Mysore Program hosted by BandhaWorks is led by István Szalai KPJAYI authorized level 1.
Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is traditionally taught in the Mysore style. This style comprises the benefits of group classes and individual practice. The essence of this kind of practice is that everyone in the room progresses through the sequence according to their own rhythm of breath, thus the instructor can provide personal alignment and instructions to everyone without interfering with the dynamics of the class. This way it is no problem if someone only practices a shortened version, while others the whole sequence or even the first part of the second sequence during the class. Traditional instruction involves weekly 6 practices (Saturdays and Moon-days are rest days). This may seem very challenging at first, and of course beginners build their practice up gradually, initially only practicing part of the sequence. The instructor observes their progress and when the student is ready, gives subsequent asanas to add to the practice.
The time of practice is also determined – in India Mysore classes are held in the morning hours. The reason of this is that the so-called Brahma muhurta phase of the day (the one and a half hours preceding sunrise) is ideal for the practice of yoga. During this time the air is fresh, the environment is calm and the weather is still mild which is an important factor in India. Waking up refreshed we are untouched by the impressions that affect us during a hard day and the mind can remain focused more easily. The body is clean, the stomach empty, thus the circumstances are ideal for practice. In the beginning the body may seem less flexible in the early morning hours, however, it quickly adapts to the new routine.
In the beginning of course, especially if one receives a number of new asanas to practice, it is quite a challenge to memorize vinyasa counting. For this reason there are weekly two led classes in KPAYI: a Friday class of the primary sequence and a Sunday one for those already practicing the second sequence. At Bandha Works the led class of the primary series is on Friday mornings.
Finally, let’s mention one of the most important elements of the Mysore tradition: individual practice. In India, instructors always emphasize the importance of practicing individually without the guidance of a teacher, as this can help solve issues yet hidden and strengthening our sadhanas.
Because of the above, we devote Sunday mornings to individual practice. The main elements of Mysore style are:
- individual practice on the classes under the supervision of an instructor,
- daily practice (with the exception of Saturdays, full and new moon days and ladies holidays),
- early morning practice, preferably at the same time of the day,
- a weekly led class to help memorize vinyasa counting, and
- the importance of individual practice.
Apparently the principles are strict and this style requires lots of dedication. Ashtanga vinyasa yoga however, can best show its many merits through this framework. Besides the fact that maintaining a regular practice automatically brings a shift to a healthier lifestyle (lighter meals, sleeping and waking early, a regular daily routine) it also gradually changes the mindset. Mysore practice almost literally forces us to be honest with ourselves. It confronts us with the personal shortcomings that hinder us from advancing on the spiritual path and serves as a mean to overcome those. It encompasses the yamas and niyamas, first presenting them on the level of our practice, while later on in all fields of everyday life.
For instance, first we learn how to prevent injuries during the practice of the asanas by focusing on the signals of our body and our breath. Later on this helps us to apply the same practice when encountering a conflict in our work or everyday life.
Led afternoon ashtanga classes are more theoretical: their purpose is to teach vinyasa counting, the drishtis and to prepare the student for a more profound Mysore practice that requires stronger dedication. These classes have a predominantly physical effect, mental changes begin to occur more slowly. Mysore style however, is a spiritual practice which not only cleans and heals the body, but also the mind. Adhering to these set of rules is an important mean to achieve the best effects through our practice.
The rules contain guidelines based on experience and always serve the safety and development of the student. If you wish to discover the real depth of ashtanga vinyasa yoga, join our Mysore program. Participants of the program assign themselves to follow the above principles according to their best knowledge.
The basic requirement of participation is to be familiar with the standing asanas and thier related vinyasa counting. Beginners may join after previous registration. You may register at: firstname.lastname@example.org.