Today I’m going tackle a little subject called Mysore. Mysore-style Ashtanga yoga classes are classes where you take yourself through the series – as far as you can go – without being led, only assisted and adjusted by the teacher where necessary. Now as a beginner, this is completely terrifying as you rely completely on yourself to take you through, trying to remember the sequence, alignment, foot placement, gaze etc. Because Ashtanga is a style of yoga that shows no mercy, this is fitting really!
I’ve only ever done one Mysore class along my journey, much to the horror of my yoga teacher (who painstakingly took me through a beginner’s Ashtanga course and expected me on the mat at Mysore the next day) for no other reason than that it is scary. Oh, and I tend to get bored if I can’t manage to focus properly. It does also get distracting if I am not completely focused, as everyone around me is doing much deeper postures and parts of the series I have never seen before that kind of resemble a pretzel.
But the point is, Mysore is scary. If you’re not 100% sure of the sequence and not comfortable taking yourself through it, it can be very stressful. It’s apparently the only way you really learn and advance in your practice, as with a led class you can tend to blindly follow the instructions of the voice of your teacher. I found this to be true lately, as I do actually know the series and am comfortable taking myself through it (even though I still can’t get into all the postures), so a led class completely took my brain out of action and I was like a little yoga puppet.
So ‘they’ are ‘apparently’ right in saying I should be going to Mysore. I should be. In the meantime I have found a happy alternative with Ekam‘s new ‘Open Ashtanga’ classes where we are led through the standing postures and from there it’s Mysore-style. LOVE it! It’s perfect for beginners who are still a bit unsure of proper Mysore classes (sometimes I feel like I’ll be a beginner forever) so any beginners (or anyone) out there in Joburg – give it a go – it does wonders for your confidence in yourself.