For most people, ashtanga yoga is a physically demanding and challenging form of yoga. This is especially true in the beginning, where the body has to get used to new ways of moving. Over time, your body will adjust and things that felt hard or seemed impossible as first, starts to get easier. As you proceed, the body gets stronger and more flexible. You will start to feel lighter and more spacious. This applies to all ages and bodies.
With one of these starting points, you will lay a solid foundation for your ashtanga yoga practice and be ready to join the Mysore-classes. The Mysore-classes use a specific way of teaching deriving from the city of Mysore in India. Here, students do their individual ashtanga practices in their own pace and receive help from the teacher when necessary. We have made sure to collect all you need to know about this teaching-method before you start. Below, you will find a short explanation of the steps in the first few months. Further down we have listed some valuable recommendations for your yoga practice.
If you have experience with ashtanga yoga and Mysore-style already, you are more than welcome to start directly on the Mysore-classes. Just go to the membership page and sign up before you come to practice.
How you learnAshtanga yoga is easy to learn - regardless of age and shape. With the unique Mysore teaching you learn step by step, and one thing at a time.
Start with an inhale
Ashtanga Yoga practice starts with a very simple sequence of yoga poses performed in coordination with your breath. Each breath connects the different poses with each other.
Then you repeat the sequence until you remember it. By slowly introducing poses and movements in this way, you work within your abilities and become calm, focused and stable in your practice.
When you remember the sequence, you learn more poses from the series. That way, you always work with something you can do, and something new you are learning that challenges you.
The most important thing is to get off to a good start. If you are new to Astanga yoga, we recommend that you attend the Introduction week or book a personal introduction. Here you will be taught the basic principles of the Astanga method and thus lays the foundation for your future training. If you already have experience with Ashtanga and Mysore practice, you are very welcome to start directly on the Mysore classes.
You are in
When you come to the studio, we are there to facilitate and support you with your yoga practice and your development. We help you remember sequence, and help you continue with new or challenging positions until you master them yourself. At the Mysore class, you build up an independent personal practice that can support you throughout your life.
Learning steps in Mysore classes
On the first day, you are introduced to the deep, calm and present breathing and the body locks that are characteristic of Ashtanga yoga. You will then learn a series of simple movements, in and out of a few yoga poses. The small series is called Sun Salutation A. You repeat and practice it a few times. Finally, you do a few more seated yoga poses, after which you relax.
The next few days
For the next few days, you will practice the sun salutation that you learned on the first day, with further guidance if necessary. When you can remember Sun Salutation A, you move on to learn the next poses to perform Sun Salutation B. Finally, you do the seated yoga positions, as the day before, as the end of the day's exercises, after which you relax.
The coming weeks
Over the next few weeks, you will gradually learn new poses according to your ability and memory until you have learned a series you can perform without reminders or assistance. By gradually learning new poses, you get a solid foundation and learn to perform the yoga poses safely and stably. Your practice may therefore seem quite short in the beginning, around 30-40 minutes, but there will be a lot of repetition and most people think it is more than enough. See instructions for the poses here
The following months
In the following months, you come as much as possible, preferably 3-5 times a week, and practice your routine. The teacher always keeps an eye and instruct and assists when necessary. You will also gradually learn more poses. It thus takes a few months to settle into the Ashtanga Yoga practice and build a routine that is sustainable and can be performed safe and with some ease. This time tested "slow and steady" method gives you time to memorize the series and develop mental and physical stability in the poses, while at the same time gaining a personal understanding and experience with your yoga practice.
- Bring a yogamat and a small towel with you to practice. If you sweat, bring a larger towel as well to avoid slipping.
- Make sure to show up clean for practice. Shower the morning of or night before practice.
- Please use fragrance-free detergent for your yoga clothes and avoid wearing perfumes or scented lotions in the shala. Perfume and scented products can distract the person next to you.
- Try to avoid drinking water during practice. Liquid, as well as food, in the belly can disturb your internal locks and the internal heat needed for a good flow. Instead, drink water 15 minutes before practice and after.
- In order to cultivate inner calmness and learn new things, we need a safe and peaceful environment. You can help creating this by moving in a soft way while in the shala. Please be mindful about things such as how you enter the shala and how you move your mat and other stuff around.
- If you have any injuries, let the teacher know in advance, so you can adjust the poses accordingly. One of the beauties of ashtanga yoga is that you can do it in spite of injury and pain, but – as in other aspects of life – it requires some attentiveness and care. If you get a fever, rest and recover before you return to your practice.
- Try to move with the breath. To get nice and warm, it helps to time your movements with your breath. The teacher will help you with this. It can be a challenge at first, but you will quickly get the hang of it.
- The teacher will sometimes assist you during practice, making it easier for you to work with the poses. Let the teacher know if you do not want assistance, so it can be taken into account and the teaching-method can be changed.
- Be patient with yourself, do not rush it. Find a balance between comfort and discomfort, where you explore your boundaries, but at the same time do not go too far. In ashtanga yoga, it does not help to force anything. With a regular practice and guidance from the teacher, things will happen at their own, natural pace.
- Show up when you are happy, tired, sad, excited, dull, lazy, kind, indifferent, anxious, loving, energized or something else entirely, and see what happens. You never know how your practice will be, before you actually do it. Whatever comes up, try to be with it. Simply observe it and avoid judging it. A big part of the practice is to cultivate positive emotions and thoughts while accepting and studying any negativity that arises. Thoughts can be powerful, so strive to speak kindly to yourself on the mat.
- Similar to other learning processes, you may experience ups and downs on your way. The key here is to keep a consistent practice, also in periods where you feel like you do not make any progress. Note that consistency may be a sign of progress in itself and that learning something new can feel messy at times.
- One step at a time, you will be introduced to new poses. Sun salutation A is your starting point, from which you build your practice as you are taught new poses to work with. The series in ashtanga yoga are a great tool to strengthen and open the body, but these things take time and happens gradually. The sequence of the poses reflects this.
- The last - but very important - part of your practice is rest. Once you have finished your sequence of poses, we recommend that you lie down and relax for at least 6 minutes. If you generally struggle to relax, this may be the most important part of the practice for you.