What is ‘Mysore-Style’
Mysore (Mysuru) is a city in southern India where the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of the modern ashtanga yoga lineage, established his school of yoga in 1948. Jois’ teachings were based on those of his guru T. Krishnamacharya (born in Mysore) who in turn based his teachings on the Yoga Korunta, a document describing six groups of postures as well as the concepts of vinyasa, drishti, bandhas and mudras, as well as yogic philosophy. The first westerner arrived to practice with Jois in the 1960s, and from that time Ashtanga vinyasa yoga has continued to spread throughout the world and continues to influence many other styles of yoga.
The traditional form of teaching yoga in India is ‘guru-shishya parampara’, or teacher-student uninterrupted oral tradition. The guru or teacher works with each student individually allowing a more student-determined, organic form of learning. More specifically, in the teaching of yoga asanas (postures) a student will spend time learning the aspects, benefits and contraindications of a particular posture as he or she physically practices. When the student masters the asana, he or she is assigned the next posture in the sequence. In this way, the student is able to build his or her individual practice, and develop a greater understanding of the practice as a whole.
In a typical ‘Mysore-style’ practice session, the student arrives at the time appointed by the guru or teacher and begins their practice, continuing up to the posture they are currently learning. At this point the guru will assist or provide further instruction, and, if competence in the posture has been achieved, will assign the next posture in the sequence.
Contrary to a led class, where an instructor verbalizes or demonstrates each breath and movement, an individual’s self-practice is a very profound internal journey. The only sound is the constant inhalation and exhalation as each student uses the ujayyi breath to generate heat within the body. At first a new student can be confused, distracted and uncertain of the way forward. But as he or she focuses on the breath and on the posture, the body finds the alignment and the mind settles into the rhythm of the practice. Even though there are many people practicing, each in their own breath or posture, the individual student is surrounded by the energy of the whole.
Mysore-style at Ekam Yoga
Most of Ekam Yoga’s time and space is committed to Mysore-style self-practice because we believe that this method of teaching and practicing yoga is the most liberating for the student. You will learn a lot about your body and your mind- what it will take and what it can give in return. In addition, this practice can be taken with you wherever you go for the rest of your life. Whether you want to practice it in your living room or on the beach during your next vacation, it belongs to you.