Posts Tagged ‘brian kest’

I’m in Michigan visiting some family this week and have the treat of taking yoga at the Center for Yoga.  I started taking class at this studio when I was 13 years old and have watched the studio evolve over the last 10 years.  Michigan wasn’t exactly a hot spot for yoga a decade ago and when this studio first opened it didn’t draw a huge crowd.  But once the trend started to spread from New York and Los Angeles, more and more people started to attend.  Johnny Kest owns the Center for Yoga, which now has several locations in southeastern Michigan.  Johnny has always been a great instructor- but his style and studios have drastically changed throughout the years.  Hands down, Johnny teaches the best yoga classes I have ever been to in any city, in any country.

Thus far, I’ve been to 2 classes, one with Jane James who is great and another similar class with a teacher who’s name I don’t know.  Johnny’s name was the schedule for both classes, but he didn’t teach- maybe he’s out of town?  Regardless of the time of day, vinyasa classes are always packed.  They play great music and bring entirely different meaning to “flow”.  As the teachers go through basic sun salutations they build on each sequence with several postures until you are left with a long series of asanas.  And by long, I mean long- its actually difficult to remember the entire series, which I’m sure is sort of the point.  After the instructor leads the class through the series once or twice, they crank the music and let you flow on your own.  No one is ever doing the same thing, but it doesn’t matter, this is the beauty of these classes.  No consistent practitioner needs to be walked through a pose every class- its often nice to sort of be left alone with your practice.  Beginners should start elsewhere- I would imagine that the lack of instruction in these vinyasa classes would be very frustrating.  The majority of the hour and a half is spent moving and abs, back bends and inversions all are incorporated in the sequence.  It makes the time pass quickly and feels less rigid than a class that breaks down into categories.

However, without going into all of the odd cultural nuances that go on in the suburbs of Detroit, I cannot help but comment on the total INSANITY of the people that go to this studio.  The women in these classes have the sickest bodies I have ever seen, anywhere, literally every single person in the class looks amazing.  But there is this total weird cult-ish vibe that completely skeeves me out!  Johnny Kest has a style- every teacher does.  But the teachers at this studio seem to take on the essence of Johnny Kest- they talk like him, use his catch phrases, take on his intonation, dress like him, move like him, crouch like him!!!!  It is so bizarre!  The majority of people in his classes are well-to-do housewives, but maintain this combination Stepford/hare krishna mentality.  The last time I was in Michigan, I managed to squeeze in one of Johnny’s classes where they actually had to fill 2 studios to accommodate everyone who showed up.  I have no problem with that, but this guy’s ego was hard to not be hit by- he whoops loud noises for no reason, talks crazy talk… dude, it was an experience.  I only hope that he will be in to teach tomorrow morning!


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