THE MYSORE PROGRAM
What is Mysore?
The Ashtanga Yoga method is built around the ‘Mysore Class,’ so named because yoga was taught this way by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, in Mysore, India, and continues to be taught this way in traditional schools of Ashtanga Yoga around the world.
In Mysore Class the student is taught a sequence of asanas (postures) step by step, along with the correct vinyasa (movement), pranayama, (breathing), drsti (gaze point), and bandhas (internal locks). Students learn at their own pace, with individualized guidance from the teacher.
Students are expected to memorize each aspect they have been taught before being instructed further. There is no hurry to learn the practice, which can take 1-3 years to become fluent in, even for experienced yoga practitioners. The weave pattern of the breath is the entire practice, no matter what sequence or level the practitioner is currently working at.
Building a one-on-one relationship between teacher and student is considered extremely important in learning and understanding the discipline correctly, and the cornerstone of the Ashtanga yoga method.
Mysore at Sruti
With the guidance of Tom and Amy, all students receive private instruction in a group practice environment. We are happy to work with students walking in to try yoga for the first time. Practice sessions are shorter until students become more fluent, and attention from instructors is more common for beginning students. It takes about 3-5 Mysore sessions to become oriented to the room and your projects within the practice. The room may have 1st time yoga practitioners present as well as students 10 years or more into practice. The posture sequence is the same for everyone, generally the 1st and 2nd series, but the volume of postures changes depending on experience and how the body feels on a given day.
If you are curious but not ready to start, please come meet Tom and Amy, and observe the practice room at any time. Intro to Mysore classes are offered regularly, but not necessary to come in and begin the first stages of practice. Remember, there is no hurry and this practice is as much an exercise in breathing and concentration as it is in physical movement. Both Tom and Amy understand and respect the therapeutic applications and necessity of this practice from both their personal and teaching experience, and are interested in guiding individuals with the same respect and appropriate pacing of the practice that will serve the practitioner successfully on all levels
Observing a Mysore Class
When starting an Ashtanga Yoga practice, it is recommended that one commence in a Mysore Class from the very beginning. The best way to answer any questions about the Mysore practice and how it works is to come and observe a class for half an hour or so. Most questions are answered by observing the class and anything unanswered can then be discussed with the teacher. All our teachers have learned Ashtanga Yoga using this method and have great faith in the results gained from its practice.
Your first Mysore practice
Intro to Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Practice is offered for those who are curious about Ashtanga yoga and Mysore-style practice. This class serves as an orientation to the Mysore program and overview of Ashtanga yoga, an opportunity to ask questions and receive individual guidance. Your sessions will be begin with led instruction and evolve into a Mysore style practice, with each student working at their own pace. Typically, 3-5 Intro classes are sufficient orientation before entering the Mysore room, however, this class may be taken independently of the Mysore program.
We recommend that all students interested in joining the Mysore room observe 1-3 Mysore sessions minimum prior to beginning practice. This may be done during any Mysore session between the hours of 8am-9:45am. We ask that you stay and observe for 15-20 minutes each session though you are welcome to observe longer.
In your first class you will be taught the basic techniques for breathing and vinyasa (movement), then shown surya namaskara A (sun salutation), which you repeat 5 to 10 times in order to memorize and internalize the sequence of movements and posture with breathing and correct drsti (gaze point). You will then sit with your legs crossed and focus solely on deep even breathing for five to ten minutes, followed by lying down and taking a short rest. Your first practice may only be 15 to 20 minutes long. It is important not to learn too much in the beginning as this method relies on memorization and becoming proficient in what has been taught before progressing further.This also allows time to adjust to a new daily routine. In subsequent classes, you are expected to have memorized what was previously learned before adding more postures to the sequence. Thus, over time, the length of the practice will gradually increase as your system is ready.
Why begin with such a short practice?
Ashtanga is a very concentrated practice and to obtain the best results it should only be learned directly from a qualified teacher. There are many aspects of this practice that can only be imparted directly from the teacher to the student, and the teacher should have mastered and understood the system thoroughly, through practice, over a long period of time. It should be learned gradually and built up over time, paying close attention to the different elements of breathing, posture, vinyasa, and drsti.
Learning gradually allows you time to adjust as you build strength and flexibility, and purify the nervous system. Learning too quickly, or doing too much at once brings the risk of injury and can create too much ‘heat’ in the body, which can cause imbalances. For that reason, students are taught individually, and at a rate appropriate for them. This will depend on age, general health, level of strength, flexibility, and the ability to memorize or retain what has been learned.
How many days a week should you practice?
Ideally, you should begin by practicing five to six days a week, even at the beginning, taking one or two days off per week to allow the body to rest. If possible, your practice should be at the same time every day. You will appreciate the routine and respond better to the practice. Although you may find that you are a little sore in the beginning, the regularity of a daily practice removes the soreness in the muscles and invigorates the body each day.
This page is in development…please check back soon or call us with any questions you may have about getting started in the Mysore room. You are always welcome to come in and meet Tom, Amy, or Kristin at any time or set up a meeting to review your interest and entrance!