Rise & Shine: Mysore in the Morning
Considering the idea of attending a 7am yoga class might make you shudder and tremble at the thought of the poor souls dragging themselves out of bed and braving the yoga studio first thing whilst most of us are pressing the snooze button and rolling over for another five minutes in bed. But have you ever considered the numerous benefits of an early morning practice? Changing the way you feel about the start of the day can radically change the way you feel for the rest of the day. Begin the day negatively and you've a lot of positivity to catch up on, but start with a strong yoga practice and you are much more likely to hit the ground running, with a calm mind and a spring in your step.
Mysore, the traditional way to practice Ashtanga, is a self led practice - students work through the Ashtanga series at their own pace, with guidance and adjustment from the teacher, who will introduce new postures to the student when the student is ready.
Here's what one of our students, a regular Mysore practitioner, has to say about the practice:
"Mysore does mean an early start - getting up and into the city early on a Monday sometimes requires more discipline than attempting straight legs in the fifth round of Navasana - but I like the peace and tranquillity of Cambridge and Camyoga early in the morning and really enjoy taking the benefits of a good practice with me for a full day. If, rather than facing Monday morning with a caffeine fuelled ‘Grrrr’, you fancy starting the week with a parasympathetic ‘Ahhh’ then come to Mysore.
Mysore is the traditional method of practicing Ashtanga and I feel it’s probably the class that puts the most responsibility in the student’s hands. You have to learn the poses and their order since it’s not led - an A4 sheet or a teacher’s prompt will help if you find yourself lost between dogs and dandasanas but I found that with the sequence, mostly, embedded in my mind I am freed to enjoy the practice and ultimately feel more involved with it.
I like the amount of personal attention one gets in the Mysore environment. Because the class is effectively self-led there’s more time for the teacher to spend a few minutes with a student, working on the finer details of whatever asana they’re trying to improve. Over the span of the class I might get 3 or 4 adjustments that I can reflect on, even pause my practice to discuss - this leads to byte-sized instruction that I find easer to retain which is not always possible in a led class.
I can and do practice at home but I really like that I can be in a yogic centre with a teacher present for guidance but still able to personalise and tailor my practice to suit my wishes on the day – if my hamstrings decide to fight the lengthening process, despite my intense efforts to engage the quadriceps, then maybe five breaths isn’t enough – I’ll try eight or nine and see who has the most patience / resilience . . . okay, so there’s always next week for another round in that particular battle!"