Kino MacGregor is an international yoga teacher, author of three books, producer of six Ashtanga Yoga DVDs, writer, vlogger, world traveler, co-founder of Miami Life Center and founder of Miami Yoga Magazine.
At 19 years old Kino attended her first yoga class. She was hooked! 3 years later she joined a Mysore-style yoga class in New York city to learn more about the traditional Indian art of Ashtanga Yoga. After 7 months she traveled to Mysore, India to learn Ashtanga Yoga from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (“Guruji”). Over the course of the next 7 years Kino traveled back and forth to India to learn more about Ashtanga Yoga. After dedicating every waking moment to perfecting her craft, she eventually became certified by Guruji to teach Ashtanga Yoga.
In the upcoming years, Kino began building her yoga empire. With over 1 million social media followers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Kino has amassed a following that spans the entire globe.
This is her story:
Q: When and why did you fall in love with yoga?
A: I fell in love with Ashtanga Yoga after I took my first class. I still remember lying in the final relaxation after the class was finished feeling for the first time comfortable in my own skin, quietness in mind and love in my heart. I knew that I had found the answer to a question that I had been asking without even really being aware that I was asking.
Yoga is the promise of a more peaceful life. It is a physical discipline with a spiritual intention that offers a real, pragmatic path to transform every aspect of your life. It is a healing journey that mends old wounds of the heart and soul while teaching you how to build strength and equanimity.
Q: Prior to building your yoga business, did you have plans to go into a different profession or have you always had plans to become a yoga instructor?
A: Before committing my life to the spiritual tradition of yoga I was primarily an academic in school. I always thought I would pursue some sort of academic career, I never thought I would be a yoga teacher. As a child I wanted to do something that effected positive social change and make a difference in the world. I started teaching yoga primarily because people asked me to share what I learned in India after my first trip to study with my teacher Sri K Pattabhi Jois, more than 15 years ago.
Q: For those who are unfamiliar, what is the difference between Ashtanga Yoga and other more common forms of yoga?
A: Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic, physically challenging style of yoga that is based on the synergy between the breath, the posture and the focal point. The philosophical basis of the practice takes yoga to be a spiritual discipline that leads to the discovery to the true self within. While it can be adjusted and modified and made accessible to all levels there is a certain level of dedication and devotion that the practice asks of students.
Q: Beyond becoming just another yoga instructor, you've built a powerful personal brand online with over a million followers across all of your social media channels. When you first began posting content online, did you ever imagine you'd gain the following you have today?
A: While I never actually imagined having a large following for myself, I did have the intention to take the message of yoga as a spiritual path to a million people. Now I’d like to take that same message to a billion people.
Q: Gaining over a million social media followers is quite an accomplishment. How did you do it?
A: Through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga I’ve learned how to slowly work towards a goal without any expectation of the outcome. For example, when I first started the practice it was impossible for me to do a headstand. But I tried every day and within about a year I started to feel the results of the practice and find balance in headstand. Life is a mirror image of the practice. So I work at social media every day, posting everyday, chipping away at sharing my message in various forms just as I would chip away at working on a yoga pose. I believe that every success is really a gift that we receive, but that at the same time we have to humbly show up and put in the work every day.
Q: With so many other yoga instructors online and offline, what do you think entices people to follow you?
A: One of the most distinguishing features of my teaching is that I straddle two seemingly divergent worlds. I have spent more than 15 years making multiple trips to India to study the very traditional and disciplined method of Ashtanga Yoga. At the same time I am very much like the average American girl who loves shopping, make-up and fashion. My passion is to translate the lessons learned on the yoga mat into daily life so that we can change our world to a more peaceful place, one breath at a time.
Q: How has your social media following helped build your business?
A: Social media has give my message a much larger audience than simply publishing blogs or writing books. It allows me to engage authentically, directly and immediately with my audience in a meaningful way.
Q: Any exciting plans for the future?
A: My third book, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga II, is coming out this year. I have a few apps in development now and I’m currently working on a new online portal that will deliver yoga content in a new way.
Q: Any advice you can offer to those looking to build a blog, a business or a personal brand online?
A: Get clear on what your deeper values are and stick to that. Do not let money or fame be your motivation. Be humble and put in the work every day. Drop all sense of entitlement, impatience, self-pity, feeling like you’re not enough and slowly, steadily chip away at the task at hand. Small steps forward build up over time to what people see as a giant leap. Believe in yourself and your dream, even if you are the only one who believes in your dream.