Mysore. Oh, I’m so sore.
Yes…that’s all I could think during days 4,5, and 6 of teacher training. The Mysore style practice can be defined as a self-practice within a group, following the Ashtanga yoga sequence and style as established by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Every morning, at 7:30, my fellow teacher trainers and I would troop to what our teacher, Clayton Horton, called the cocoon room and begin with a series of pranayama exercises and some meditation before moving on to our own practice. While we went through the primary series (or half-primary for the less seasoned practitioners like me), he and his assistant, Elise, would give us adjustments and cue us on the poses that we needed help with. While some of my classmates loved it, I could not find that pleasurable edge that my co-teachers were finding and I was getting extremely frustrated about that. So much so that every now and then, I’d catch myself wondering what I had gotten myself into.
However, after every Mysore practice, I came away with a little bit more insights about the practice, about myself, and about where I am and where I am heading.
On Day 7, Thursday, the afternoon was all about Yin Yoga and I loved, loved, LOVED it. That afternoon made me see the entire picture, the yin and the yang of my practice, so to speak. And with that I knew for sure what I was doing and where I was heading.
The next days practice was beautiful. It took me 8 days to appreciate the challenge that Ashtanga brought back to my life on the mat (it was Ashtanga, after all, that I discovered before getting into a love affair with Vinyasa). I may not be the best of friends with Ashtanga yet, but I do love what it brings to my personal practice: structure, precision, focus, direction. The Mysore style of a practice also allowed me to understand what humility meant, how to take pride in progress without getting caught up in it, and to really just let things be for the moment, knowing full well that, as Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was known for saying, “Practice and all is coming“. For that I am grateful.