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Mysore Ashtanga Yoga: A Profound Experience

by Stacy Plaske and Karen Dubi • Huntington, NY


Karen-Dubi-creations-magazineYoga provides a spectrum of tools to support all levels of practitioners in cultivating greater stability, clarity and wellness. The term Vinyasa is defined as a breathing/ movement system, or, more specifically, a dynamic movement of postures that is linked with the breath.

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga is a method of yoga that comprises a number of sequences of postures that are intelligently linked together, designed to purify the body, build physical strength and flexibility, and most importantly, increase mental awareness.

Mysore Ashtanga Yoga is the traditional teaching method of late Yoga master Sri K Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, South India – hence the source of the name “Mysore Style.” A Mysore style Ashtanga practice develops slowly over time. In class, students learn and develop an individualized practice with the support and guidance of a teacher who is devoted to the Ashtanga lineage and has a dedicated daily practice. The correct sequence of postures, vinyasa movements, breathing, alignment, and other aspects of the practice are learned gradually, in a step-by-step process, through verbal as well as hands-on instruction. As memorization of the sequence takes place, an easeful mastery of the postures begins to unfold, as does the independent nature of the practice. A Mysore style class is structured so that each student’s learning experience can be adjusted according to his/her individual needs, age, health, life style, current responsibilities, strength and flexibility.

A common misconception is that Mysore style class is for the advanced student, or the “flexible individual” with yoga experience. The irony is this couldn’t be further from the truth! In mainstream guided classes, regardless of the style of yoga, the postures and the pace are set by the teacher and ALL students follow the same routine. Mysore style class is structured differently than a typical yoga class; it is more like receiving a private lesson within a group setting. In a typical Mysore style class, the yoga studio will be open and the instructor will be available for 2 or more hours – allowing greater flexibility for arrival time, depending on the length of time each student needs to complete his/her sequence.

Students enter the room, set a mat down, and begin practice, amidst the sounds of ujjayi breathing and amongst others who are working at their own level and pace. The environment provides a space which fosters introspective observation of activity of the mind and thought patterns in order to uncover “The Self”.

Practicing under the guidance and care of a teacher in this intimate manner is a profound experience, which allows for a deep sense of trust, faith and openness to emerge. The process and support in the Mysore classroom allows one to access tremendous personal strength and selfreliability. It is designed to create a more conscious, self-motivated, highly alert and effective human being, not only in the Mysore room, but in all of life. Over time you find that you can’t imagine doing your daily practice any other way.

Stacy Plaske, E-RYT is an Authorized Level 2 Ashtanga Yoga Teacher having made 8 trips to Mysore India to study with the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois & Sharath Jois. She has been completely dedicated to teaching & studying yoga full time as well as running her yoga center, Balance Yoga, since 2001. Stacy and Karen run a full time Mysore Ashtanga Yoga Program at Balance Yoga in Huntington.

Karen Dubi, Accredited Yoga Teacher E-RYT 500, Ashtanga/Mysore Teacher, Ayurveda Health Practitioner, Registered Dietitian, Teaches workshops/lectures/ seminars in Yoga & Ayurveda.


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