Beginners are all welcome
I frequently hear that students who are new to Mysore are intimidated by walking into a studio full of long-time practitioners. While it is true that as a beginner, you may be surrounded by advanced practitioners, simply getting your feet on the mat is advanced in-and-of itself. Remember that everyone in the Mysore room began in the same place! Mysore class is absolutely the best way to be introduced to Ashtanga yoga, and as long as beginning students come to class with an open, patient and committed approach, the practice will slowly but surely begin to take shape and make sense.
Patience and commitment
Ashtanga yoga is traditionally taught as a daily practice. The reason that this method demands such commitment from its students is twofold: 1. Initially, memorizing the sequence of postures practiced in the Mysore room is the most important part of practice for beginning students. After students are grounded in the order of the Ashtanga sequence, the meditative qualities of the practice begin to manifest and the deep work of addressing and resetting entrenched physical patterns can be broached. If students come to practice only once or twice a week, it will be very difficult for these guidelines of practice to be incorporated. 2. This practice has an amazing potential to generate radical physical and psychological change—it can transform how we hold our bodies and move through the world, thus exposing the entangled mental patterns that have caused us to abide in our bodies in particular ways. The transformative qualities and effects of the practice are continually inspiring to practitioners and teachers—but they cannot manifest to their full capacity in the context of a 1-2 day/ week practice. In order to undertake the creation of new psycho-somatic patterns, practitioners must visit and re-visit these new patterns often. Otherwise, they will revert to older, more comfortable ways of moving and thinking. This type of deep work demands a level of commitment and patience from students that few other yoga classes do, but, if attended to, will generate truly amazing benefits.
As often as possible is better than nothing
That said, lifestyles, schedules, families and work in the modern world often make developing a daily or semi-daily practice difficult for many students—sustaining a frequent practice is just as demanding as the physical postures themselves! Our Mysore program accommodates students at all levels and stages of their practice and life. I encourage students to try their hardest to come to the studio a minimum of three mornings a week. As often as possible is better than nothing, most especially because it prepares students for a more committed and regular practice whenever that becomes possible.