About Mysore Yoga

Students practice ashtanga yoga in the Mysore Style in the shala (studio) in Mysore, South India

The image above was captured in the shala (studio) in Mysore South India; the city in which our teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois lived and taught for over seven decades.

The first thing you’ll notice is that everyone is working differently in the room. Advanced and beginning students practice side by side. This is because the practice is introduced like a prescription, systematically and individually based on physical, mental and energetic appetite and aptitude.

The first thing you’ll notice is that everyone is working differently in the room. Advanced and beginning students practice side by side.

Another distinguishing element to this practice is silence. By removing external influences that trigger or provoke, the practitioner works with their natural state of mind and being. It is through this essential relationship between body, mind and spirit that the practitioner learns yoga.

This method also teaches independence allowing the student to take full responsibility for their practice. Each student memorizes their individual sequence and is able to do any time, anywhere. Over time, practitioners will naturally fall into ruts and various plateaus. Similarly in a led class environment students may become dependent on an external source to provide instructions, emotional cues, etc. further deepening dependence on external stimuli. In the Mysore room you are working directly with own breath and body. The teacher’s role is to adjust students as needed, advise when necessary, and advance the student when appropriate.

New To Mysore – New To Yoga

Mysore is often misunderstood as a class only for advanced students. This is far from the truth. The safest and best way to learn the Ashtanga method is within a Mysore setting.

From the first day, each student works one-on-one with the teacher. For example, on the first day, a student will be guided through Surya Namaskar A, Padmasana (or a midification if necessary), and Savasana (rest). Total the practice will take about 20 minutes. Thereafter, postures are given one-by-one, in a specific sequential order. Slowly new postures are introduced. In this way, a practitioner works within their ability while working on becoming steady and stable and memorizing the current postures. This ensures a solid foundation is in place before adding more poses.

For people new to Ashtanga yoga we require a one-month commitment, 5-6 days a week, 20 – 45 minutes per day.

For people new to Ashtanga yoga we require a one-month commitment, 5-6 days a week, 20 – 45 minutes per day. Before commencing studies you will observe class for a short time. This time for observation allows the student to get a sense of Mysore and the teacher’s teaching style. The relationship between teacher/student is based on mutual trust and understanding. Best to embark on the journey once a sense of trust and curiosity towards the teacher and method is present.

New To Mysore – with Yoga Experience

The Mysore room is perhaps the safest and best setting to learn advanced poses. Practicing 5 or 6 days a week with the same teacher allows for the teacher-student relationships to deepen. From that base, obstacles, fear and anxiety surrounding certain postures will be met with more ease and grace.

All students new to Mysore, regardless of experience, begin the same way. Each student works one-on-one with the teacher please read above ‘New To Mysore – New To Yoga’

All students new to Mysore, regardless of experience, begin the same way. Each student works one-on-one with the teacher. For example, on the first day, a student will be guided through Surya Namaskar A, Padmasana and then they will take rest. Total practice will take approximately 20 minutes. Thereafter, postures are given one-by-one, but in a specific sequential order. Slowly new postures are introduced. In this way, a practitioner works within their ability while working on becoming steady and stable in the current postures. This ensures a solid foundation is in place before adding more poses. It may feel at first like the practice is too short but with patience and trust, re-building and refining the foundation will provide a more adequate understanding of the practice. No doubt you will be working exactly where you should be.

Teacher-Student Relationship

With so many styles of yoga and so many teachers, how to know where to begin? How to live yoga as opposed to just ‘doing’ yoga?

Sri K Pattabhi Jois used to say ‘taking more than one teacher is like taking more than one wife.’ Regardless of cultural differences it is best to focus on one practice, with one teacher for a long period of time. The teacher student relationship brings it back to the simplest recipe of mutual respect and trust in a contained environment. It is through this vehicle that the teachings and transmission of Ashtanga Yoga are possible. 

Commitment To The Practice

This system is to be practiced daily (5-6 days a week). It is through the daily practice that the benefits reveal themselves. It is easy to move and sway with the thoughts, desires, preferences and opinions of the mind. The challenge lies in remaining steady and stable through those peaks and valleys.

This system is to be practiced daily (5-6 days a week). Drop-ins are for out of town students and those with an established practice.

It may be intimidating at first to commit to a daily practice but keep in mind your practice to begin with will be approximately 20 minutes. It will slowly progress as you, your body, your breath, and schedule adapt to the changes. Everyone can and should take 20 minutes per day for themselves, their health, and wellbeing.

Drop-ins are for out of town students and those with an established practice only.

Rest Days

  • Saturdays
  • New and Full Moon Days (visit schedule for moon calendar)
  • First 3 days of menstruation also referred to as ‘Ladies Holiday’ (contact Magnolia for further explanation)

Adjustments

Adjustments are meant to correct alignment and form. They can also provide physial and energetic references for students to integrate on the mat. In a Mysore room students can expect to receive hands-on adjustments from the teacher. Students should not expect to receive adjustments all the time. The teachings happen through the practice and not by dependance on the teacher. Generally as most students progress the need and desire for adjustments decreases. In fact, most advanced practitioners may find them unnecessary.

Class Etiquette

  • Please refrain from eating 2 hours prior to practice and 30 mins after practice
  • Please bathe before practice.
  • Please ensure your mat, rug, towel and other yoga gear are clean and odor free
  • Please leave bags and clothes in downstairs studio but bring valuables upstairs, shoes outside of the Mysore studio (upstairs).
  • Please refrain from wearing any and all scented products (perfumes, deoderants, etc)
  • Please refrain from wearing lotions, moisturizers or oils (makes skin slippery making it difficult to adjust safely)
  • Please communicate any injuries or illnesses to the teacher
  • Enjoy your practice

More information

Please read through all practice information, especially if you are new to Mysore or visiting Mysore SF for the first time.

Learn more about Ashtanga Lineage.

Learn more about Ashtanga Yoga.