Happy Father's Day! We are blessed to honor the men in our lives who are a source of safety, joy, guidance, and unconditional love. We loved catching up with world-renowned yoga teacher Jonny Kest and his beautiful family of Spiritual Gangsters in Detroit.
What has being a father taught you about yourself?
That unconditional love is real and powerful.
What has been your favorite part of fatherhood?
There is a sanskrit word Mudita. Mudita is the pure joy you feel from the happiness other beings experience. Watching your child smile, laugh and experience growth and freedom is a pure joy that cannot be matched!
What is the hardest part about being a father?
The hardest part sometimes is getting out of the way and letting your kids fall, giving them the space and time to pick themselves back up.
There is a story I love to share in my classes about a young college applicant. The student was asked to write about the most challenging time in their life. Thinking and thinking about it, the student could not come up with anything. She begins to cry to the parents and says, "you have coddled me my whole life and didn’t present me with any challenges and now I can’t even write my submission essay to get into college". The parents came up with a solution. They asked their child to go for a ride in their car and drove to a park in the woods about a mile or two away from home, pulled over and asked her to get out of the car not knowing what they had in mind, she got out of the car, and they drove away telling her, "here is your challenge!”.
What three values do you wish to instill in your children?
Morality, Empathy and Equanimity.
How does yoga play a part in your family?
It is what we do! The day starts with Follow the Yogi and ends with a meditation and a gratitude circle.
Fatherhood can be a very creative process. How does creativity play a part in raising your children?
Understanding and feeling each child's rhythm, I could not raise each child the same. I needed “to create” an atmosphere in my household that fosters and celebrates each child's unique gifts. For example my middle child Nathan was suspended from middle school for 3 months. We needed "to create” another way for him to learn and grow... Nathan signed up for Yoga teacher training and committed to a 100 days of yoga and meditation practice which gave him another way to deal with his enemies/obstacles of his mind and brought him much success! This was inspired by his grandfather, Lazar.
You've been able to travel all over the world. Where is your favorite place to travel with your family?
Our favorite place so far is the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Lake Michigan. People are surprised to know that you can surf the waves of Lake Michigan.
You're traveling to Capri this summer for one of your amazing yoga retreats. Tell us a little about it.
Capri is a magical Island off of the Mediterranean Amalfi coast. It’s beauty and culture are spectacular. It is a place where people work to live rather than live to work!
Want to join Jonny in Capri this summer? Use code DADSDAY500 to save $500 on the Capri Retreat. Click here to enroll! Code is effective through Tuesday June 30 2016.
How do you balance being a father, a husband, a yoga teacher, and your own unique self?
Have you met my wife, Milla? She is the love and strength that brings balance to our family and keeps us in alignment with each other.
What does being a Spiritual Gangster mean to you?
***Gautama Buddha. Ghandi. Martin Luther King. Nelson Madnela. Dalai Lama. Albert Einstein. Cesar Chavez. Steve Jobs. My father, Rohm Kest. The most radical people make the most radical changes. We all need to be Spiritual Gangsters for positive change. With that said, I love that you have kids clothes. This is an important value to foster at an early age.