MYSORE frequently asked questions
What is Mysore?
The “Mysore style” of yoga practice is the way of teaching Ashtanga Yoga as taught in the southern Indian city of Mysore. This method differs from the usual way of teaching yoga. The class is not "led" as a whole, but rather all instruction is one-on-one within the group class setting. Students practice their own portion of the Ashtanga sequence of asanas at their own pace. The teacher assists each student individually by giving physical adjustments & verbal instruction.
In the Ashtanga sequence, each asana builds from the previous one. Each student is given a yoga routine according to their ability. Newer and beginner students tend to have a much shorter practice than do those with more experience. As one gains more strength, stamina, flexibility and concentration, additional asanas are given to the student.
Why is it called Mysore?
Mysore style practice is named for the city of Mysore in South India where yoga guru Krishnamacharya lived and taught Ashtanga Yoga. Mysore style is the traditional way to learn the Ashtanga system. This style of teaching allows students to receive personalized, individual instruction from the teacher while learning at their own pace. In the beginning new students receive a lot of attention and support. As students become familiar with the practice they become more independent and receive instruction and assistance only as needed.
What if I’m new to Ashtanga or I don’t know the Primary Series?
The teacher will guide you through, teaching you pose by pose and giving you support as you begin to memorize the series. There is no need to be nervous; our teachers and our community are extremely welcoming and we were all new at one time ourselves.
Can I bring my cheat sheet?
The short answer is no. We’d really prefer if you didn’t. Give us an opportunity to teach it to you. We will give you an information packet to help you learn the series, but please don’t feel like you need to know it all. Our Mysore teachers are there to guide you and help you learn. Also, this system is as much about making your mind and memory as well as it is about making your body strong.
Should I start with a Led Primary class?
Led Primary is a very fast paced, challenging practice, with very little guidance. It is not an ideal environment for someone to learn the series. This is the place where students already working on some or all of the series begin to learn the vinyasa count (the coordination of movement with breath). It’s a very useful class once you’ve been practicing for a few weeks. The teacher will let you know when it is time to join the led practice.
How much time should I allot for my first class?
About one hour. New students will talk to the teacher for a few minutes before they begin practice to ask questions and inform the teacher of injuries. Afterwards, they will be given the opportunity to watch the other students practice for about 15 minutes to get familiar with the way the room is run. The actual physical practice will be short the first day – 15 to 30 minutes depending on the individual, including some seated breathing poses. Afterwards you will lie down and take a rest before heading out.
What should I expect in a Mysore-Style Ashtanga yoga Class?
Your first walk into the Mysore room may surprise you. One student might be in headstand while another could be bending into the triangle posture and yet another pushing up to balance on her arms. It may appear chaotic, but after closer inspection you will begin to notice the practice patterns. Each practitioner is at their own place on a precisely choreographed path. The rhythmic breathing is striking, with only the occasionally verbal cues from the teacher rising above the dominant sound of the collective breath. You’ll notice the teacher move swiftly from student to student, giving adjustments and cues as appropriate.
How do I start a Mysore style practice?
If you have an existing Mysore practice please join us for a morning practice. If you are unfamiliar with the Mysore style Ashtanga practice but would like to start, the teacher will guide you through your first practice according to your ability. Each of the postures in the Mysore series is designed to prepare you for the rest of the series. Your first practice sessions may be short but you will easily learn the series and progress according to your ability. As you gain strength, stamina, flexibility and concentration, you will be guided deeper into the practice by the teacher. With commitment, patience, and persistence, you will be amazed at how your Mysore practice will change your body and spirit.
How often should I come? Why are the hours on the schedule so long?
The Mysore practice room is open between 5:00 am and 8:00 am Monday - Friday. You can come ANY time within that 3-hour window. The Mysore Ashtanga method is intended to be a daily practice and students are encouraged to make a commitment to practice at least 3 times a week for a month.
Traditionally Mysore practice occurs 5 days during the week with a Ashtanga Led Primary class on the weekend. We rest on Moon Days which occur about twice monthly. You may have difficulty practicing a few times a week at first, but don’t be discouraged The Mysore style practice often takes a year or more to develop.
What if I’m not flexible, thin, young, nimble? please insert excuse 😊
Anyone can do Mysore-style Ashtanga. You just have to have a willingness to try and an open mind and the drive to commit to something new.
What if I’m injured?
Please be sure to communicate the injury with the teachers. Come practice we will teach you modifications on how to heal and do your practice safely.
What are the benefits of practicing Mysore style Ashtanga over a led class?
The individualized instruction you’ll receive in the Mysore room will teach you how to work through the poses safely for your body type and ability level. Over time as you become more independent throughout your practice, you will notice a deep meditative component arise and you will develop a more intimate understanding of your physical body. One of the most profound aspects of the Mysore practice is that it allows the practitioner to face re-occurring behavioral patterns while on the mat (self-doubt, fear, anxiousness, procrastination, negative self-talk, etc). By facing and overcoming negative habits and patterns, we expand our comfort zones and gain a greater capacity to face some of life’s most difficult problems.