If you've been practicing Ashtanga regularly or on and off, you might have come across or heard the term 'Mysore style practice' or just 'Mysore style' and been wondering what that is! If you're new to this style or have been curious about it, we thought to write about it to explain it's magic..
The Essence of Mysore Style Ashtanga
Mysore Style Ashtanga is a traditional and self-paced approach to Ashtanga Yoga. Unlike led classes where everyone moves together, Mysore Style empowers you to cultivate an intimate connection with your practice. Guided by the teacher, you're encouraged to move at your own rhythm, listening to your body's needs on the day. This personalised approach fosters a deep sense of self-awareness and cultivates an inner listening, allowing the sense of your practice being a moving meditation to deepen!
Through the repetitive nature of the practice, you develop discipline, focus, and patience. The asanas (postures) become a mirror, reflecting not only your physical strength but also your mental and emotional states. With time, you'll witness how the practice carries over into your daily life, fostering resilience, self-acceptance, and a greater capacity for compassion.
Breath and Movement
Central to Mysore Style Ashtanga practice is the synchronicity of breath and movement. Just like in our Ashtanga classes, we flow through a the series of postures, always guiding and reconnecting our movement and breath where we can! Our breath acts as a steady anchor that guides you deeper into your practice and connects you to the present moment at each moment.
In a Mysore Ashtanga practice space, you'll find the spirit of community supporting one another with kindness and encouragement.
With everyone in their own personal practice, the whole room becomes a tapestry of collective energy, where everyone's presence contributes to an uplifting atmosphere.
What exactly happens in a Mysore Ashtanga Session?
Everyone comes in to the class, and we will begin with the Ashtanga opening chant. This is optional for you, whether you want to listen to the chant, or join in the call and response.
There will be a sheet of paper next to your mats, showing the Ashtanga sequence. This is so that you can refer to it when you need to, without any worry on your part that you will forget what comes next! If you do, there is no issue at all, as the teacher will be in the class to guide you through, or there is the sheet for your reference.
Everyone starts their practice with 5 Sun Salutation As, and 3 Sun Salutation B's. This is where the pace of everyones individual practice will start varying. Your teacher will come round and offer physical adjustments (you can choose not to have any physical adjustments if you prefer) that aims to support everyone in their postures and practice with an individual approach.
The room continues their practice, with guidance from the teacher who will be around the room constantly, offering individual help, adjustments (if you want it!), support and any advice needed throughout the whole practice. In a Mysore Ashtanga class, you are practicing at your own pace, but you are fully supported and guided by the teacher throughout too.
In the room, each person may find that they will be practicing up to a different point in the sequence to the next person, as you dictate the pace of your practice, as you also listen inward to what you need that particular day.
Towards the end of the practice, the teacher will guide everyone to close their practice - with some people practicing a full closing sequence, with a modified version offered to those who aren't yet fully comfortable with all the inversions.
Throughout the whole practice there is support given, which gives this style of practice its unique, personalised approach that we love.
At the end of our practice, we come together at the front of our mats to listen or join in with the closing chant, before a final sun salutation to Savasana. And that's how a class goes!
Remember, the beauty of any Yoga practice lies not in achieving asana but in coming with an open mind and a compassionate heart to yourself and everyone around you.
If you fancy giving this style a go, we are running 4 week Mysore Style blocks, the first one starting in September!
7-28 September, Thursdays 7.30-8.45am.
£52 for the 4 weeks
Link to book is here.
This first course will be open to those who currently have (even a little!) Ashtanga practice. 8 spaces only so do book on if you want to attend! Do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.