Monday, May 6, 2013

Mysore Style

I just experienced my first Mysore style Ashtanga class and loved it! Mysore style is a specific way of teaching Ashtanga Yoga as first taught by Sir K. Phattabhi Jois in the city of Mysore in India. It is way, way different that what most westerners are used. First of all the class is not "led" by the teacher as a whole. Think of it as private lessons for all of the students that are practicing at the same time. The teacher assists each student individually by giving physical adjustments & verbal instruction then the student goes at their own pace. Usually the teacher will give you a part of the sequence to work on and repeat it until it becomes more familiar to your body and breath.

The main focus of your practice is your breath, your dhristi (your gaze or focus) and your posture.  No pop music blaring in the background, all you hear is the deep ujjayi breath and the gentle movements of the bodies in the room. No comparing your triangle to the persons next to you  because they are in extended side angle pose, not triangle. I will admit that the concept was a little distracting at first but then I got the hang of it.

What is also different is that students come in during the time frame of the class as they wish and leave when they have finished the series that they came to do. You then go to the finishing room to practice the ending poses as not to disturb the students who are still flowing in the practice room. Did I mention yet that I loved it!

When I go to another studio I don't like to mention that I am a teacher, I just want to be a student and learn just like everyone else, because of course I will always be a student of yoga. I went into the practice room with no ego (it's very liberating to practice without an ego, try it sometime) and imagined myself a brand new student of yoga, a clean slate so to speak. Wow, my body felt lighter, I really paid attention to what I was doing and let go of any and all expectations.  

It is amazing of the things that  you can accomplish when you let go of the ego and ....just breath!

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