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.
The Mysore style practice starts with sun salutations (surynamaskara) and proceeds posture by posture through a prescribed, individualized series of postures. The class is guided and assisted by a teacher who may offer hands-on assistance, and is the method we use at Sruti Yoga Center. In the Mysore room we practice as a group. Sruti founder Amy Webb's vision of a yoga community center has its heart centered in the Mysore room. Each student comes into the room and does their own practice of the sequence, aided and guided by the teacher.
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 physical 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. Prospective students are invited to come and observe a class.
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. You may come in to observe any time between 8-9:30am during Mysore sessions. Simply enter the room and let us know you are there to observe, and we will guide to an appropriate place to sit.
Like observing a Mysore Class, you are welcome to come to any Mysore class and join the group. The first sessions may only last 30 minutes, giving both the body and the mind time to adapt. The idea is to start slowly and build a strong foundation and create a comfortable sequence over time. The best time for new students to receive the most individualized attention is to come into the Mysore Room is at the beginning of a session.
There is also an option to come during our INTRO TO ASHTANGA hours within the Mysore Room. Students new to ashtanga yoga will enjoy the benefit of having an additional instructor in the room, designated to specifically assist new students, as they begin with breathing and the sun salutations.
Yoga practice is best done on an empty stomach, at least three hours after the last meal. One should be adequately hydrated and not drink during practice. Practitioners should shower before every practice and refrain from using scented soaps, shampoos, and lotions. Yoga clothes and rugs should be clean and fragrance free.
Your First Mysore Practice
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 stress, even injury, and can create too much ‘heat’ in the body, which can cause imbalance, the opposite of what we intend.
Students are taught individually, at a rate appropriate for them. This will depend on the student's intention, family and work responsibilites, general health, level of strength, flexibility, and the ability to memorize or retain what has been learned.
In the beginning three sessions a week may be enough, but over time, one works towards 5 or 6 sessions a week, 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 breath-centered movement practice removes the soreness in the muscles and invigorates the body each day.
How many days a week should you practice?
Monthly and multiple month passes are the most popular and practical options for participating in the Mysore program, due to the frequency of practice. Buying a monthly pass provides the ability to attend any class with a relaxed attitude, and supports the precious Ashtanga yoga community at Sruti Yoga Center in which you are a full participant. Receive your first month at a discounted rate, our way of welcoming you to the Sruti community. For those visiting, or here only part-time, 5, 10, or 20 Sruti class passes are a good option. Please visit our PURCHASE page for details.
Monthly Passes and Class Pass Options
Full and new moon days are observed as a time for rest and contemplation. No Ashtanga classes are held on these days worldwide. Observing, tuning in, and exploring the moon cycles can assist in understanding and connecting to the rhythmic and ever-changing cycles of life.