Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga is ideal for anyone new to Yoga. Mysore basically means self-practice. The student practices the Ashtanga yoga sequence at his/her own pace in a group setting. This is different to a typical yoga class where a group of students perform poses together while the teacher demonstrates the pose. This self-practice approach is ideal for anyone new to the practice as one isn’t dependent on the group, you don’t feel overwhelmed if the group’s level is too high, and you don’t get bored if the groups level is lower. Basically you’re not dependent on the group, only yourself, which is what yoga is all about.
Obviously the teacher is there to guide the student, and in a mysore setting the teacher gets to spend more time with each student on an individual basis and doesn’t have to worry about group ‘choreography’. On the first night the beginner student is introduced to the start of the sequence. Then slowly each week the student is given extra poses depending on his/her ability. Over time the student gets familiar with the sequence and develops his/her own practice. Don’t worry too much about learning the sequence, at the start the teacher gives a lot of guidance, after time it comes naturally.
Ashtanga Yoga has an image of being a tough physical practice, which only the fit and healthy practice. It’s true, it can be a tough, if you want it to be. But it also can be a soft practice if practiced with the correct attitude. ‘Yoga is Universal’ is the famous quote from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Yoga can be practiced by anyone, whether young, old, small, large. It shouldn’t matter what limitations we have. What matters is that we recognise our limitations, and work with them in an intelligent manner. Check out this cool video from Authorised Ashtanga teacher David Robson based in Toronto Canada. The vid has a nice explanation of Ashtanga and what it’s all about.