Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga – Mysore & Led classes

Lino Miele is coming back to Milan at the end of March – March 28 to April 1st. Last time he was here i could only make it to his Mysore style classes, and if you will remember my experience back in November 2011, well it was pretty intense. I haven’t practiced Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga since then…so i need to get practicing if i am to go to his led classes this time! Also, with my trip to India around the corner (well not quite around the corner but still, coming up!) and Kino MacGregor workshops in Bologna…well i need to scrub up on my primary series! So i’ve decided to do just that.

I shall leave you with this i found from Ashtanga Yoga with Chris:


Firstly, Mysore is not a ‘style’ of yoga but a city in Karnataka, South India, generally considered to be the home of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Mysore was the home of Sri Krishnamacharya – known to many as the grandfather of yoga – and more recently Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the modern guru of Ashtanga Yoga who died in 2009 at the age of 93. Thousands of students each year still travel from all over the world to study Ashtanga Yoga at its source in Mysore.

Traditionally Ashtanga is taught in a Mysore Style environment, where each student practices the sequence according to their own individual capacity. Although ‘led’ yoga classes are the most common form of class offered by teachers and studios, these classes are actually a very modern invention conceived as a way to deal with the sheer quantity of yoga students wanting to learn the practice.

Led classes can feel like a perpetually moving train journey where poses are only held for a relatively short period time before the train begins to move away from the station on its way to the next pose. As such many students can feel like they are struggling to keep up with the train, whereas an other might feel the train is moving too slowly!

A Mysore class more closely mirrors the ancient one-to-one guru-student relationship through which yoga was traditionally passed down from generation to generation. Although there may be many students in a class, each student is treated like an individual. Each students practice is based upon their physical ability, so it accommodates all levels – from the complete beginner to more accomplished students. Beginner students will likely have a much shorter practice than more experienced ones, and then slowly, when the teacher sees that the student is ready, additional poses are added to the routine, building stamina, strength, flexibility and concentration but without overexertion or risk of injury.

The prospect of taking responsibility for their own yoga practice in a ‘self-practice’ environment (rather than being led) can seem like a scary proposition to many new yoga students. So it is no wonder that beginners often assume that Mysore classes must be for more advanced students that know the sequence, and so prefer to attend led classes where they can be guided by a teacher. The same students may also assume that they will learn more by attending led classes, where the teacher is guiding the class all the time, than from a Mysore class which is conducted in silence.”

So, are Mysore classes ‘better’ than Led classes?

“In truth you will learn more about your yoga practice in a month of attending a Mysore style class than a year spent attending only led classes. This is because the Mysore way of practicing empowers each practitioner by asking them to explore what they are taught rather than blindly follow instructions.

The self-practice method is essentially based around cultivating the dialogue between mind and body through the ‘mediator’ of the breath.

Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga is a personal journey for your own answers at your own pace. There are no perfect poses, nor are there definitive yoga experiences, there is only what can be found in the present moment from where you are right now. These classes nurture the seed of self-awareness in a way that led classes can’t. In many ways led classes satisfy the human effort of striving towards, achieving goals and escapism. Whereas Mysore style classes nurture the seed of self-awareness and presence. Consequently students wishing to learn yoga and experience the benefits of the practice are better supported by a qualified teacher in a Mysore style environment than attending weekly led classes.

Led classes are considered far more advanced than Mysore classes. They can be very useful for maintaining the discipline of the practice and cleaning up the vinyasa’s, but the real growth occurs outside of that environment, where there is space and time for your personal practice to blossom.”

& there you have it guys…i’m not a pro when it comes to Ashtanga Vinyasa, not one bit, but it is something i want to get into…the teacher training course i want to do in India, Rishikesh to be exact, is a 200hr Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher training certification…so primary series here i come!


About ctyoga

Christiane has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. Her yogic journey began in 2000 as a student of Swami Nirmal (now at the Satyananda Centre in London) at the Fitness First gym in Kensal Rise, London. She experienced various teachers in different Fitness Firsts in Central London and around Clapham Junction before changing gyms and meeting Alexa Kho at LA FItness in Piccadilly Circus, London. Christiane attended Alexa's Anusara classes as well as her workshops. In January 2011 she enrolls in a 200hr Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training course with Rebecca Ffrench at YogaLondon. Vinyasa Flow is a modern form of yoga that comes from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and follows Sri K Pattabhi Jois. She quickly become passionate of this discipline and wants to deepen her knowledge; this brings her to meet and attend many workshops with Stewart Gilchrist, Shiva Rea, John Scott, Danny Paradise...all very famous teachers around the world. Being in the presence of such teachers is a significant experience for Christiane, in terms of her yogic journey, personal transformation and growth as well as understanding of yoga. After 11years in London, she moves to Milan to deepen and continue her journey. In Milan she teaches privately (1:1 and group classes) as well as in various yoga and dance centers. Milan is where her love for Ashtanga Vinyasa deepens and grows, bringing her to attend workshops with Lino Miele, Sharath Jois and most recently Kino MacGregor...all original students of Guruji, Sri K Pattabhi Jois. All of this culminates with a long awaited and long overdue trip to India, the birthplace of Yoga. Here Christiane deepens her practice and knowledge of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga by doing a 200hr Ashtanga Vinyasa TTC with Yogi Kamal Singh at Tattvaa Yogashala in Rishikesh India. After the monthlong course, her travels take her around India practicing with various other world renown teachers, namely with Sri V. Sheshadri in Mysore and with Rolf and Marci Naujokat in Goa. In 2013 Christiane decides to embark on yet another yoga adventure, this time in Aerial Yoga! The course was divided into two weekends: level I in April and level II in June, after which she becomes a qualified Aerial Yoga teacher. Teacher and student of yoga, writer, adventurous soul, creative mind, curious world traveler & lover of the outdoors. Current HQ: Milan, Italy.
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1 Response to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga – Mysore & Led classes

  1. Yoga classes says:

    Yoga is so helpful…..Nice site of yoga….Good information…
    Thanks for sharing…..

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