‘If you explore with an open mind, you’ll see if what I’m saying is true or not.’
Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi
If you’re a man, you’ve got to try it. It’s as simple as that. A fella in India invented it after learning poses from another fella in India. So, it was developed by blokes. It builds masculine energy. It’s mathematical, scientific and results driven – we all know men love that shit. And it’s a style of yoga that offers something led classes simply can’t. It won’t suit everyone, but you need to experience it. If you haven’t already, find a good Ashtanga Yoga Mysore teacher and book a three-week practice. Here’s why.
Faster physical results
Starting with rounds of sun salutations, you build heat and move immediately. Adjust the intensity to suit your practice and your body type. You should be breathing deeply and sweating for the entire practice. On the mat five or six days a week, you’ll feel lighter and more energised more quickly than with other methods of yoga.
Emphasis on self-practice
Asana practice becomes so much more accessible when you can do it competently at home. Ashtanga Yoga Mysore is a system that’s designed to give you a proficiency to do just that. After learning under guidance in the shala, grab time on the mat without needing to take a trip to class. And practicing alone can be a new level of meditation. That’s got to be good, right?
You know what you’re getting. Repetition of a set sequence means you really embed the teachings and you have control of how hard you work. Leaving some led classes, you can feel like you didn’t get what you need for your body. In Ashtanga Yoga Mysore, you take what you need. There are no excuses. You’re forced to confront your own body and mind.
No fluffy cues
There’s nothing worse than crap cues. Listening to some just-passed, 200hr TT, in-it-for-the-image teacher, whine on about chakras, can really kill your jam. Led classes can also breed a unique kind of passive aggressiveness. ‘Maybe everyone wants to put their left leg over here…I said, maybe you want put your left leg over here.’ In Mysore style, you get on with your practice and if you need help, you get it directly, without holding up the class.
Detailed and direct adjustments
Six weeks after going regularly to a led class, you might finally get some quality time with your teacher to talk about your practice. From day-one in Mysore-style, your personal practice is under direct scrutiny. If you want alignment cues, attention to your practice and swift improvements, Mysore’s good. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. Be ready to be told the way you’re doing it is wrong.
Suited to men
It’s masculine. There’s no hiding from that. Of the three gunas, Mysore style definitely encourages more of the Rajasic. Passion. Fire. Ambition. Heat and frenetic energy. Whether building Rajasic energy is a positive or not is up for debate of course; ultimately, we should seek balance. But Ashtanga Yoga Mysore certainly attracts a certain type of person.
A balance of strength and flexibility
Gentler practices like yin have their place to calm the mind and increase flexibility. And though Ashtanga Yoga Mysore style does have its limitations, it does offer a broad fitness regime. Expect to feel more open, lighter, stronger, more active and energised.
Awareness of natural cycles
Connection to lunar cycles seems more common for ladies. However, if you’re not plugged into the moon, the planets and the natural rhythms of the universe yet, then there’s something you’re missing. If you think you’re not affected by the swings, pulls, throbs and energies of the most powerful objects in our solar system, simply put, you’re wrong. Ashtanga Yoga Mysore observes Moon Days as rest, bringing attention to our place in the cosmos. Expect to observe shifts in rest-patterns, sleep, mood and vitality.
It’s a silly phrase, but the practice really does force you to make choices. It’s engrossing and all-encompassing. If you want to be your best on the mat at 7am, you might skip dessert the night before or eat a little earlier. If you’re building too much heat, you might realise that caffeine doesn’t suit you. It’s self-study, and you’ll reach points where you have to sacrifice something for something else.