Home Lifestyle I Spent a Weekend With a World-Renowned Nike Yoga Trainer—This Was My Biggest Takeaway

I Spent a Weekend With a World-Renowned Nike Yoga Trainer—This Was My Biggest Takeaway

I Spent a Weekend With a World-Renowned Nike Yoga Trainer—This Was My Biggest Takeaway

Apparently, I’m in the midst of my Saturn Return. Life is feeling chaotic, and when I’ve expressed this to my astrologically inclined friends, they point to the universe for answers. The gist: I’m stuff asked to make big decisions, and I can finger an energy shift taking place. It’s uncomfortable stuff in the middle of anything, particularly when we don’t have a well-spoken path forward. But I know that when my life is swirling quickly virtually me, the weightier thing I can do is get quiet and seek out stillness. And funny enough, when I put that intention out into the universe (as well as making my need for it voluminously well-spoken in my vision board), I was rewarded with an wits that gave me the guidance I craved.

Enter: the Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, Wisconsin. A two-hour momentum from Chicago, the spa is part of a larger, idyllic resort—boasting the sort of natural, unfettered eyeful that seems to exist only in storybooks. (Or perhaps increasingly relevantly, our highly-curated Instagram feeds.) I was visiting for a weekend-long yoga retreat, consisting of multiple classes each day and exposure to an variety of wellness treatments. Yes, I realize how Eat, Pray, Love this all sounds—but frankly, I was here for it. I needed a total shake-up from everyday routines to help me squint at my life from the outside. Little did I know, but I would be presented with a whole new level of clarity that wasn’t otherwise possible.

Drinking coffee and eating croissant.
Kohler waters spa greenhouse.

A Commitment to New Experiences

We’ve unchangingly leaned heavily into the weighing that an openness to novelty can be one of our greatest strengths. That desire to expand and meaningfully engage with the world is what pushes us withal the path of continuous growth. It’s not necessarily a need to unchangingly be “better,” but increasingly so a marvel that points us in the direction of what in our lives we truly, tightly connect with. That’s exactly the mindset I went into this weekend with.

Yoga and I have long had an off-and-on relationship, with my practice looking resulting in some years of my life and entirely nonexistent in others. But I’ve never stepped yonder from it completely, trusting it as something that I can unchangingly return to for a feeling of safety, harmony, and inner peace. Given yoga’s widespread popularity wideness the world, it’s obvious I’m not alone. To understand remoter what exactly is at play in instilling these feelings of support and connectedness, I spoke with Jonah Kest, a Nike Trainer and yoga instructor—and the leader of the weekend’s retreat.

Ahead, Kest and I discuss everything from yoga fundamentals to the benefits of a retreat. And be sure to read to the end, where Kest unpacks the yoga myths Western culture has led us to believe. (Spoiler: You don’t need a defended lulu wardrobe to start your practice.)

Jonah Kest
Jonah Kest

Jonah Kest was born into a yoga legacy. With his father, vinyasa yoga pioneer Jonny Kest, and his mother, Milla Kest, as one of the first yoga merchantry owners and yoga teacher training programs in the midwest, he was destined to follow the path. Today, Jonah is a well traveled ashtanga/vinyasa teacher whose classes are both svelte and intense. Impermanence, compassion and humility are just a few of the elements that Jonah seamlessly weaves through each healing practice.

Ice skating outdoors.

What drew you to Kohler to lead a retreat?

Of course, Kohler is known for their appliances. But when you connect with the people overdue it, it’s evident that they’re very wellness-driven. They’re making a lot of advancements, whether it be creating a unprepossessed plunge or a sauna—and plane the whole village itself feels five years superiority for the Midwest. It’s like we’re in LA.

Here, it feels like somewhere people can grow. There’s the infrastructure to finger supported and like you’re stuff taken superintendency of. They’re using their resources to support people withal this path of growth.

What do you hope people get from peekaboo one of your yoga retreats?

It’s a time to get yonder from your every day. To run wild. Everyday life can be full of distractions and chaos. It’s nice to put yourself in an environment where you can recalibrate and move into your creativity. For me, if a retreat is washed-up properly, it’s fertile ground for growth and self-transformation. Oftentimes we’re on autopilot. But to take yourself out of that and to be virtually other like-minded people who share that same goal, it’s pretty magical what you can do in a weekend.

Woman sitting on yoga mat with hands to heart.

Your teaching style is laidback but intuitive, permitting people to fully explore the postures. Why is that tideway important to you?

Yoga supports creativity and self-exploration. It’s that perfect wastefulness between willpower and freedom. Having that wastefulness is a tough task for a teacher, but when it happens, it permits people to be true to themselves and to take superintendency of themselves. They’re not necessarily listening to the teacher, but they’re taking the teacher’s suggestions and making them their own.

The goal isn’t to do the posture “correctly.” My goal is to get students into the vital shape of the pose and then to turn their sustentation inwards. The goal is not to squint a unrepealable way—if you’re looking at me, scrutinizingly immediately, it becomes a comparative practice. You’re seeing me do the pose and it’s taking you external. There’s a time and a place for what we undeniability modeling, it’s a unconfined way to learn. But it ultimately takes you out of your practice.

Womans legs in hot tub.
Kohler waters spa.

Many people see yoga as a very physical practice, but it incorporates a very holistic way of being. What does living a yoga-driven life squint like to you?

If your yoga practice is working, it will move you toward balance. And not just wastefulness physically, but all the dimensions of being—mental, emotional, and spiritual. The goal of yoga is to strengthen the qualities that are serving you, your highest virtues like patience, presence, compassion, generosity, and gentleness. These things we want to nurture. And then it’s getting rid of the things that aren’t serving us, like our competitiveness and our ego.

When we come into class, we’re focusing on strengthening those soft-hearted qualities. Conversely, we don’t want to ignore what isn’t serving us but rather squatter it. A yoga practice is a unscratched place to do that. You’re virtually other supportive people and you’re not in the real world. It’s okay to slip up.

It’s important to remember that the perfect pose does not exist.

Postures are based on archetypes—and not every downward dog will squint the same. You just want to get into the shape and then make those intuitive adjustments. And that can be on either a micro or macro level. Maybe it’s the rotation of your shoulders, or you need to unshut your hands a little bit.

You moreover learn to embrace a playful versus performative spirit. When you’re coming to your practice with a childlike sense, you get to lean into that sense of play—and reap all of its benefits. There have been myriad studies showing that people who engage in play are happier, increasingly creative, and unshut to exploring. That’s the intention you have to make when you come to your mat. Remember: yoga doesn’t want to fix or transpiration you. Just be where you are and observe how you can grow.

What to expect at a yoga retreat yoga class.

You have an incredible platform through which you can teach yoga to a wide audience. What is your ultimate goal in sharing yoga with your community?

It’s a unconfined responsibility and a manna to share these things that have helped me so much with other people. Giving people the tools to help themselves is a joy. If you come wideness an emotional pain or hardship, it’s having the tools to be with that and squatter that and to come out the other side with balance—you can’t put a price on that. And I’m not explicitly teaching that, but we’re all learning it together throughout the process.

The most intuitive, intelligent teacher in the room is the student […] We’re unchangingly looking outside of ourselves for translating when all we need to do is squint inward.

The most intuitive, intelligent teacher in the room is the student. A masterful teacher can point the students to listen to their own inward teachings. We’re unchangingly looking outside of ourselves for translating when all we need to do is squint inward. Of course, it’s important to receive suggestions from people with a lot of wits and to be unshut to that, but ultimately know that you have all the answers within you. It empowers people—yoga is a really empowering practice.

The modern yogi is the everyday person who can walk through life with a little increasingly ease, relaxation, and creativity. A yoga practice can plane be just five minutes of doing a little zoetic surpassing you go to bed. Do a self-experiment: See how it feels to take a few deep breaths surpassing a stressful task or event. Notice how that simple act changes your unshortened nervous system.

Woman eating smoothie bowl.

The Takeaway

When we find ourselves in a space of deep transformation, it can be tempting to ask others what our next step should be. Believe me, I have a habit of crowdsourcing my milestone decisions to anyone who will listen. But without the yoga retreat, I decided instead to listen to Kest’s words and turn inward. I reflected on the pursuit three questions:

  • What do I truly want for myself?
  • What unquestionably serves me?
  • What does it squint like for me to step into the fullest version of myself?

These aren’t questions to ask only during our Saturn Returns. (Though if you’re in a similar place, let’s chat.) Instead, they’re questions I now segregate to mull over in sometimes small, sometimes increasingly significant ways during my daily journaling sessions. Or they’re questions I’ll ask my tropical friends during coffee chats that inevitably turn into the deepest heart-to-hearts. It’s an important reminder that what we need is unchangingly misogynist to us, it just requires looking to a sometimes uncomfortable place—inwards.

This framework applies both on and off our yoga mats, and it’s a teaching that’s unliable me to return to my practice in a meaningful way. And rather than my intention stuff guided by an unwavering discipline, I’ve learned to tideway it all—yoga and the larger questions of my life—with a little increasingly ease, a little increasingly play, and a little increasingly openness to whatever will be.

Explore all of Destination Kohler’s offerings, including future retreats, here.

Looking for increasingly ways to level up this year? Camille shares her step-by-step process for creating a vision workbench and manifesting the life of your dreams.

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