I cut my Ashtanga teeth on Kino’s Primary Series DVD which came out around the time I started practicing. I reviewed it and several women doing ashtanga dvds here on the blog way back when—man, that seems like a million years ago. In addition, I’ve watched and benefited from dozens of her short how-to Youtube videos that focus on specific poses. Really, this is a fabulous time to be a home yogi! And Kino is no small part of that.
Yogavibes has dozens of teachers and styles and hundreds of classes recorded, wow. You could do a different class every day for years, I think, and never repeat, if you were into that. Anyway, they have a 14 day free trial, so heck, with nothing to lose, I signed up and have done a different Kino class each day this week.
I think she’s adding a new class each week (so ambitious!). Some quickie reviews of the classes I tried this week:
*****BEST OF THE BEST: Core Strength: Lift off and Jump back. This video is TERRIFIC. I would put glitter and rainbows on it if I could and if it wouldn’t be horrifically annoying. But seriously, this is the best of all the jumpback videos I have ever seen, and I have watched them ALL, no lie. From unknowns to master teachers, this one tops the cake. The problem with just about all of them is that the increase in difficulty from walking back to jumping back (or jumping through) is always too big. This video breaks it down in a way I’ve never seen before, bit by bit, with strength training for each segment. I’ve been doing Primary for nearly five years and I’ve never felt my stomach muscles burn and work the way I did in this video. This one is totally on repeat for me. FIVE STARS. *roaring applause*
Ashtanga Yoga Basics: Sun Salutations and Standing. Easy going, a quick, 30 minutes worth of Primary, nice. I probably wouldn’t repeat since I already know the practice, but once through was interesting, another take on the mechanics of the poses, reminders to suck in the belly, etc. A good starting point for someone thinking about getting into Ashtanga.
Yoga Arm Balances. 30 minutes of working up to Vasisthasana, or one armed side plank, holding the upper toe, you know the one, they’re always doing it on the cover of Yoga Journal. Let me tell you, this little sequence KICKED MY ASS. I kind of loved it. I don’t do Advanced A so I don’t have Vasisthasana in my regular practice, but I have been throwing in some planks and side planks lately, trying to get stronger. Kino breaks it down and builds it up, bit by bit, the way she did the more complicated jumping back and through video. I was quivering jelly by the end. Very good.
Opening Your Inner Thighs. Very easy, a baby Primary with a 3 each of the Surys, part of standing, a few seated, part of finishing. A dip-your-toes-into-Ashtanga practice. I didn’t get a lot of inner thigh opening, but then I’m used to more of Primary than this—actually, I kept pausing to throw in some of the skipped poses, haha, my body is just too used to the sequence, it feels weird to leave things out. Again, probably for someone just trying out Ashtanga.
Complete Yoga Core Strength….I want to do this one next, I’ll post here when I finish.
Ashtanga Yoga Primary for Beginners. This is a lovely practice, all the bits and pieces (surys, vinyasas, no missing poses) of Primary up to Janu Sirsasana A. Super friendly, supportive, “No stress!” Lots of beginner options along the lines of do this, if that’s easy move to this, if you can do that move to this. A bit of backbending, finishing. She includes the opening and closing chants and just a general mood of “you can do it!” and supportive talk and tips for beginners. High recommended for people ready to dig into Primary but without the endurance yet for the whole thing.
Asthanga Yoga Primary in Warsaw. Long. Wow. A two hour Primary showing a class of strong ashtangis. I nearly died. While I can happily do a whole Primary in 75 minutes or so, it’s clear that I just don’t have the endurance to do a two hour version. It’s the same poses, but staying in them longer, gah, I was about to quit several times. I kind of limped through the end. Clear instruction, interesting to hear her give a few instructions to individual people in the class (since she’s miced the whole time), plus the gal in the front has a gorgeous practice, bet they cherry picked her to be up front and I’m glad. This is probably not a repeater for me since I rarely give two hours to yoga a day, but I’m glad I worked through it once.
A bunch of others, sheesh, I just don’t have the time.
Bottom line, wow, what a resource. I poked around a little on Yogavibes, looks like Michael Gannon has a class, Ana Forrest has a section (I’ve always had a girl crush on her), there are just a TON of classes. I’m pretty happy with my little Ashtanga practice and not looking to branch out, really, but it’s interesting to shake it up every now and then. Yogavibes is a totally affordable ($20 a month after the trial, about the cost of a class a month) way to do that.
P.S. Kino ROCKS. Thank you so much, Kino, for all your work! From a home ashtangi here in central North Carolina, my practice would be much poorer without you.