We practice in bare feet, bare of judgment, ego or expectations, to keep the space clean. Treat the space, your teachers and your fellow practitioners as you would want to be treated: pleasantly and respectfully.
Make an effort to arrive on time/early to Led Classes (either Yin or Led Ashtanga) but don't worry about being "late" to Mysore style Ashtanga, which allows for students to arrive and depart at their convenience. (See more under Mysore Etiquette, below/at right.)
Bring your own mat and towel - it's more hygenic. If you don't have a mat, we have mats you can borrow (please clean them afterwards with the mat cleaner we provide.) Bring a towel and toiletries if you wish to shower afterwards - we have access to a public shower one floor above the studio.
Come to class with a clean body and clean, snug clothes, and a clean mat/practice rug. And please: Keep your mat clean, too! Shower before class, as dirty bodies really smell bad when they get hot and sweaty. (Speaking of heat, we don't heat the room beyond 85 degrees F, as your body will become warm enough when you begin to move. Wear an extra layer in the winter, fewer in summer, and you should do fine.) Although we do have a shower, it is not recommended nor necessary to shower after class. In fact most people just get changed and go to work right after.
Make sure you are fully hydrated before you come to class, and try to practice on an empty digestive tract (unless you have a health issue that prevents this). Go to the bathroom before class, and refrain from drinking water during class (again, unless you have a health issue requiring it.) Drinking water during class will distract you, and cooling the body with water in class can also lead to injury. Your sweat is what your body uses to keep you cool - try not to wipe it off continuously, and you will not get overheated.
Turn off your cell phone. Do your best to keep talking to a minimum. Talking is a distraction from practice, and can be disturbing for other people. And, we share the building with many holistic practitioners and bodyworkers; please be respectful, keep the atmosphere calm.
Make room. Our shala is a lovely practice space, warm and inviting, with hardwood floors and an inclusive vibe, but sometimes, it can get a little crowded! In our all our classes, we ask students to be aware of the space around before and during practice, respecting other students mats and bodies. Be cognizant of the arriving folks who would like to roll out their mats, too and make some room, especially in a Mysore class; briefly stop your practice and make room for an incoming student by sliding your mat closer to a neighbor. (Note: Yin Classes have a limit of 15 students, so be sure to arrive early to guarantee a space and props!)
Remember to breathe. Ashtanga is a breathing practice that is linked to movement. The breath is the most important part of the practice. It is your refuge and the point of focus while in an asana; it is the guide into and out of each asana. Do not hold your breath during postures. Breathe audibly, and enjoy and finish each inhale and exhale completely.
Learn to distinguish between intense pain and discomfort in your body. Sometimes discomfort can arise during practice: this can be a place of wise exploration, leading to beneficial change. Pain, however, must be treated with great awareness and kindness. If you feel an intense pain, listen to the wisdom of the body and back off or come out of a posture. Tell your teacher, they may be able to help resolve the issue. Your body will respond beautifully when you show it kindness, acceptance and love. Do what you can with what you have, and accept where you are right now. Be patient. And, keep a sense of humor!
The practice is meant to flow, and be quiet. Don’t get too bogged down trying to make the “perfect” asana; don't get bogged down talking about your practice. Remember, it is a breathing practice linked to a movement practice that takes years to master. The real depth of yoga is determined by the focus and intent of the practitioner, their level of wise self-care - and not the particular asana or series that is being done. Practice regularly and joyfully, and nourish yourself with it. Practice is not a chore, it's a privilege. It can and should feel good!
When you arrive, please take off your shoes, silence your phone, and meet the teacher on duty. We will show you where to roll out your mat, or make some room for you if the class is busy. We will guide you through basic breathing practice, and Sun Salutes (suryanamaskar); then you will be asked to practice your own without guidance. You learn by doing with the guidance of the teacher, and repeating it on your own - that's it. You are not expected to know the sequence - we will help you learn it if you are consistent and come regularly. There are opportunities to ask questions and to get our advice/guidance throughout every class you take with us.
New Mysore style Ashtanga students, regardless of their fitness level or years of prior yoga practice should expect to practice for roughly 45-60 minutes at first, gradually increasing their mental and physical capacity over time to memorize a flowing practice sequence of approximately 90+ minutes.
Students are highly recommended to devote at least three Mysore or Led classes a week in order to fully experience the transformative power of Ashtanga yoga practice. Making your practice a regular occurrence, at a regular time, also allows the teacher to better assess your progress, and be able to make informed decisions on how you might best move along. Repetition and consistency with your practice helps you become part of our community and experience the support of teachers and fellow students. Yin Yoga is a great counterpart to the yang style of Ashtanga yoga, and we highly recommend you attend these classes,too, to balance your body and mind.
Repetition is key! Over time, students learn to memorize their posture sequences, and make time to practice regularly several days a week. There will be periods of time when new postures (whether those in the traditional sequences OR those that the teachers feel will be most therapeutic for your particular body/mind) Postures are "added" to your existing sequence every few days/weeks as you become a more consistent practitioner. There will be times when you will simply work on more deeply integrating what you’ve already learned, making "friends" with the postures and your practice!
We utilize a trauma-informed, consent-based and compassionate visual, verbal and hands-on transmission method. But, sometimes students with touch sensitivity may not be comfortable with the hands-on transmission of Ashtanga Yoga. And, that's OK! Please talk to our teachers about your needs. Again, our goal is for students to develop their own yoga self-practice, one ultimately guided by their own inner wisdom; we will work with you in the way that serves you best, to help make that happen.
Mysore instruction is semi-private instruction within a community setting. Students are sharing the facilitation of a single teacher, sometimes in a room filled to capacity with other students, some of whom require a high level of instruction, some none at all. Cultivate patience for your teacher and your fellow practitioners. Waiting your turn, and watching quietly is a good way to learn. As you develop a deeper student/teacher relationship over time, you will develop the self-confidence and assurance to practice without their help - that is, you will not need the same level of attention from the teacher as when you first started, although the teacher will always help you when you desire their help. Eventually, the practice becomes your teacher! Our goal is to help our students develop a self-empowered yoga practice. The freedom to do your yoga asana practice within the supportive community of fellow-Mysore students without much involvement with the teacher is a sign that you are developing a deeper, more integrated and advanced yoga practice. That you are learning who you are and what you are!
After attending our Mysore course or completing your first month of consistent practice, you may arrive and leave at your convenience to Mysore classes, sustaining at least 3+ days of practice per week. Daily practitioners are recommended to practice 6 days a week, with one day off and Moon Days off, too. Our teachers will continue to work with you to enhance and deepen your yoga asana practice if that is your goal, and as well, we teach basic pranayama, Sanskrit chanting, Hindu mythology and yoga philosophy upon request or via ad hoc workshops or series throughout the year.