Q: “How does mysore style ashtanga yoga differ from other yoga classes?”
A: In a mysore style class, students are taught individually. They then practice what they have learned at their own pace, with assistance from the teacher, and receive further guidance when necessary. This allows for more individual attention, and contrasts with most yoga classes, where the entire group is guided in unison.
Q: “Do I have to know the Ashtanga sequence in order to attend a mysore class?”
A: No, you will be taught the sequence individually, and learn more as you are ready.
Q: “Why can’t I drop in like in other yoga classes?”
A: In order for you to learn the sequence, and for me to learn what your particular needs are, it is necessary to attend class a minimum of 2-3 times a week, especially in the beginning when home practice is more difficult. This also helps to prevent injury.
Q: “How long is the class?”
A: The class lasts until the last student finishes, or the doors close, whichever comes first. But you only need to stay as long as it takes you to do your practice. So initially, you will only need about 45 minutes to complete what you have learned. Then as you continue, your practice will become longer, lasting up to 90 minutes.
Q: "I cannot come at the actual start time of the class, is this okay?"
A: Yes, once you know your practice well enough not to need instruction at the beginning, you may start at any time as long as you are done by the end of session. Most students will not need more than one hour to complete their practice until they have progressed farther in the sequence.
Q: "May I store my mat at the school?"
A: Yes, as long as you are currently enrolled in a monthly tuition plan, and have been assigned a locker.
Q: "Are mats available for rent?"
A: Yes. One mat or towel per day is included in monthly memberships.
Q: "Do you have showers?"
A: Yes, there are showers available at Jivamukti Yoga School.
Q: “I heard that you have to be very advanced to practice Ashtanga. Is this true?”
A: No, people of all levels and abilities can practice Ashtanga Yoga, and mysore style classes are very well suited to beginners and those with unique needs, because it allows for more individual attention.
Q: "Why is there no class on moondays?" Ashtanga Yoga has its roots in Indian culture, which is strongly connected to natural cycles, including those of the moon. The moon is known to have a direct influence on the bodies of water on the earth, influencing the ebb and flow of tides. Our bodies are 70% water, so its likely that our bodies are affected by the cycles of the moon in a similar way. By resting on these days, we avoid potential injury, and harmonize ourselves more directly with nature.
Q: "Why should women not practice during the menstrual cycle?"
A: The energetic locks, or "bandhas" used in Ashtanga Yoga are engaged to reverse the downward flow of "apana" into an upward flow of "prana". The menstrual cycle is by nature a downward flow, so to reverse this would not allow the natural process to cleanse the body as it should. Most women take only the heaviest flow days off, and may do some kind of gentle restorative practice then. This is another way in which Ashtanga practice connects us more directly to natural cycles, and many women find their cycles become more regular when they begin to honor these days and moondays as rest days.
Q: “I heard that Ashtanga Yoga is very harsh and may cause injury. Is this true?”
A: When Ashtanga Yoga is practiced in the traditional way as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois, and as taught at Ashtanga Sadhana, injuries are less likely to happen, and the practice actually takes on a softer quality. This means regular practice, proper breathing, and not pushing beyond our limits by moving slowly through the sequences only when well prepared. However, when taught in a large group setting, where students cannot take their time to progress through challenges, or listen to their own breath, the practice can seem more harsh and is more likely to cause injury.