Meet Power Yoga Master Kevin Collins

May 9, 2012 / William

Kevin Collins from Groove Yoga, Berkeley, will be joining forces with Yoga Belly this Saturday for another donation-based workshop benefiting Yoga Reaches Out with all proceeds going specifically to Children's Hospital in Oakland. Children's Hospital is the largest children's hospital not funded by a university and one who takes in any child in need of medical care.

We recently got Kevin to answer a few questions for us and to give our Yoga Belly peeps a chance to know a bit  about him before meeting him in person this Saturday:

1. If I had never taken your yoga class before, what can I expect from your class?

It's hard to say what you should expect from it. My class is pretty much intuitive, reacting to whats going on in the room and drawn from my 15 years of teaching, so I never know where it's going to go until we get in there and get going. I guess in general it will be physically intense but emotionally supportive. My philosophy is really about using yoga to take care of yourself along every important dimension, so while we lean against all the tight spots in your body, the physical practice is just the starting point.

2. Any personal heroes?

My heroes are the people who do it without the press or the recognition. The cast is always changing as I meet and get to know new people, but the profile is consistent. They're the people who get up every day, even when it's rainy and cold and they don't feel like it, and go out to let it shine. I know a bunch of them, and you do too I'd bet.

3. What's your favorite comfort food?

Oh, man. I think it's grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. My mom used to press them down with the iron, which wasn't great for my shirts but which made my sandwiches nice and thin and dunkable.

4. What inspired you to want to teach yoga?

I came to yoga from an interest in Eastern philosophy, but I started teaching for a very different reason. I knew a lot of people who were intimidated by yoga practice, who didn't want to go into a room full of skinny, flexy people and struggle with these poses. I knew a lot of teachers who couldn't understand that, since the practice was so easy for them. I found that my own struggles with the physical practice have helped me to open up the door for a lot of people to the richness of the full yoga practice. By not being intimidating, I'm sometimes able to get through and help people use yoga as a full, multi-dimensional practice.

5. What are you currently working on in your own personal practice?

One-armed handstands, because I just know that if I can do that, all the problems in my life will instantly fade away. But seriously, what I'm really working on is pranayama (breath) practice. All of us who teach yoga talk about it, but this is such a rich and robust avenue of practice that most of us are barely scratching the surface. Breath not only reflects your mind state, but it simultaneously influences it. I am finding so much benefit as I dig in there.

6. If you're not doing yoga, what is your go to physical activity?

Well, I ran the Avenue of the Giants half marathon last weekend, but honestly, I'm no runner. I can barely walk as I type this. I love swimming, and taking my big Bernese mountain dog Matti for hikes in the hills.

7. Any thoughts on yoga being dangerous or bad for your body?

Well my opinion on this is very similar to what many of us in the yoga community have said: doing things unconsciously can always be dangerous. Yoga particularly because it challenges you to explore the edges of your range of motion. But this is no reason to shy away from it. This actually reinforces the core message of yoga. Do nothing unconsciously. Do not practice yoga to achieve a pose, or to feed your competitiveness. Wh would we use this practice to reinforce he very things that make us unhappy and vulnerable to overwork. Yoga, done right, teaches your body to work in ways that are safer and healthier than anything else you can do. Yoga done wrong will lead to injury as sure as any activity done without respect for your body.

8. 3 words that describe you.

"Last to panic"

9. If you can have dinner with any 3 people alive or dead, who would they be?

Hmmmm. Richard Feynman, Jimmy Buffett and Maya Angelou. Feynman for his perspective on the nature of the universe, Buffett for how to carefully construct a life without being a slave to the structure and Angelou for a view on the human condition that I can't really inhabit.

10. You stub your toe on the coffee table.... You scream out: _?!@#!!___

"Aw, man...that didn't feel good", or "that was not necessary!". My sister always accuses me of being overly descriptive in these situations. "why can't you just curse like everybody else", she says.

Join us this Satuday the 12th for a powerful yoga workshop led by Kevin at 2pm.