Featured Yogi: Everyone Loves Brad Keimach

By Ashley Beasley
After two months of not practicing yoga, I finally made it to a class.  Brad’s class, I thought, would be the perfect way to ease back into things.  And I was right.  No matter your skill level, Brad greets you with a warm welcome and a kooky smile.  His personality suggests a refined, cultured and polite upbringing with a heart full of joy and a sense of humor to match.

His personal suggestions to you in class on alignment and way of being are just that, personal.  Brad will calmly approach you and ask that he may make a suggestion in a voice that is only audible to you.

Brad Keimach’s flow is basic and slow moving, but that doesn’t mean you don’t sweat.  Even in the 2/3 level class, he holds true to basic Vinyasa style flow, probably slower than you’re used to and reminds you throughout the class to breathe deeply and audibly, a practice I don’t often find enough of.

In yoga, you’re supposed to allow for deep Ujjayi breath and correlate each move with either a complete inhale or a complete exhale, right?  In most yoga classes, I feel rushed to breathe or complete a move to keep up with the teacher’s instruction.  Brad’s is one of the only classes that actually allows for you to complete both Ujjayi breath and movement simultaneously without feeling like you’re falling behind pace.

The practice is about breath first.  The pose is secondary.

If you are working with injuries, but want to do yoga, Brad’s class is a good one to take.  He is compassionate and patient and teaches that yoga should be done easily and carefully. He encourages the use of bolsters, blankets and blocks.

For some of us yogis, it’s hard to relinquish thinking we don’t need any of those things.  But here’s the catch: yoga is not about getting yourself into the most difficult pose you can fathom and holding it.  If it’s hurting you in any way, you shouldn’t be doing it.  Everyone’s bodies are made differently.  Often the use of props in yoga can only help you experience a pose in its intended manner.  Brad gets this concept thoroughly and aims to teach it to his students.

For example, Pigeon pose and I have never been great friends.  For years I struggled uncomfortably with trying to get my front shin parallel to the mat and my back leg straight with the top of my foot down.  Both knees felt pain and my front hip felt compromised.  Some time ago, I went to Brad’s class and he showed me a better way to do it.

Pigeon is supposed to be a passive pose.  Rather than forcing your body into it, you relax and let gravity do the work.  Otherwise, you’ll never get into that deep hip and butt muscle it’s supposed to target.

Now, instead of the old way, I let my front leg bend as much as it feels comfortable to me, which is almost all the way in towards my pubic bone.  I roll up a blanket and put it under my thigh so my back leg can rest all the way down without putting pressure on my back kneecap.  And lastly, I put a couple bolsters underneath my chest so I can easily rest my body forward and just relax!

Classically trained at Juliard, Brad loves the theatre, and you’ll find this in his voice: commanding and powerful, yet gentle and clear in tone.  While you listen to the soothing sounds of classical music, being reminded to breath deeply and audibly, you wonder where this guy came from.

Yoga has many different faces.  His is one that brings joy in.

Brad Keimach teaches at Exhale and on the beach in Santa Monica!  His schedule can be found at http://www.bradkeimach.com/index.html.

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Filed under Venice Local, Yoga Beat

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