Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mysore-Style Ashtanga

Tomorrow begins a 2-week workshop of Mysore-style Ashtanga at Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness. I have anxiously been anticipating this since I learned of it. I think it is exactly what I need. Structure, consistency, daily practice, a teacher who will challenge me. One thing I have struggled with for quite some time is that when I attend group classes, teachers often do not correct me, assist me, or provide any kind of adjustment -- verbal or physical. I am uncertain as to whether it is because people assume I know everything as a teacher, or that I cannot benefit from feedback, or if the teacher simply does not know what to do with me in order to challenge me. But, I know I have work to do. Everybody does. I am forever a student.

The other thing that happens sometimes when you begin teaching is that your personal practice suffers. The times you would typically go to take a group class are now occupied by teaching instead. This leaves you to your own devices, self-practice at home, which is valuable at times, but allows you to develop destructive habits and doesn't exactly have the same effect when there is less direction. But, I digress.

Mysore-style Ashtanga. For those readers who do not know what this is... As I understand it, it is self-practice within a group setting, in the presence of a teacher. It is not a typical led class like you might imagine most yoga asana classes. You arrive and practice the set sequence, Primary Series of Ashtanga, or as much of it as you remember, are capable of doing, and are given permission to do by your teacher. I tried this a couple of years ago on a somewhat impulsive trip to Las Palmas, Canary Islands with a friend who is more well-versed in the Ashtanga tradition, Karin. The trip wasn't long enough to even establish much of a rhythm or figure out what exactly I was doing.

I have tried Led Ashtanga classes a number of times, but as I understand it, none that were terribly traditional. The teachers that led these classes mostly allowed us to skip vinyasas, cheat our way through picking up and jumping back, jumping through to sit, and many of the more elusive postures -- Marichyasana D and what follows were left out. I don't really get it... which is why I am happy to be taking this workshop.

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