What is Mysore Yoga? By Emma Lindsay
What is Mysore?
Mysore is the place in India where Sri K Pattabhi Jois taught and his grandson Sharath still teaches. For thousands of years yoga was taught from teacher to student, taking a student through his or her own development at an appropriate pace, this is how Pattabhi Jois taught the students from the West that first arrived at his Shala in the 1960s and 70s and is how students are still taught today in Mysore. Mysore yoga is a form of Ashtanga yoga
How is it different from a ‘led’ Ashtanga class?
In this style of class the student is able to practice at the pace appropriate for them. It is not a led class where everyone is doing the
same thing at the same moment with verbal cues from the teacher at all times. Everyone still does the same sequence of poses, but at his/her own pace. This style of teaching allows students to receive more individual attention and physical adjustments from the teacher.
Do I have to be advanced, or can a beginner to Ashtanga or yoga attend?
Mysore is suitable for all levels of practitioner and can be very helpful for recent beginners because the student will receive individual help from the teacher. Its almost like having a private lesson in a group setting. Just coming along with an open mind and being receptive to the learning process is all you need to attend these classes
The more experienced students can practice independently with the teacher giving them assistance in the areas that they find most challenging, and for beginners more time is dedicated to giving them instruction on learning the sequence, they will be given a few postures at a time so that they can memorize them in the right order and they may repeat shorter sections of the sequence to help them remember it. There are also some sheets of postures to refer to if needed.
Why is it slightly longer than other classes?
This class is slightly longer so that students can attend at any time which suits them, as long as you give yourself enough time to complete your practice including relaxation at the end. This could be as short as 30 mins or up to 2 (1.5?) hours.
What are the benefits of practising at Mysore style classes?
The student will receive more individual support from the teacher and can do their practice at the pace that works best for them. As the practitioner learns the sequence and becomes more independent it gives them the opportunity to cultivate a personal yoga practice that they can do at home or anywhere in the world. Instead of passively listening to a teacher or watching others the practitioner leans to find their own focus making it a more personal and meditative practice.
Ashtanga is traditionally a morning practice and all the classes in Mysore, India are in the morning and always have been. Practicing first thing in the day is a wonderful way to start your day!
Winter Vegan Salad ‘Slaw With Tahini-Apple Dressing
This is a great recipe to kick-start the New Year; it’s light, super-healthy and still uses the best of the vegetables that we have in season here in the UK. It is also very easy to make, especially if you own a food processer which can chop and grate the vegetables in a matter of seconds. It also happens to be vegan, gluten-free and raw!
The richness of the tahini in this vegan salad works wonderfully with the sweetness of the apples and raisins, especially when offset by the sharp tanginess of the cider vinegar. I would serve this dish as part of a salad selection, perhaps with a quinoa salad, a dip and some protein. However, it’s also excellent as a crunchy side to a stew and rice, or combined with some falafel and homous inside a flatbread or tortilla wrap. The possibilities are endless!
One thing to note is that it doesn’t keep too well because the vegetables start to release water, and the taste deteriorates over time; I would suggest combining the dressing and the vegetables just before you intend to serve.
For the dressing:
60g cider vinegar
15g flat-leaf parsley (plus more to garnish)
2 small sweet apples (I used gala), cored and de-seeded
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
For the salad:
Half a red cabbage
- To prepare the dressing, use the small component of a food processer to whizz up all the ingredients. If you don’t own an electric mixer, grate the apple manually and whisk up all the ingredients in a bowl. The dressing is quite a stiff mixture; this is because the salt in it will encourage the vegetables to release moisture and if it were runnier, the whole dish would end up being too ‘wet’.
- Grate (or use the grating attachment from a food processer) to grate the celery, carrots and cabbage.
- Combine the dressing, the vegetables and the raisins in a large bowl. I find it easier to mix using my hands to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Garnish with some springs of parsley for colour. Enjoy!
Cauliflower & Chickpea Curry
This is the most consistent chickpea curry recipe i have ever encountered – perfect every time!
Adapted from an original recipe from Sarah Brown
1 Tbsp cumin powder
1 Tbsp coriander powder
4 Tbsp oil (olive or sunflower)
400g can tomatoes
1 Can chickpeas (or 250g cooked chickpeas)
1/2 cauliflower broken into small florets.
250 ml vegan veg stock
2 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Lemon juice to taste (1/2 – 1 lemon)
Salt and pepper
1. Place onions chillies, 1/2 – 1 tsp salt, pepper, cumin and coriander into food processor and blend with a little water to make a paste.
2. Fry the paste in the oil for about 10 mins on med heat, allow it to brown a little.
3. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins. Add the cauliflower and cook for a further 10-15 mins until cooked.
4. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the lemon to taste and coriander just before serving.
Serve this delicious chickpea curry with rice and pickles as a main dish, or as a side dish with any other curries.
I quite often double up the quantities as it keeps really well.
Vegan Chocolate Muffins – best vegan muffins ever!
These muffins are delicious! Excellent muffin texture, choc muffin with chocolate chips AND banana. What’s not to love!
I tend to use cups for baking, these american style cups (don’t be confused and use mugs) come in 1, 1/2, 1/3 and 1/4 sizes usually in a set of four. They are really quick and easy to us. If you don’t have cups there is a really good conversion here
Most vegan baking uses a bowl of ‘dry’ and a bowl of ‘wet’ ingredients. The wet and dry are mixed separately first, then added together and mixed.
First the dry:
1 and 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar (any sugar you like)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips or broken chocolate
Then the wet:
1 cup mashed bananas (i use 2-4 depending on how many i have)
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil
Hot to make:
Add the cider vinegar to the milk and set aside (it will curdle)
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Mash the bananas and add to the coconut oil and vanilla extract. Then add the curdled milk/vinegar mix
Add the wet to the dry and mix week.
Add the chocolate chips and mix
Put mix into 12 muffin cases (might make a duple of extra ones)
Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C
Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack still in their cases.
Become a Yoga Teacher? Why?
6 reasons why you should become a yoga teacher straight from the mouths of our Camyoga teachers
1 – You make a positive difference to other people’s lives
“What I love about teaching is to have the possibility to share knowledge and/or experience with other people so that they too might feel the benefits and happiness it gave me.” Jozef Wiewel
“i like the idea of helping people or influence them in a positive way” Hakan Aydin
2 – Become a yoga teacher – keep fit and healthy and it does not have a retirement age!
“It’s probably the one and only job in the world which makes you healthier and happier the more you “work” (with no negative side-effects!)” Andrea Price
“Yoga teaching goes with you throughout your life. I am still teaching 30 years on from my training, and one of my first teachers only retired at 75.” Beverley Nolan
3 – It enriches your own spirit and mind; to be in “satsang” – to learn and grow yourself from other like-minded people
“Teaching enhances one’s own personal development because as a teacher you are forever expanding your knowledge.” Kari Knight
“Teaching is a two-way dynamic, and everyone you meet is unique. I learn a lot from everyone” Beverley Nolan
4 – You become part of a positive and proactive community
“Social connectedness supports us. Practicing yoga in the community in the company of others brings social connectedness. Other benefits include sharing positive energy of love, compassion, kindness.” Kari Knight
5 – As a yoga teacher you can help people to reconnect and re-energize
“To guide and to inspire others that yoga means finding connections and links to all life – life is precious , all beings are worthy, lets make the planet a better place to live on and off the mat “ Andrea Kwiatkowski
“It may sound like a trite FB post, but you have something not only practical but amazing to offer people: a way back to the lived experience of the body” Beverley Nolan
6 – It’s a great and enjoyable job!
“You get to teach something that you love (and have the perfect excuse to do as many yoga courses and workshops as you want)” Paul Fox
So there is it, from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Thank you to all the yoga teachers that took part, though I must say I can’t believe nobody mentioned the great clothes you get to wear to work (have you seen the leggings they have for sale at the moment?!) If you are interested in becoming a yoga teacher take a look at our courses and workshops here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
“with teaching comes responsibility , you guide , like the translation of Namaste says- “the spirit of yoga in me guides and honors the spirit of yoga in you” – that in essence is what your ultimate reason should be about” Andrea Kwiatkowski
10 reasons for the yoga boom
Today there are 30 million people regularly practicing yoga around the world but what has made this ancient practice so popular?
- Firstly think Jane Fonda in lycra! The 70’s and 80’s brought us the fitness boom in the US. This movement led to interest in many different forms of exercise, including yoga
- Numerous research studies reveal the physical and emotional benefits of yoga, adding scientific weight to this ancient practice and attracting even more followers
- Yoga is an ancient 5,000 year old practice; it has travelled and shifted and hybridized. Think of Yoga like an ancient tree with many branches and roots from its original self. It moves with the times and endures. With so many fad diets and workouts it has stood the test of time
- Yoga is illuminated to the masses through its celebrity followers; think Madonna and Sting in the early days and now a whole bucket load of famous faces swear by the practice like Charlie Theron and Robert Downey Jnr. There is nothing like celebrity endorsements!
- It is accessible to all – it suits all ages, shapes and sizes – it does not require high levels of fitness nor any special equipment just the body and the mind (and preferably a mat!) There are over 84,000 different postures and variations of yoga – so take your pick!
- Yoga can heal – it is therapeutic and can be used successfully with conditions such as insomnia, back problems, digestion problems, asthma, improving circulation, anxiety and weight loss — just to name a few. It is often recommended to patients by osteopaths, acupuncturists, and other medical practitioners.
- Yoga is regenerating – it benefits ALL systems; the circulatory, glandular, digestive, nervous, musculoskeletal, reproductive and respiratory systems. Everyone has something that could be improved by yoga practice
- Yoga is a non-dogmatic spiritual practice but it is not religious. It is enlightened and special and spiritual and as humans we are attracted to this sense of something else in our lives
- Yoga is an antidote to the negative effects of our modern lives; busy and stressful, running around the ant farm being bombarded by so much external stimulus – Yoga has the ability to calm us, to take us away from the madness and teaches us to ‘be in the moment’. It helps us to balance ourselves – to add a little more Yin to our Yang!
- Yoga is now a billion dollar industry; immaculate studios, fashionable clothes, accessories, retreats, DVDs, famous faces and famous juice cleanses – these all keep the yoga wheel turning – we see it in advertisements, on social media, TV and films – capitalism is fully involved and agree with it or not it does promote and maintain yoga within popular culture – and lets be honest; the more people that discover yoga, the better off we will all be! Namaste
What is the hardest aspect of flying? 26 minutes of the David Swenson workshop retold
David Swenson ran a ‘flying and floating’ workshop at the Camyoga Studio loft in Great Shelford. 60 people attended and for the first 26 minutes so did our very own Tom Hallam. Here is his own words, he explains this inspiring experience;
What is the hardest aspect of flying?
This question was proposed early in David’s fantastic workshop, to which the answer being; the sudden deceleration at the end! I only managed to catch his first twenty six minutes (yes, very specific; I recorded the audio!) before returning downstairs to continue helping behind the scenes.
However, in that time, the amount I learnt from his words and actions is highly valuable to anyone wishing to develop their yoga practice to the next level. I wish to share some of those special twenty-six minute-moments with you, now. Comical and wise, David gave insights of knowledge into the practice of Ashtanga Yoga that was wholeheartedly digested by his captivated audience;
In this universe it would seem that everything is comprised of opposites. Up-down, right-left, front-back winter-summer male-female inhale-exhale birth-death. The two components of Vinyasa; movement and breathing, I look at as though opposite forces. What do they represent? A rather abstract question, contemplate this for a moment…
What does movement represent, what does breath represent? (various answers crop up)
Well let’s look at movement first; the gross, external, physical, mechanical aspect.
The breath represents the invisible practice, everything we cannot see. The energetic, internal, subtle aspect.
What does yoga mean? Union.
What does Hatha mean? Sun and moon. Opposite forces. The union of opposing forcing.
This Vinyasa is a beautiful manifestation of taking these opposing forces and creating a balance between them.
We’ll talk more practical things, jumping through and jumping back, this is part of it, right? That jumping around I was doing, is also a manifestation of Vinyasa, but this is also Vinyasa. *demonstrates*
Anytime we move with our breath in that precise manner, it’s a Vinyasa. It’s not only jumping. Any questions so far?
I’ve been practicing Yoga since I was thirteen. So, five years now.” * class laughter*
And that was in the first four minutes. The ball was rolling. This was preceded by many more anecdotes and stories that simply do not hold the same power as if you were present in the room. Needless to say the laughter was hysterical. His style of teaching and delivery were unique, it was lighthearted, relaxed, professional, and completely in control.
I intermittently checked in on the class, and observed sixty people in what appeared to be a dance. There was such a strong sense of unity. I can understand from this why more and more people are gravitating to Yoga every day. It is to these inspiring teachers, like David, we thank. And also to the dedicated Yogis, who traveled far and wide to attend this three hour workshop. Until the next time. Keep practicing!
Thomas Peter Hallam
David Swenson will be returning to Camyoga in 2015 – watch this space!
Yin & Yang – The theory and yoga practice explained by Simon Low
What is the theory of Yin & Yang?
In essence this ancient Chinese philosophy means two halves that together complete wholeness, two opposite yet complementary energies which are always in movement, never static but always balancing and rebalancing into a state of perfect harmony. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang)
How it is relevant to my life?
In our busy and often stressful lives our personal harmony can be seriously off balance. Perhaps you deal with an excess of work and not enough relaxation, lots of time spent thinking about the externals of life (deadlines, daily choices, opinions) and a lack of inner contemplation. Striking a balance with ever changing states of energies is hard (really hard!) but it is also possibly the path to a more contented and harmonized existence
Yin and yang are a wonderful way to generate greater self- awareness and make interesting connections between our own conditions and all our possible interactions with the world we live in. Yin and yang allow us to connect ourselves to everything around us so that we can quickly decide what we need to do to bring ourselves back to a more balanced state when feeling any discomfort.
Yin and Yang in Yoga and Simon Low
Yin and Yang yoga started in the 1970’s but has only recently gained international popularity. Simon Low (who will be at Camyoga in 2015 running workshops) discovered this form in 2001 and is now one the foremost experts in it. Here are extracts from his website explaining this popular form of yoga
“In appropriately balanced combination, the ‘whole’ is greater than the sum of its two parts, offering the most effective & inclusive approach to yoga that I have ever experienced in over 20 years of teaching & practice. I continue to recognize Yin & Yang Yoga’s incredible effectiveness as a modality for health”
Who is Simon Low? 5 things you should know!
Simon Low has over 20 years’ experience as a yoga teacher and is internationally acclaimed. Here are 5 things you should know about the charismatic man who will be visiting us next year!
1 – Simon spent 14 years in the music business. It was high flying and fast paced; a life representative of the ‘work hard, play hard’ moto. It wasn’t till he was in his mid-thirties that he first discovered yoga and started his path to become to yogic mogul he is today!
2 – Simon Low was a founding member of one of the first ever yoga studios in the UK – The Triyoga studios in London. Since then he has continued to delve into the world of yoga; founding the Yoga academy, running international courses, retreats, writing books and yoga videos (Yin and Yang Yoga with Simon Low), he has contributed and been covered by various national papers
3 – Simon is a LEGEND in Yin & Yang yoga (Yin and Yang to be explained in part 2) Simon is famous in the world of Yin and Yang yoga. He views yoga practice as a balance between the body and mind, the spiritual and the emotional, the physical and the mental. He talks of Yin yoga practice as a form of therapy to actively change negative patterns within our minds. This can have successively positive and lasting effects on our wellbeing and is something that is at times forgotten in the modern world within the focused ambition to improve the physical body. “the essence of yoga…is observing our mental attachments, observing our patterns – the whole process of yoga it to undo patterns and to really open us up to the reality of how our mind shapes our experiences”
4 – Simon is an open minded scholar. Simon first trained to be a yoga teacher with Dr Larry Payne at Samata in Los Angeles and has spent over 20 years studying and exploring a varietal wealth of physical, energetic and spiritual practices. You get a real sense that he has studied an incredible amount with gusto and he intertwines his style of yoga with what he learns about anatomy and physiology among other areas of interest
5 – Simon is passionate and outspoken about safety. He teaches his students that they must understand the need to protect themselves and that yoga can cause harm if not practiced correctly. If he believes a classic asana may have the potential to damage he will apply adjustments, for example with Warrior II pose, which he considers to put strain on the lower lumbar area.
In the proximate chapter of this blog we will focus specifically on Yin and Yang yoga and Simon’s teachings within it.
Simon comes to CAMYOGA in 2015: A weekend with SIMON LOW
Research and quotes taken from: Telegraph Interview by Anna Murphy. Interview by Christina Maningo for In The Loop and from Simons own website
Pete Blackaby – ‘Intelligent Yoga’
Pete Blackaby author of Intelligent Yoga’ and pioneer of the ‘Humanist Yoga’ approach pays a long awaited visit to Camyoga next week for a two day intensive open to teachers and students alike.
In his book ‘Intelligent Yoga’ Pete introduces the following ideas:
Themes that I think are worthy of debate are the following:
1. Yoga as a modern practice. Most serious students of yoga will know by now that there is a big disconnect between the type of yoga that is practiced in the majority of Gyms and yoga studios today, compared to the type of yoga described in the texts revered by most yogis. There have been a raft of books in recent years pointing out this disconnect. If we take this as our starting point that current yoga is a modern practice, what from the past can we legitimately carry forward into the future and what needs to change? What differentiates modern yoga from exercise?
2. Perhaps most contentiously can we take the ideas of chakras, kundalini prana, and other ideas of subtle energy as reality or are they simply a metaphor for experience, which is certainly the perspective I take. If we take this view and strip out much of the metaphysics how do we now differentiate yoga from other forms of exercise?
3. Anatomy. Yoga is flooded with books on the anatomy of yoga. Having taught the anatomy of yoga for many years, I now feel it can be a red herring leading us down un-useful ways of thinking. There is a place for anatomy, but largely to help explain why some movements are unhelpful, or why some people can do certain poses and others not. What anatomy cannot do is inform about how to move. To understand movement we have to study movement and see how anatomy supports it, not the other way round.
Join Pete 13/14 November Camyoga Shelford BOOK HERE open to teachers, trainee teachers and students