Jonah in our Spiritual Gangster Varsity Tee
Jonah Kest brings his power, compassion, energy, and grounded understanding of gratitude to his teachings. Yoga has been an integral part of Jonah's life, growing up in the Kest yoga family with dad Jonny Kest and uncle Bryan Kest. He brings a beautiful power all his own to his teaching style which infuses hip hop and ancient teachings for a class that works your range of motion and emotions. We caught up with our OMbassador to talk all things inversions, mantras, and favorite vegan spots.
What does being a Spiritual Gangster mean to you?
A Spiritual Gangster is someone who isn't bound by their outer conditions, or by other people's opinions and judgments. A Spiritual Gangster is someone who can stay true to themselves even if that means disappointing everyone else around them.
You come from a long line of yoga teachers. How did yoga influence your childhood?
I was walking the yoga room with my dad since I was 3 years old. We always did a family meditation and shared gratitude before we went to bed each night. The lightness and spirit of yoga has always been a part of my life.
Jonah in our Rasta Om Tee
When did you become a vegetarian? What is your favorite Vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles?
I was raised Vegetarian, and our whole family switched over to vegan when I was 9 years old. My favorite restaurant is without a question Cafe Gratitude. Fun fact I serve at the one in Venice!
What is your favorite pose and why?
My favorite yoga pose is the handstand. When I’m on my hands, my entire undivided attention is with my breath and the present moment. The most challenging pose for me right now is the hollowback. I think it's difficult for me because the gaze is shifted, which really forces you to find balance without the crutch of your sight. It’s also a great pose that combines strength with flexibility, and flexibility is one of my biggest weaknesses.
What is your favorite mantra of the moment?
Things don’t happen to you, they happen for you.
This has always resonated with me because everyone faces the ups and downs of life. What shifts that is if you can look at those things as happening for you instead of to you. It is then that you can start to see these vulnerable moments as opportunities to grow.
How do you want to influence the yoga culture?
I wish to continue to evolve yoga similarly to how Martha Graham took classical ballet and broke some rules and evolved it into Modern Dance. More importantly, I just want to continue to share this ancient practice just like it has been shared with me. My teacher’s teacher David Williams used to say “Do yoga and you will be taken care of.” I have a lot to be grateful for.
How would you describe your own teaching style now? What do you want your students to get out of their time with you?
The style of yoga I teach is entirely based off of ashtanga. The vinyasa I teach holds the foundations of ashtanga yoga but SHIFTS THE CONSCIOUSNESS by incorporating energetic vinyasa sequences with upbeat music, full of hip and heart openers as well as inversions and twists. Each class becomes an experience where you not only experience your full range of motion, but also your full range of emotion.
Sunset or Sunrise?
Sunrise, every new day is an opportunity to start again no matter what has happened in the past.
East Coast or West Coast?
East coast. Born in Detroit!