"Follow the breath
Present moment...wonderful moment
Meditation in Movement".
Mysore is a city in the south of India where Ashtanga yoga has been taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his family since the 1930's. In the traditional style of Mysore, students learn a set sequence of Ashtanga postures in a special movement-breathing technique called vinyasa. The vinyasa links the individual yoga postures (asanas) together with a distinct style of breathing called ujjayi (victorious) breath.
Mysore style involves each student being given a sequence of postures according to their ability, beginning with the Primary Series. Students then practice at their own pace, with individual guidance and hands on adjustments provided by the teacher as necessary. As the student develops strength, stamina, flexibility and concentration, additional postures are given. It is important the student waits for the teacher to provide the following posture for two reasons. Firstly, to ensure the student is physically ready for the next posture and it is learnt (and practiced) correctly and secondly, to express respect for the practice of yoga and their teacher. In this sense, yoga is passed from teacher to individual student as is the traditional and spiritual practice in India.
The coming of dawn is a magical time for yoga and traditionally when Mysore practice is done. Although for many people waking before dawn takes some initial adjustment, the rewards of this beautiful practice are quickly felt.
While Mysore style is a dynamic and physically challenging practice, the real test for the student is to connect with their breath and remain fully aware. Mysore style ultimately offers the practitioner the ability to experience one of life’s most precious gifts: meditation in movement.
What to expect in a Mysore class
As the sun rises, in a warm yoga studio it is the rhythmic sound of the ujjayi breath and the internal focus of each student that characterizes a Mysore class. Compared to other yoga classes, the silence in a Mysore class is striking, with the dominant sound the collective ujjayi breath as students move through their own practice. Within this cocoon of breath, the teacher moves from student to student, giving adjustments and guidance as appropriate.
Beginners coming to Mysore classes spend the first month learning the postures of the Ashtanga sequence, the ujjayi breath, and how to link their movement with this special breathing technique. You don't need to be flexible or know the sequence in order to begin, and a teacher will work closely with you in the early stages to help you become comfortable with the sequence. If you are new to Ashtanga or accustomed to lead yoga classes, the Mysore-style setting can seem strange at first. But with close guidance and support from a teacher, the body quickly finds its own rhythm and the sequence begins to flow.
At the beginning of each class, a traditional opening mantra is called by the teacher and repeated by the students. Just as music moves and inspires us regardless of whether we intellectually know the meaning, mantras are sound vibrations that have a profound effect on our body and mind, preparing us for the practice.
Mysore style is traditionally practiced at dawn, 5-6 days a week with Saturdays, full moon and new moon days off. We strongly recommend students commit to practicing at least 3 times per week to build stamina and allow the full benefits of the Mysore style to be experienced.
Full Moon and New Moon dates