The Traveling Yogi Visits KK’s Kosmic Kula
How to decide which yoga class to take, or studio to visit, or even which hand-poured coffee to drink when visiting San Francisco? One Sunday morning in June I made the difficult choice (ha) of drinking both Blue Bottle and Ritual Roasters coffee in Hayes Valley before heading to Shakti Church with KK Ledford.
KK has a devoted following she calls the Kosmic Kula, or KosKul for short. My friend Dave Atlas, an Anusara devotee, is one of them. Dave told me to meet him at the Ritual Roasters around the corner from Yoga Tree a half hour before class. I’d been to KK’s class a year before, so I knew I wanted to go back, just like I wanted to get another amazing coffee beforehand. Problem was, I went to the wrong amazing coffee kiosk. The last time I was in San Francisco, I’d stopped at Blue Bottle Coffee one street over from the studio, so I thought he must have been mistaken when he said to meet at Ritual Roasters, because it’s in the Mission, not Hayes Valley (or so I thought). I haven’t lived in San Francisco in ten years, yet I went down the same old paths thinking things were the same or that I’d get the same results–something I find I keep doing in life: making assumptions that prove wrong, or following the same pattern rather than approaching things with a beginner’s mind.
Comparing the rivalry between Blue Bottle and Ritual to that between Coke and Pepsi doesn’t really do it justice (their coffee is in an entirely different league!), but they are competitive, and their fans just as rabid. They both take forever to pour the perfectly hot water through freshly ground beans using a glass funnel. Drinking the high octane drip over at Blue Bottle, I texted Dave, and found that he really was at Ritual. There’s a new-ish pop-up kiosk, basically a coffee hut made out of a shipping container, just around the corner from Blue Bottle. Luckily it was on the way to yoga, and how could I say no to a cappuccino? The coffee and the cappuccino were both delicious, and I was absolutely buzzing when I arrived at Yoga Tree for Shakti Church.
KK walked in wearing a rainbow tunic, rainbow knee highs, neon eyeshadow and toenail polish, and feathers in her hair (which is wild long blonde with blue tips). Yes, it was Gay Pride weekend, but this is also pure KK–rainbows and light. She’s like a cartoon character come to life. “I KICK ASS AND SPRINKLE GLITTER” is how she describes herself on Facebook. She infuses her classes with astrology. When you are in a KK class, it’s impossible not to know what’s going on with the planets, and why, for example, you might be struggling, or in a dark phase, or just about to break through into the light.
KosKul regulars crowd into the front row of the crowded studio. It’s not an unspoken rule; she lets you know that. She’s fierce and bossy–and inspiring. And her cues are phenomenal. She doesn’t spout the expected Anusara cues. She goes deeper. Way deeper. She knows her anatomy. My hip flexors and hamstrings and quads were engaged and in new-found harmony after lots of heart-opening lunges. And somehow the almost-all Lady Gaga soundtrack just fit.
On the way out, I bought some Shining Shakti tie-dyed radical pants–blue and green, like gaia. KK’s were pink and orange. Yes, I did fall under her spell. When I wear those pants, though, I feel my mojo rising and I’m ready to kick ass and sprinkle glitter.
Later that afternoon, I wanted to drive up to Point Reyes to MC Yogi’s studio for a “playdate” with Janet Stone, another SF teacher I love (and hello, MC Yogi!), but another three hours of practice after Shakti Church would have been excessive, and though I do like excess at times (Blue Bottle AND Ritual before yoga?), KK’s class left me utterly blissed out and satisfied. And I was free to explore the city and see friends rather than succumb to my wanderlust and end up trying to fit too much in.
You can (and should) follow KK and her Wild Moon Wisdom page on Facebook. I adore her and can’t wait to reconnect when I’m back in San Francisco next month.