Yoga is an ancient practice that originated within the wisdom traditions of India. The methods of yoga have shown that by using our body, breath and mind in a particular way, we may find harmony within ourselves. Yoga pulls us back into our bodies, and teaches us an awareness that keeps us healthy, filled with a sense of well-being and gives us a renewed ability to remain aware in the present moment.
Ashtanga Yoga is a dynamic, structured and intelligent approach to the practice of yoga, and is comprised of both practical and philosophical components. the practical portion has traditionally taught in two ways, Mysore Style and Led Class.
Ashtanga Mysore Style
These words on Mysore are adapted and with kind permission from Sarah Hatcher who gives one of the best explanations of the Ashtanga Mysore method.
“Students new to Ashtanga should plan for one hour of practice initially.
Self practice (also called Mysore Style Ashtanga) is the traditional way to learn Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Students work at their own pace and ability with the guidance of a teacher in the calm and relaxed setting of the Mysore room.
Mysore practice is really what Ashtanga yoga is all about and Mysore class is an opportunity for one to commit to a healthy yoga practice.
You learn a sequence of movements at your own pace; the role in Mysore room as a teacher is to give specific instruction on how to safely and affectively practice yoga so that you can do yoga on your own, and be confident in what you are doing.
Practical key elements of yoga are taught: how to breathe correctly, how to align safely and effectively in yoga postures, bandhas, drishti, safe vinyasa tips, and also how to concentrate and build meditative awareness. The ultimate goal of yoga is to still the mind through practice. Learning traditional practice gives you the tools for learning how to be still as well. The only way for this to happen is if there is a healthy routine for doing it. You can’t just do yoga once or twice, it will only really work if you do it often and regularly. This is why a daily morning Mysore practise works.
Students work on a set series of yoga asanas each time they approach their yoga mat, then they don’t have to wonder what they will do each time they practice. This routine develops flexibility and strength along with confidence. With time meditation begins while practicing these movements because practitioners think less and breathe and feel more.
Each asana is taught one at a time during Mysore practice. Once you understand how to navigate your limbs into a posture and you remember how to approach it safely, you receive the next posture. So you don’t start out with a difficult posture, you start slowly and build one upon the other.
When you come to a Mysore class, there are all ages and levels of people practicing; there could be a beginner right next to an advanced student. Don’t be fooled by the more advanced practitioner, they too had to start somewhere! In the beginning you may only learn a few postures. Over time, and as you become more capable, you add more postures onto your routine.
Developing a consistent practise time creates a healthy pattern of doing your yoga practise. This also means that the yoga becomes part of life which is different to “I’m going to go to yoga today!” and then doing it once a week. This is where injuries often occur when we try to do a strong practice such as ashtanga on a random basis.
It’s recommended for beginning students to practise three times a week building up to five days per week. When you begin, the practice will only be about an hour. And slowly with time, the length of your practice develops as will the sincerity and quality.. It won’t take long to bring the vitality and wisdom you receive from your morning yoga practice, right into your day so you can feel good and do good.”
Traditionally Astanga Yoga is not taught on new moon and full moon.
Mysore style is a simple, effective and ancient method of learning yoga. Everyone practises together but is totally involved in their own yoga practice. You build the practice slowly over time….one breath, one posture at a time.
“Mysore” is inspired by the name of the city in India, where the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga master, Sri K Pattabhi Jois taught, until his passing in May 2009, and where his grandson Sharath continues his work. It is the traditional way to learn the practise.
Traditionally, yoga has been passed from teacher to student on a one-to-one basis, where the student is guided through the postures and builds a self practice over time.
Ashtanga Led Class
Learn yoga postures in a flowing sequence of movement and experience new potentials of strength and flexibility and develop a meditative awareness between the body and mind. The led class is the more typical style yoga class which is offered in the West, where the teacher instructs the group together, leading the class through the 48 postures of the primary series.
This dynamic sequence opens new dimensions of the mind-body-breath connection and you will begin to move into a direct experience of the flow of the practice.