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 and Led Class.
Students new to Ashtanga should plan for one hour of practice initially.
Assisted self practice (also called Mysore Style) is the traditional way to learn Ashtanga 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 gives us the teaching to enable us to have a healthy and customised yoga practice. The practice is customised for you and the teacher gives individual instruction with the unity of the group. The aim is that, over time a practice is to develop your own independent practice that you can do by yourself at home.
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.
Students work on the same sequence of postures each time they approach their yoga mat. This makes it easier to remember a yoga practise that over time becomes a ritual which can be done without thinking too much and allows us to focus more inwardly. This routine develops mobility and strength along with confidence, and over time meditation begins while practicing these movements because thinking reduces while breathing and feeling increases.
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 learn 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 and in the beginning you may only learn a few postures. Over time, and as the foundations of the practice are established, more asanasand depth will come to your practice.
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.
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.
It’s best to practice led class once a week to stay connected with the breath and vinyasa count and to repetitively hear the posture names , all of which bring a calm clarity and clear timing to the practice.
Led class is an invigorating sequence of postures that takes about 90 minutes to practice. Students move through the sequence in unison , guided together and with options given for challenging postures. Led class brings together chanting, pranayama, postures and breathing in a meditative, contemplative practice while strengthening and cleansing the internal organs, joints and muscles of the body.
Learning the primary series in this flowing sequence of movement lets us experience new potentials of strength and flexibility and develop a meditative awareness between the body and mind. Each breath and vinyasa is counted all the way through from the first sun salution to lying down in rest at the end.
I teach led class once a week, at the moment on a Thursday 9.30am, in the traditional meditative way, with Sanskrit posture name, count, breath and gazing point all given. It’s easy just to flow along and let breath and movement merge into one.
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.