Seriously, What is Mysore Yoga?
Seriously, What is Mysore Yoga?
- Posted by Kaleigh
- On December 11, 2017
A BRIEF HISTORY
The Ashtanga Yoga method is built around Mysore style practice named after Mysore, India, where the method became popularized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Jois was an Indian yoga master and Sanskrit scholar (pictured). Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga continues to be taught this way in traditional Ashtanga Yoga schools around the world.
Mysore style is unique compared to other yoga classes, as each person practices at their own pace without interruption. The peaceful sound of deep breathing saturates the room. The teacher assists, adjusts, and teaches new asanas as the student is ready. Once a student is given a new asana, they practice their memorized sequence up to that asana, then do backbends if applicable (backbending is the climax of the practice and beginners start with very simple and gently backbends, eventually moving into deep backbending when the body is ready), and then wind down with the finishing sequence.
MYSORE IS GREAT FOR BEGINNERS & EXPERTS
This style of yoga is very beginner friendly. Here at The Front, people new to Ashtanga and even new to yoga in general are more than welcome to join, and taught at a pace that helps them take the time to memorize the sequence and learn the postures, breathing and gazing points correctly. Students are welcome to use a “cheat sheet” (provided in the classroom) with pictures and names of the poses in sequence until they no longer need it. Once these foundations are learned, the practice starts to flow organically and eventually meditation in movement occurs. Over time, with this practice, one's body becomes very strong, supple and more balanced. Beginners can usually plan on staying about an hour. If you are new to Mysore, be sure to come at the start time of class so you can get the attention you need and so that you can work with other beginners. The time block of Mysore class is 2 hours. Those that have already attended a class or two may show up any time during the 2 hour block (or even earlier—many of our practitioners often show up as early as 6 am for the 7 am class so they can get to work on time.)
Over time when practitioners feel comfortable with their sequence, they can choose to start adding more, or stay with their current series. There are six series of asanas (postures) but the first, or primary series is quite an accomplishment in itself and contains more than enough for a lifetime practice. Another name for primary series is Yoga Chikitsa, which means Yoga Therapy and is meant to clear the body of old patterns that may be harmful, creating space for healing and balance and well being. Practitioners that are dedicated may choose to keep developing their practice internally, learning more about mindfulness, meditation and breathing practices, they may also be able to do very advanced postures after years of conditioning!
This is an optimal style of yoga for anyone, regardless of age or injury because the way in which it is done is personalized. We are motivated and supported by those practicing with us. There is a deep camaraderie that develops between practitioners and teachers in Mysore class. We work hard together and are there for each other, even if we never learn everyone's name!
BY SARAH JANE
YOGA DIRECTOR AT THE FRONT CLIMBING CLUB