, CA
scroll down and click 'register here'
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