Born in 1964, Bryan Kest has been practicing yoga since 1979, starting when he was 14 years old.
Aloha, I am Bryan Kest, owner of Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation and poweryoga.com, located in Santa Monica, CA. I am 53 years old and I was born in Cleveland, OH and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, MI. I was very fortunate to move to Hawaii at the age of 14. It was in Hawaii that I was even more fortunate to meet David Williams at David’s and Brad Ramsey’s class. David was the first person to bring Ashtanga Yoga to the world outside of India. Brad became an incredibly influential example of how to be a man and a yogi.
I first started leading yoga classes at age 20 when I was invited by a clinic who specialized in eating disorders to share my practice with their clients. The clinic, called Esteem Clinic (in Santa Monica), was so happy with the results that they offered me more clients, and a yoga career was born.
At the age of 24, I entered my first ten-day Goenka Vipassana meditation course, after returning from living in India, where I studied with K. Patthabi Jois, before it was a trendy thing to go to India and study yoga. When I was there, it was just me, my traveling mate, and Patthabi Jois, all by ourselves. Upon my return, I enrolled in the Goenka course; being informed through meditation, my Ashtanga yoga practice began morphing from its generic sequence into something more personal. In a lot of ways, this is what Power Yoga is: freedom and discovery! This is what I meant when I coined the term Power Yoga.
I was very much inspired by Goenka. The practice he shared is profound and his delivery is equally profound. For me, his donation model touched me deeply and said to me so much more than simply “give what you can give.” I immediately thought, why can’t I run a yoga studio in the same way? Welcome to Santa Monica Power Yoga & Meditation. We have been a donation-based studio for decades here at my Santa Monica studio ever since.
My Santa Monica studio is unique, not only in our donation concept. Our studio was created to give yoga instructors a space to share their practice without the need to conform to a studio lineage. Instructors simply rent time slots, while keeping all donations. Within these time slots, the space is theirs. This has created an eclectic group of instructors who seem to carry a similar torch.
My yoga classes online or in my studio are truly a multi-dynamic experience–a confluence of movements combining a balanced sequence with all elements of physical exercise, mindfulness, moderation and meditation. All of these are within a supportive dialogue developed to empower the practitioner. The distinct objective is strengthening the benevolent and eradicating the malevolent.