Meet Jonah Kest
Envision Festival Yoga Teacher
World Traveling Yoga Instructor
When did your yoga journey begin? When did you realize that your practice wanted to turn into teaching?
I always tell people that I didn’t find yoga. Yoga found me. I think yoga finds us all. I was introduced to yoga at a very early age. My father is a yoga teacher. So ever since I can remember I was doing yoga with my dad. I was an athlete so I pushed away a lot. I just didn’t really see the benefits until I was 16 or 17. I actually quit sports. I was a basketball player and I ran track so by senior year of High School I dropped out of track and took my father’s teacher training. I was two feet in. I didn’t look back. Right after Teacher Training was over I got my first teaching job and I went through my feedbacks. Then I took it to Colorado where I went to college and taught while there. I taught all the college kids and it was a really good way for me to get out all my kinks. That was really valuable for me and to just get right into it and not look back.
Tell me about your journey being a world traveling yoga instructor. How did you decide you wanted to take your yoga abroad?
It just kind of came about. I was living in LA teaching yoga at my uncle’s donation studio which has been there for 20 something years. After teaching there and living in LA it kind of just opened me up and exposed me to a lot. I started getting the attention of a lot of brands and studios and my social media influence was growing so I started to be asked to go share my practice all over the world. After two years of living in LA I decided to pack all my stuff into a suitcase and dedicate myself to living on the road. I’ve pretty much been a nomad the past three years.
Do you have any advice for yoga teachers who are looking to become a traveling yoga teacher?
Relationships. That’s what it comes down to. It’s a butterfly effect. Plant seeds everywhere you go. If you really want to travel and teach I would say do something that’s different. Do something that’s unique. Be true to yourself and authentic. I think that people are going to want to see that and bring you out.
You have a 200-hour teacher training coming up in July in Bali. Who is this training for and what should your students expect who are coming?
It’s a 20 day immersion in Bali. From day one you will be teaching. We tell the students to come with the intention that you will be sharing the practice. Have the intention of sharing it, because when you share something you really understand it.
There will be a cacao ceremony and the learning of how to make delicious cacao elixirs led by Grant Kellogg (Follow him @thecacaoking). Both yoga and leading a cacao ceremony are an opportunity to hold space. It’s all connected.
What is your teaching style and your intention or focus for your students when they come to take your class?
I would say it’s evolved over the years. As I got wiser and older I realized it’s all about the breath. Lately, the breath has fallen away. It’s still a staple, but now it’s more of a heart centered practice where every posture and every breath you take is about opening your heart. I think that’s the final goal of yoga. To open your heart. My intention for teaching classes is to hold a non-judgmental sacred space where people can use the postures as tools to open their heart and ultimately master their minds.
If you could pick one place in the world that you dream of teaching at, where would it be?
It’s not about the place I’m teaching at. It’s more about the environment. I want to teach at more festivals especially ones like Envision Festival that are high vibration. It feels like home. I just had an incredible vegan falafel, went to the beach and Nahko and Medicine For The People are here. It’s such an incredible environment so let’s just do Envision Festival in more countries. It doesn’t matter where, let’s just bring Envision there.
How do you stand out as Jonah Kest? If a student signed up for a class, why a Jonah Kest class?
I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. Maybe what’s different with my class is I kinda get out of the way. The main objective for me is to give you guys the tools to do and then ultimately step back so you can make it your own. My classes will empower you. I think that the benefit from the style that I share is the empowerment, really making it your own and being true to yourself. Everyone comes to yoga with a different body. Everyone comes to yoga in a different place.
Do you have a current mantra or meditation you want to share with the Envision Festival community?
Start again. Every moment is an opportunity to start again no matter what has happened in the past.
I fill my cup up with gratitude.
Connect With Jonah Kest
Jonah Kest is a world traveling yoga instructor who focuses his classes around heart opening. To get inspired and follow his journey you can follow him on Instagram @kestyoga. To apply for his 200-hour teacher training in Bali, you can do that HERE. And if you’re already in Bali then join him and Grant for Vinyasa & Cacao Activation at the BaliSpirit Festival.