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Demystifying "Mysore"

Uncategorized Sep 05, 2020
The Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga system provides a dynamic and personalised platform for personal growth which is seeped in philosophy and history.  It provides both a physical and mental modality towards wellness. 
The word “Ashtanga” comes from the ancient scriptures of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, it means “eight limbs”. In the sūtras Patañjali describes the eight branches of work to be able to bring wellness in the body and steadiness of mind. (Yama (abstinences), Niyama (observances), Āsana (postures), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (sense withdrawal), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (contemplation). Both internal and external work. 
Vinyasa- simply means breath, movement system.  The word “Vinyasa” is now included in our modern day understand of what Ashtanga Yoga is, although closely linked with Patañjali’s sutras- the “Ashtanga Vinyasa system”, is specifically a set of āsana sequences created and designed by the late Pattabhi Jois with his teacher Krishnamacharya, who was based in southern India, a city called Mysore.
This set of sequences, combined with breath, bandha (internal locks) and dristi (gazing points) provide wellness and lightness to the body and mind. 
Notoriously dubbed as “hard” or “dynamic” this method, we work hard at Meadowlark Yoga to demystify this reputation.  Especially if taught in a Mysore setting, can be accessible to all levels, body and ages.  As long as you can breath, you can do an Ashtanga vinyasa practice! 
  • The title “Mysore” was lovingly adopted from the city name and relates to the class setting where you will be taught 1:1 within a group setting.  This is the most traditional way of learning Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. 
  • “Led” class is where we all move together as a group, it should be noted in a traditional ashtanga vinyasa class the instruction are focused on the vinyasa count and not detailed intricacies of how to enter each āsana. The teacher won’t be demonstrating at the front of class.  So if you plan to join one of our led classes on our Mysore timetable you’ll get more benefit from it once you’ve worked with a teacher in the Mysore room for a little while or familiar with Ashtanga sequence.  This class is one of our most advanced classes on our timetable so do join the Mysore room first!
Don’t know the postures or how you’ll learn them? That’s where your Mysore teacher comes in, they will teach you progressively and invite you to build up a sequence of movement and breath each time you come to the room.  They will teach you at a pace that is appropriate for you, not your neighbour
Own practice, own breath, own internal focus, shared community of like minded practitioners. 

See our whole Mysore timetable HERE

And a detailed web page of how we are operating in 2021: HERE

Some general Mysore community etiquette: 
  • Please arrive prepared
  • Please bathe before practicing
  • Out of town guests, welcome!  Please have a small discussion with the teacher before you start.
  • Please let the Instructor know of any injuries you may have or if you are pregnant
  • We encourage who those are menstruating to take rest around the start of their period (3 days often advised).
  • Please respect the practice times
  • Settle all payments before class
  • There are no morning classes on Full and New Moons; 'Moon Days' and a restorative Yin class offered (Evening Mysore does not follow Moon Days and will run as usual) 

Are beginners welcome? 
Beginners are always welcome, as we work with you 1:1 in the group setting it’s actually the best way to learn as a new yogi, all we ask for is a little commitment and consistency (2-3 times per week) so we can teach you safely and effectively. 
We run beginners specific workshops, courses and taster sessions detailed HERE.
Worried that you wouldn’t remember the sequence? 
That’s where your teacher comes in. They will help you! No fearing.
Why is moving through the same sequence beneficial? It’s that boring?  
Because, unlike a more modern vinyasa class where you/the teacher can cherry pick the āsana you want to do, the Ashtanga Vinyasa system asks you to do the postures you love or the ones you don’t like. The sequences were designed by Pattabhi Jois to logically build up on each other. And this repetition provides a platform to observe the mind, and notice how you react to the challenge.  No one practice is ever the same, so although you might be doing to same postures, they feel different each day. 
The Ashtanga Vinyasa practice allows you to transcend beyond just the āsana and get into the more subtle aspects of practice, like the breath, the bandha and how you focus the mind (dristi).  In the Mysore setting, you will learn the next postures, as and when you are physically and mentally ready for them.
What’s the aim? 
This practice should bring more wellness and steadiness to your mind and body. It will challenge you on lots of different levels and if done mindfully allow you to make your life fuller and easier.
Will I be physically adjusted? 
This is an important discussion between yourself and your teacher.  We will always ask you if you are comfortable with an assist and always encourage you to share with us openly if it doesn’t feel good.  In the Mysore setting, you will observe that lots of the physical teaching can be via adjustments and also verbal too.  The relationship of student and teacher is paramount to our community here at Meadowlark and always invite dialogue. 
I've read about some misconduct in the Ashtanga Yoga community can you tell me more?
Yes, we are always happy to talk about this.  Since more of this information "came to light" in 2017 during the #metoo movement we have been addressing these issues and here are some of the resources online with blogs and podcasts HERE explaining our dialogue and action around the subject.  Please always talk to the Mysore team teachers about this openly at any point also. 
I’m interested in learning more than āsana. 
Great!  We run chanting, philosophy, prāṇāyāma (breath work) sessions on Friday mornings at 9.10am that are free for our Mysore community. On regular Sunday’s we also will often run “conference” where we talk about philosophy and share ideas and community spirit together.  Look out for more workshops on our website also. 
It says “Mysore team” on the schedule, who teaches when? 
We title it Mysore team as we are a collective of teachers- and assistants, who are dedicated to supporting our students. We regular share and communicate with each other about our students so that our teaching has parallels to it, as well as practicing in each other’s rooms most days.  Generally, you’ll find Emma Isokivi, our Mysore director, teaching the early hours; Amy Hughes, teaching the later morning room; and Kirsten Waugh teaching the evening Mysore program. 
It’s helpful for you as a practitioner to work more regularly with one teacher, so you build up a relationship and consistency for you day/life also. 

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