I heart Mysore – a beginner’s journey into the traditional Ashtanga Yoga practice by Lianne Daly
I tried a yoga class at the gym and i enjoyed it, not more than a good strong run on the treadmill so I could see the calories clocking up as id burnt them, but all the same the yoga felt good and i felt good so therefore it was an all-round enhancement to my work out schedule, so I added it in, every Thursday.
A few months had past, and on Thursdays I was starting to skip the gym but still do the yoga class, I was still getting a work-out so this was acceptable. A few more months passed i realised the only part of the gym i was enjoying was running and yoga, so by the time summer came i had now quit the gym and found a yoga class at my local church hall.
I was running outdoors with the sun shining on my face, much more appreciation and awareness of the beautiful surroundings, the tall trees & fresh air, and id substituted the mirrored walls of the gym yoga studio to attend a lovely local yoga class in my community hall; this in itself felt more organic, healthier- i couldn’t put my finger on why, maybe instead of falling into a mould of a “healthy lifestyle” by saying I go the gym i work out” I was actually creating my own vision and values of what healthy was to me; my mind was becoming healthy.
After really starting to appreciate the benefits of yoga in the body and mind, I started to research a little into more yoga workshops/classes and found an early morning class 6am-8am. I like a challenge, and thought getting up at 6am for yoga was a good enough challenge- but boy was that just the start of it.
This early morning class was on all week Monday-Friday, it was called Mysore practice.
Stepping into the studio at 5.45am… it was dark, quiet, everyone else had been meditating for the previous 30 minutes before the practice- talk about challenge my mind was already saying “oh you don’t belong here, you’re an amateur” but I was there now, everyone started to make their way to their yoga mats so I told myself “blend in … is there any room at the back … Oh yes a tiny space phew!”
After a daunting morning chant that I knew nothing about or what language it was in my doubt really started to creep in “I like this setting, I’d like to fit in here but I definitely don’t right now”
Then those words “enjoy YOUR practice” the teacher said, my practice? It’s all of us right?…. everyone started moving, in silence, sun-salutations to be more specific, wait a minute nobody is in sync, she’s in downward dog and he’s still got his palms together? It was as though my mind had separated into a million pieces each piece a little shard of doubt.
After around 3 minutes the teacher approached me, he spoke gently and directly just to me, advising after 5 sun- salutations I should do these next 3 poses, that was great for the next 3 minutes I could fit in!! then slowly coming out of the 3rd pose my head lifted reaching to see where he was to tell me what to do next, he was with another student ahhh, panic i feel lost again? or do I? maybe I should just keep breathing… stand in this tall anatomical position and maybe just observe where I was in this present moment. I kept the pace of my breath as I re sighted the postures I had just learnt.
He came over again, another 3 poses, great! Now I know 6 postures; 5 sun-salutations and 6 postures remember remember remember don’t forget them I told myself.
This continued for the duration of the class, and by the end I left feeling greatly energised as well as great achievement. I had pushed through the barrier of embarrassment of not knowing the routine (realising nobody was there to judge me anyway) and I had gained knowledge and learnt how to handle a new situation.
That was my first experience of a Mysore yoga class. It was the true seed of my lessons in yoga and life.
I always use yoga as the doorway into my inner world, it has taught me to be patient, to be understanding, to persevere, to laugh at myself, to forgive myself, and to take responsibility for my thoughts and my actions.
The next Mysore Style Intensive is April 6 – 10. Full details here