What is Mysore Yoga? By Emma Lindsay
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!