Definition – What does Mysore mean?
Mysore is the name of a city in India that has longstanding connections with yoga. It is the home of K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) and is a popular place for practitioners of Ashtanga yoga to visit to practice. The Institute in Mysore is now run by K. Pattabhi Jois’ daughter and grandson.
Mysore has also now given its name to the style of yoga practice that was pioneered and promoted by KPJAYI. In Mysore yoga practice, the students practice their yoga sequence at their own pace in the set order, but without the teacher calling out the names of postures.
On explains Mysore
Mysore style yoga classes are traditionally practiced early in the morning, as per Jois’ personal recommendation for the best time of day to practice yoga. They may be interspersed with led yoga classes, especially for beginners. Generally, the sequence followed by yogis is one of the Ashtanga series of yoga postures, though other styles of yoga may also use Mysore-style sessions for yogis to practice different sequences or types of yoga.
In a Mysore class, the teacher will give instructions, directions and physical assistance, but this is one to one, rather than to the whole group. The onus is on the yogi to learn the sequence of postures for themselves and to combine the asanas with movement and vinyasas between the postures, which are all coordinated with the breath.
It is also traditional that in a Mysore practice, the yogi will master one asana at a time in a sequential order, and will not move on to the next asana until they have mastered the current one. This also means that as the yogi advances, their practice gets longer. Mysore-style classes are often taken on a daily basis, practicing every day except Saturday or days of the full and new moon.