MYSORE & LED CLASSES
The traditional way of teaching Ashtanga Yoga to students is in a so-called “Mysore class”. The name comes from the place where Guruji taught Ashtanga Yoga and lived with his family for most of his life and which can be considered the center of Ashtanga Yoga: The city of Mysore in southern India. It is considered the most effective way for learning and understanding the practice.
Mysore classes are different from the way Yoga is taught in most other styles of Yoga. Since in Ashtanga Yoga the sequence of postures to be performed is fixed, there is no need for the teacher to state the next posture. Instead, each student practices in his own rhythm, and the teacher can focus on the individual needs of each student. The student is less guided by the teacher, but can rather self-practice, knowing that the teacher is there to correct and support if necessary. Therefore, the student will advance at its own pace, with the guidance of an experienced teacher.
This is in fact a very effective way of learning the method of Ashtanga Yoga, so that, after having learned the sequence, one should study in Mysore classes.
However, at least once a week, one should also attend a so-called “Led Class”. A half of full Primary Series will be instructed by the teacher, who will also perform the traditional Vinyasa count. The teacher guides the students through the series. This makes sure, for instance, that breathing of the student is steady and uniform, and practicing in the same rhythm with all other students in the class creates a very unique, powerful experience as well. It is therefore advised to attend led classes on a regular basis as well.
In general, it is very important that the student does not try too hard. Yoga is not about becoming better, and it is certainly not competitive. Performing Ashtanga Yoga in the correct way can have many positive effects on body and mind, but wanting too much can lead to frustration, thereby confusing the mind, and also to injuries in the body.
Ashtanga yoga can not just be learned from a book; everyone need a teacher.