When I first heard the word Mysore – I thought it had something to do with “My sore…hamstrings!”. I later found out that this is the name of the city in South India from where the practice originates. Now in Ashtanga yoga schools around the world, “Mysore-style” refers to a class that aims to stay true to the method of teaching found at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India.
Practicing Ashtanga yoga “Mysore-style” is one of those things that really needs to be experienced first hand to be truly understood – but here are some general tips for what to expect at a Mysore class;
- The room will be mainly silent except for the sound of breathing
- Students of all levels practice alongside each other, from complete beginners to more advanced
- Right from the beginning, the teacher works with each student individually. This way students can progress at a pace that is suitable to their own level of strength, flexibility, and stamina
- Students learn and memorise, step-by-step, a set series of postures that are practiced daily. New postures are added slowly when the student is ready
- The teacher will assist the students through either verbal instruction or hands-on adjustments as necessary
- Students can come at any time during the 6:30-10: 30 am timeslot, depending on how long they need for their own practice. Initially, practice will take around 30 minutes and over time will be steadily extended to 90 minutes in duration
- If these points raise more questions than they answer and you are curious to know more, watching a Mysore class is a great way to get a better idea of what goes on. Otherwise, consider joining an Intro to Ashtanga workshop which is a great stepping-stone to starting a Mysore practice.
Finally, remember – you do not need to know anything about Ashtanga yoga or even yoga to join a Mysore class. You don’t even need a flexible or strong body. Complete beginners and people of all ages, body types and fitness levels are welcome.
All that is required is an open mind and enthusiasm to learn. We do recommend that you try to make a commitment to attending three classes a week for one month to give yourself the best chance to experience the many benefits the practice can bring.