Loading...

Sports & Recreation

Best Yogi for all Los Angeles 2008 

Bryan Kest's Santa Monica Power Yoga

As the world spins off its axis and bounces recklessly beyond the confines of the Milky Way, Bryan Kest leads his packed-to-the-gills Santa Monica power yoga classes with an endless stream of lyrical, Seussian rhymes loaded with humor and self-effacing sarcasm.

Breathe with me

best as can be

through your nostrils

if that's a pos-si-bi-li-ty.

It helps that Kest has soulful eyes and sensual Scorpio energy. Is this yoga the traditional capital-"Y" Yoga that purifies the subtle energy channels? Maybe not. Will it lead us out of the illusion of separateness to Oneness with All that Is? Quite possibly. Kest's nonstop stream of chatter isn't just narcissistic babble. It's plump with merit and mojo, mirroring our issues and our mind chatter, quelling our competitive natures, pointing out our vanity and tirelessly reminding us to be gentle with ourselves and to honor our limitations without judgment.

He speaks to beginners — "For those of you new to yoga, this pose is called 'bending over and lifting your leg'" — and advanced practitioners alike: "If your leg is over your head, so what? It doesn't make you better than the person who can only lift it halfway."

Kest's emphasis is on practicalness. He wants us to be strong and limber so we can bend over and lift our children, not so we can twist ourselves into pretzel-like contortions and brag about it.

"Any idiot can jam themselves deeper into a pose."

He teaches only basics that everyone can handle, held for long periods of time and linked through movement and breath. Simple? Sure. Easy? Think again. Prepare to sweat. And laugh.

Your average Bryan Kest class brings in upward of 100 people at a time, and of those hundred, at least 99 are in love with him — even the straight guys. His merit as a yoga teacher extends far beyond his sex appeal, but it's there, for sure, and everyone knows it.

"Bryan walked on my mat today!" boasts my friend Ben after a sweaty afternoon class.

"Lucky you," I say, pretending not to be jealous.

Kest pioneered "suggested donation" yoga in L.A., effectively removing the class divide that previously rendered wealthy Angelenos toned and superior, and the poor ones soft and anxious. It's sweat-soaked wisdom in a room packed with Lycra and longing.

In the illustrious words of Kest himself:"It's like a dance class but without the bulimia."

—Dani Katz

Location Info

Search Best Of Awards

Slideshows

Best Of Award Graphics 2008

Now Trending

  • 20 Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

    "What's the best restaurant in L.A.?" It's the question I get more than any other, the thing people most want to know from a critic. "What's your favorite restaurant? If I were to only eat at one restaurant in L.A., what should it be?" I tend to dodge these questions,...
    9
  • Jay Z Grand Park Concert Is Official as Mayor Plans Announcement

    It looks like Mayor Eric Garcetti is going to officially announce that a two-day "Budweiser Made in America" festival is taking place  at downtown L.A.'s Grand Park. The mayor's office said today he " will make an announcement with Shawn "JAY Z" Carter, Supervisor Gloria Molina, City Council President Herb...
  • The 50 Most Beautiful People at Coachella

    So many Coachella-goers spend months before the festival working on their tans, their outfits, their figures, and their breezy poses.  There's a real glut of fabulousness, we have to say, both among those in attendance at the Polo Grounds and the parties surrounding the festival. Here are the 50 most beautiful...
    8