the practice

Ashtanga Yoga is an ancient system of Yoga composed of therapeutic and progressive sequences of asanas (poses), organised into 6 series, meant to be practiced daily. Students start with learning the asanas in Primary Series slowly. Many spend their entire life working on these postures, and others will move on to the next series, across many years of practice.

The Ashtanga method emphasises on the following aspects:

•Asanas or poses to purify, strengthen, and give flexibility to the body

•Breathing to purify the nervous system

•Dristhi or gazing point to purify and stabilize the functioning of the mind

•Breathing and movement system (vinyasa) for internal cleansing 

The focus devoted to correct breathing helps the practitioner to create internal heat, which, over time, purifies the blood and results in a body that is light and strong, and a mind that is focused and calm.  With correct use of Ujjayi breathing, drishti (gazing points), bandhas (energy locks) and vinyasa (specific breath linked to specific movement) one can develop a sense of awareness in both the body and the mind.

"After the body is purified, it is possible to purify the nervous system, and then the sense organs. These first steps are very difficult and require many years of practice. The sense organs are always looking outside, and the body is always giving into laziness. However, through determination and diligent practice, these can be controlled. After this is accomplished, mind control comes automatically. Vinyasa creates the foundation for this to occur." – Sharath Jois

Mysore style

Mysore Style is the method of how Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore City, India. Up to this day, poses are taught gradually based on the capacity and need of each student, with emphasis on correct breathing, asana , and drishti.

On their first day, new students are guided through a short sequence of poses to work on, usually Surya Namaskara (sun salutation), then the closing sequence. They will be guided thoroughly on the proper synchronisation of breath and movement, the postures, and the gazing points. The sequence will be repeated a couple of times until the students can manage doing it on their own. In the succeeding visits, they will do the sequence they were taught, and are given additional postures to practice.

Experienced students on the other hand, proceed with their sequence as previously taught to them. Verbal cues and hands-on assists are given by the teacher as needed.

Mysore class is basically a guided self practice class where students move through the sequence slowly, at their own pace, individually supervised and assisted by a teacher. The energy in a Mysore style room is completely different: it's very quiet and the absence of verbal instructions leads the practitioner toward a more individual experience of the practice. The teacher comes to know each student's process and can observe his or her individual development. The sound of the breath in the room carries the energy of each student throughout the whole practice. 

Mysore class is for everyone. It is for the experienced, and most especially for beginners. No prior yoga experience required.

"Learning yoga in this traditional manner benefits the student on many levels. It is possible for one to gain independence and confidence in their sadhana (spiritual practice), as well, something truly becomes one’s own when they learn it by heart. It is through the daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga that we draw it into ourselves, understand it, and become proficient in its methods, thereby reaping its wide range of benefits. For this to be accomplished, a slow, dedicated and patient approach is best." - Sharath Jois

Led Class

Led class is when the teacher leads the whole class through the sequence together, calling the Sanskrit name of each pose and mentioning the correct Vinyasa count. The teacher establishes an even pace that the students will follow together and the class will move and breathe as ONE.

Led class reinforces the proper vinyasa system you learn in the Mysore class – when to inhale and when to exhale as you enter in and out of each asana. Following the teacher’s pace and count in led class instills discipline and helps build both mental and physical strength of students.

Led class is a very important compliment to a regular Mysore practice, whether you’re new to Ashtanga (doing at least the complete standing poses in your regular Mysore practice) or an experienced practitioner.

"When vinyasa is perfect, the mind is under control." -Sri K. Pattabhi Jois