Mysore week with Luke Jordan
This week I am attending a 6 day Ashtanga Mysore workshop under guidance of Luke Jordan. I wake up at 4.30 am in Utrecht, the Netherlands, where I am currently living. After a bike drive in half sleepy state, I reunite at 5.15 am with colleague yoga teachers. We drive by car to Rotterdam; where we start our Ashtanga Mysore Program at 6:00 am. Luke is one of the very small number of teachers worldwide Certified by the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, South India. He has permission to teach the primary, intermediate and advanced series. Luke has the intention to share Ashtanga Yoga in it’s purest form, as it was taught by the founder of Ashtanga Yoga: Sri K. Pattabi Jois and now teached by his son R. Sharath Jois.
Mysore is the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga, named after the city in India where Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of Ashtanga Yoga, lived. The system is now transmitted by Jois’ grandson, Sri Sharath Jois, at the KPJ Ashtanga Yoga Institute. Mysore is open to all levels, from absolute beginners to more experienced students. The class is not led and all instruction is given on an individual basis. As you gain strength, stamina, flexibility and focus, poses will be added on to your sequence.
Why is this practise so early in the morning?
In India it is considered auspicious to practise before sunrise and so traditionally the Ashtanga practice has always been done at this time by devotees. On a more practical level, a yoga practitioner shouldn’t have a heavy meal for three to four hours before starting their yoga practice. This can make it quite difficult to fit into their daily routine in the afternoon or evening. Many yoga students find that practising yoga as first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of their day and sets them up well to continue with whatever they have to do.
What I love about Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga is intended to be a moving meditation. Led classes are a fantastic way to learn about the breath and the vinyasa, but Mysore-style is where it’s really possible to follow my own breath and deepen my focus and meditation skills.
It’ s wonderful to practice together with so many people (about 25 in one class), with different levels of experience. For me the experience of a Mysore class is kind of magic. While I’m working on my full capacity others are doing the same, on their own pace. Mysore style gives me the chance to work one-on-one with a teacher. This individual attention helps my practice soar.
Tomorrow I’ll share experiences and insights I’m gaining these days.
You are most welcome to read along!
Picture 2: www.ashtangact.com