Taking the plunge from your weekly Ashtanga class into Mysore Self Practice can be daunting. Once experienced, the beauty of the Mysore room can be felt for oneself but for some of us it can take many years to try it out for the first time. I’d therefore like to answer some of the burning questions Self Practice newcomers may have.
What on earth does ‘Mysore Self Practice’ mean?!
Mysore is the city in Southern India where Ashtanga Yoga and its founder the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois hale. Self Practice is the method in which yoga was originally taught, directly from Teacher to Student. This would have been in small groups with each student practicing something different according to their experience and ability. This means each students practice is tailored specifically to them and the teacher is on hand to assist the student as and when they need help. And this is how a Mysore Self Practice class is taught today.
Why should I come to a ‘Mysore Self Practice’ class over my regular yoga class?
By committing to a regular self practice you are much more likely to deepen your understanding of your existing yoga practice, it will become more personal to you. And you can work on the things that are relevant to you and not be dictated to by a large group class.
The class runs from 7am-9am…thats a really long class! Do I have to stay the entire 2 hours?
The beauty of a Mysore Self Practice class is you can come and go according to the time you have available and the length of your practice. You may start at 7am and finish at 8am. Or start at 7.30am or 8am. Its totally up to you as long as you are finished by 9am. This means its easy to fit into your morning schedule..a bit like going to the gym (but better!). Some Mysore classes run longer than that or some shorter.
Do I need to know the whole sequence in order to join a Mysore Self Practice class?
No…by coming to a Mysore Self Practice class you will begin to memorise the sequence and commit it to ‘body memory’. Over weeks and Months, through repetition it will become second nature, just like breathing.
Im a complete beginner. Can I join a Mysore Self Practice class?
Yes! As a beginner you will be taught step by step. To start with your practice will be short, around 30-40 minutes. You will start by learning the Sun Salutations and then begin to add the standing poses. It is very gradual, but still challenging! As you add poses your practice time increases.
What do you mean by the word ‘practice’?
As yoga ‘practitioners’ we aim to keep the yoga as a ‘practice’ rather than something we at some point ‘perfect’. So this way we keep exploring and learning rather than aiming to be perfect! As Shri K Pattabhi Jois said, ‘Practice practice and all is coming’.
How many times a week should I come?
As many as your circumstances allow, although ideally start with two or three classes a week if you can.
Can you recommend a good video that explains further?
This is a nice little video which shows what its all about!
Posted: 8th Sep 2016 / Yoga News / By Sophie Cleere
"Sophie teaches Mysore at Yoga West, which I also attend. I have practiced Mysore with a number of teachers in various countries but my experience of practicing with Sophie is perhaps the best. She is hugely friendly and energetic off the mat but serious and very attentive without being intrusive on the mat. My Mysore and indeed my yoga practice has benefited hugely from her teaching and I look forward to continuing to practice with her"
...James - Yoga Studio Owner
"Sophie's immense experience and passion for yoga is evident through her teaching. Her led ashtanga classes are always challenging with a focus on building strength whilst encouraging a deep steady breath. She tries to give students a Mysore practice experience in led classes by giving individual instruction to students. Sophie's Mysore self practice classes are a special experience. She patiently encourages her students to advance their practice by deepening postures and exploring new asana. My personal practice continues to transform through regular practice under Sophie's teaching."
"Sophie has been my Ashtanga yoga teacher 2012. At the time I was not looking specifically to follow the Ahstanga path; I just wanted some yoga to improve flexibility, but Sophie’s infectious enthusiasm captured me. Sophie’s approach is always fun and friendly and is supported by her own continued learning. Through example and encouragement she has a way of making attainable what might at first seem impossible. In Sophie’s classes her attention to detail is respectful of the tradition without being fanatical. Her adjustments are always adapted to ‘where I am’ on the path – you get one-to-one teaching even in a group setting. I feel privileged and lucky to have ‘accidentally’ become one of Sophie’s pupils and friends, and would encourage anyone who wants to get better acquainted with their bodies to give Sophie a try."
"Sophie is a wonderful teacher with a clear passion for yoga. Her classes have the perfect balance between discipline and focus on the practice, and fun. Sophie demonstrates the depth of her knowledge and experience in many ways but most notably through her instruction of the class, the adjustments that she makes and the alternatives that she offers to progress specific postures or to address different levels of strength and flexibility as well as any injuries. Learning from Sophie is very enjoyable and you really feel your practice develop over time because, even in a busy class, Sophie provides a great deal of individual instruction. Highly recommended!"