After travelling with Bryan Kest on his Australian Tours since 2010, Tammy Williams (Founder of Yoga NRG) asks Bryan to share his wisdom on some of the key questions often asked by students and other Yoga Teachers as they go through their Yoga journey.
Ever wondered are the Yoga Postures really important in Yoga?
How can we master the art of KISS… How can we teach our kids?
+ What does Bryan have to say about so called Gurus taking advantage of their position ?
1. You talk about Yoga wanting to free us from our agenda. What are some ways to identify our agenda (How do you identify it in yourself)?
The key is awareness. And as you start to become aware, as Socrates taught us: know thyself. You start to become aware of the type of thought you have and how you are, and then you can decide whether those type of thoughts and actions are harming you or helping you.
2. You’ve mentioned the largest factor that affects us is the place where our mind dwells. You’ve also mentioned: “The problem is when you think you have to do more than you need to” – can you talk about this in regard to both the physical and mental sides of Yoga?
The largest factor is the place that your mind dwells, because your mental state is the precursor to your reality. So, you know, your reality is nothing more but a reflection of your mind state, so, you know, if you want more benevolence in your reality, then you have to have more benevolence in your mind, and the part two of that question—the harder you are at anything, the faster you’ll wear it out. So, you know, gentleness is the key. The physical side is, you wanna be aware of how aggressive you are, how challenging you are, and how hard you’re pushing yourself, because like I just said, the harder you’re at anything, the faster you’ll wear it out. So, you gotta make sure that the rat race is not slipping into your yoga practice or you’re judging, you know, you’re comparing, you’re competing, you’re grunting, you’re straining, you’re pushing, I mean, none of those qualities are healing.
3. You speak about wondering “How do I get this shit out of me” re jealousy, judgement, comparison, gossip …. do you think Yoga gets rid of it or helps you get “rid” of it or helps you not react to those feelings (and that they still will arise regardless of you practicing yoga?)
Yoga doesn’t get rid of it, you get rid of it, and you get rid of it using yogic techniques, which is, become aware of it and stop feeding it mental energy and conscious loyalty, and the planetary law says, if you don’t give it food, it starves and dies. This is the way to get rid of it.
4. What advice would you give someone to help them “Let Go” in times of grief and loss?
Bring your attention to the breathing. Have them pull their attention away from where they’re focused, and bring them back to their breath. It doesn’t make the grief go away, because the grief isn’t intellectual, but it lessens the grief because you’re not focused on the grief, you’re focused on your breath, and you’re not allowing the grief to affect you in a negative way, because you’re not reacting so much to the grief, you’re keeping your focus on your breathing.
5. What has helped you to trust your own process?
Because I see the perfection in nature, and I am part of nature.
6. I notice you spend a good amount of time setting up your class for people to “shift gears” mentally, what are your own daily practices of shifting gears, slowing down and keeping it simple?
The same thing I do in class, you know? For me, yoga is no longer on the yoga mat, it is every moment of my life, and I try to bring the principles of yoga into all my interactions and moments of my day.
7. How do you teach your kids the KISS method?
I set the example. Kids don’t learn with words, they learn by watching, so I walk my talk, and that’s the teaching.
8. You have often described Yoga as “paying attention to your life.” Explain what asana has to do with this?
It doesn’t. Asana just has to do with taking care of your body.
9. What is your advice to teachers who experience competitiveness among fellow teachers, yoga being a growing industry?
I say, let he who has not sinned cast the first stone. So, the other teachers are competitive; don’t judge them, and keep walking your talk yourself.
10. I once heard Yoga should be ‘self-prescribed’ for it to have lasting benefit. Can you tell us a bit more about this given your introduction into yoga?
Yeah, you know, you can’t do yoga by force, and even though I was forced to do yoga in the beginning, I made the realization that I was benefitting, I made the choice to continue doing it, so, it is self-prescribed for me, I just had a forceful beginning.
11. In your classes you teach the sutras without actually identifying that. In my experience throughout your entire class you are full of philosophy that is from the Eight Limbs of Yoga, (non-violence, telling the truth etc.) Can you talk about how you come up with the dialogue for your class?
Is it inspired from traditional texts or not?
It is inspired from no text. It is inspired from my life.
12. You speak about Laws of Nature and yoga moving us to be in harmony with these laws…. What are they? And what are your tips for being in harmony with them?
There’s many laws in nature, too many to go over at this point, but you know, I’ve mentioned a few of them, like the harder you are at anything, the faster you wear it out, or if you give it food, it becomes strong, if you don’t give it food, it starves and dies, you know, what goes up, must come down, and knowing these laws, you can make decisions of what is appropriate for you, and that’s all I’m doing. And these laws are all around us, you see it in everything.
13. You have made the comment in your classes/talks “how do you learn from something you’re pushing away and hating” – what is your advice to help people deal with aversion then?
To look at challenging situations as your teacher, to understand that there is no growth without challenge, and so the challenges that they’re experiencing, they’re not bad, they’re good, they just don’t always feel good, and if you can see it as an opportunity, then you will embrace it instead of push it away, and if you embrace it, you can learn from it, but you can’t learn from something you’re hating and pushing away.
14. Can you talk about “Your benefits come from your effort not the acquisition “?
Yeah, because the benefits come from the experience you’re having, and if you’re making an effort to experience, that’s where the benefits are coming. There’s really no such thing as acquisition, you know, because the acquisition isn’t incessantly happening, you never quite acquire anything in totality, because there’s always more to acquire. So, there is no acquisition, there’s only an experience, and benefits will come from that.
15. You talk about addiction to our thinking (about other things) how important do you feel asana is in helping us move from distraction to direction?
Asana is a tool to keep the body healthy, That’s all. Okay, you think you can use asana, or you can use anything they’re involved in, as an opportunity to be fully focused on it. It’s not the asana.
16. Can you share why you decided on your business structure of donation rather than payment?
Because I wanna make it inclusive, not exclusive.
17. Are you ever challenged personally between giving unconditionally and putting boundaries and principles in place that help you look after your business?
Usually not, but maybe on occasion.
18. How important is asana, what advice would you give to those who maybe more inclined to just want to sit in meditation?
Asana is only important as a tool for physical maintenance, same as to those people who just are inclined to sit in meditation, do they not brush their teeth? I mean, you gotta brush your teeth for your teeth to be well, you gotta brush your shoulders, your knees, your hamstrings. Asana is just a way to maintain physical well-being. You know, do you use soap? Do you brush your teeth? I mean, without exercise on this sedentary planet we live in, then you know, things are gonna atrophy, dry up and blow away. You’re not gonna feel good; if you’re not gonna feel good, you’re not good to yourself or anybody else.
19. It has been highlighted lately the issue of gurus taking advantage of students, how is it that these people actually are able to help people in their teaching and yet do harm (do you think ‘human nature’ wins regardless of whether people do yoga or not?)
They help people, because they’re teaching them yoga and principles that are valid. They harm people because they’re not living those principles that they’re teaching themselves. It’s that simple.
You have a “Don’t fuck with me” attitude, it appears, yet you show a lot of compassion (in my experience so far of traveling with you while you are here on tour). What is the key to mastering this balance?
I don’t know; it’s just me. I’m just being me, and all I encourage anybody else to do is to be themselves. This is not about being anything other than what you are. You’re beautiful, and you’re perfect.
CLICK HERE TO BOOK FOR BRYANS AUSTRALIAN TOUR (Tickets left for Mackay and Forster only – all others sold out!)
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