Mysore is the traditional method of learning Ashtanga yoga. Rooted in traditional yoga methods, Mysore offers an all encompassing yoga practice that trains both your mind and body. Mysore is unique because it’s focused on the individual and their abilities rather than the class as a whole. This can make Mysore a slower process, as you are focused on mastering each pose for yourself rather than moving with the pace of the group, but that can be a freeing experience for some attendees who are looking for individual growth.

mysore yoga ashtanga

What is Mysore Yoga?

This method of yoga was learned by Sri K. Pattabhi from his teacher, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, in Mysore, India (which is where Mysore yoga gets its name), based on a manuscript called the Yoga Korunta.  Mysore is the traditional method of learning Ashtanga Yoga. The main difference between Mysore and Ashtanga is that Mysore is practiced in silence. This allows class attendees to practice at their own pace and focus on their own abilities. Mysore builds off of the skills learned through Ashtanga courses, implementing more advanced postures.

With such a strong focus on the individual, any participant (regardless of skill level) can participate in the same class. A beginner to Mysore yoga will be given a much shorter regimen as they build strength and confidence in their abilities. Mysore classes are held multiple times a week with the expectation of attendees committing to a consistent schedule. This may be a difficult adjustment initially but the repetition allows for participants to build up their abilities in a much shorter amount of time.

mysore yoga poses

What To Expect From A Mysore Yoga Class

You may be wondering “With such an emphasis on individual practice what value does a Mysore yoga class offer?”. While individual effort and ability is the core focus of Mysore yoga it is not something accomplished without outside support. A Mysore class is not “led” but assisted by an instructor. The instructor will move around the class providing one on one assistance to each participant to make sure they are reaching each pose and improving over the course of each class. Providing direct attention to each student is something that isn’t as common in any other yoga class.

Additionally, practicing Mysore in a group environment allows you to surround yourself with others working towards the same goals as you. The great thing about yoga, of any form, is that it can be practiced anywhere. But, attending a class, where you can clear your mind of external forces, allows for a more rewarding experience. Putting yourself in a setting dedicated to yoga can allow for meditation and stillness to come to you more easily. 

Being in a Mysore class also improves the quality of your participation due to the energy of the room amplifying your ambition. Even though everyone is practicing at their own pace, they are all working towards the same objective. Everyone’s efforts in the room work off each other, letting each participant go further than if they were alone.

mysore yoga for beginners

First Time in a Mysore Yoga Class

If you are new to Mysore yoga, there are a few things you should be aware of. As stated previously the structure of a Mysore yoga class is based on the individual and takes into account the skill level of its participants. This means that not everyone is practicing at the same intensity as each other. If you know someone who is taking a Mysore class, ask what poses they are practicing and for how long. But, it is important to know that this may not be the case for you, at least starting off. 

Starting off your class duration might only be 30-40 minutes. While this may seem short and underwhelming, it is important to remember that Mysore is intended to be practiced multiple times a week. You do not want to exceed your physical and mental abilities in the first few days. If you feel like you are not working at a pace appropriate for you, you will easily be able to increase efforts. With the instructor giving each person in the class the individual attention they need, they should be able to notice your skill level and accelerate or decelerate your regimen based on your performance.

mysore yoga classes chicago

Important Things To Consider in Mysore Yoga

Mysore yoga takes patience and perserverance, and might not be the best class for beginners. While Mysore classes focus on the individual, a newcomer will need the full attention of the instructor. Everyone needs some form of assistance, so the instructor needs to be able to move around the classroom. Because Mysore is a silent form of yoga, it’s a challenging environment to be asking multiple, in depth, questions.

It is often easier, and therefore recommended, that you start with a beginner level yoga class. This could be a Yoga Basics class, a Restorative class, or any introductory class to get a feeling of how your body reacts to yoga. By learning in a group of students with your skill level, you can learn yoga without feeling intimidated. After you learn what yoga is and what your body can handle, you are welcome to try Ashtanga. Our Ashtanga (Level 1-3) class teaches many of the basic fundamentals that advanced Ashtanga courses and Mysore use. If you are an athletic beginner up for the challenge, you are welcome to start with the Ashtanga (1-3) class.

Yoga Now’s Mysore course starts with the Primary Series, which both Ashtanga (Level 1-3) and Ashtanga (Level 2-3) teach. This then progresses students to the Second and later series. If you like led classes, which are taught with an instructor giving vocal instructions, we recommend taking Ashtanga (1-2) and/or Ashtanga (1-3) before trying Mysore. This will give you the fundamentals necessary to participate on a similar level to the other students in the Mysore course. For further details and inquiries, please contact us.