A series of posts presenting some of our regular mysore students, and their experience of mysore practice, in their own words.
Next up is Liz Thomson (The most dedicated, consistent, hard working ashtangi, and Ashtanga Yoga Glasgow’s most long-term student!!)
How long have you been attending Mysore classes for?/What made you start mysore practice?
God I can’t remember! My friend was 40. She is now 48, so eight years ago! I did a one week Mysore at the gym I went to. I loved it as I could work at my own pace but could work really hard. Didn’t do much Mysore after that until I started going to Allison Dearling and Siobhan Fitzgerald’s classes in St Georges Cross . I only dropped in occasionally. I remember the first winter morning my friend Sharon and I went into Glasgow. It was dark and we went into the room lit by candles. We started our practice. Felt very serious. Then Siobhan called us to the top of our mats and we did the opening mantra. I thought omg I am in a dark room with strangers chanting. If my friends could see me they would think I joined a cult!
I started going maybe once per week, then twice till I was going Wednesday Friday and Saturday
Then Cathy started teaching and we moved to the Movement Studio. I started attending regularly and it increased to 4 and then 5 days per week. No more wine Wednesday. As I had practice on Thursday.
How often do you practice?
I am now practicing six days per week.
What effect has the practice had on your life?
The effect on my life has been huge:
– I am more aware of my lifestyle and my lifestyle has changed dramatically.
– I eat less and drink less. Getting up so early means you can’t eat or drink late.
– I am calmer. Even though I am not calm in every situation. I am calmer. I don’t get stressed as much over small things.
– I don’t feel as though I am as judgemental as before and I definitely don’t express my opinions as I did before – although that could be an age thing.
– I have stopped eating meat as part of non-harming but I am not a vegetarian.
– I eventually gave up the gym and gym classes as I think it was all tightening my already tight hips. But the yoga has helped me maintain (almost) my weight.
– I have met wonderful people in our yoga community.
What benefits do you feel from it?
All of the above! Plus I have more energy and generally feel much more contented with my life
What have you found most challenging about the practice?
I am not flexible at all. And even after eight years I still struggle. I have tight hips and shoulders and my physical progress has been very slow. That has been the most challenging as despite practicing regularly I progress at a snail’s pace. I am also not very brave, but the practice does make you face your fears everyday. My most scary posture headstand is still scary but not terrifying the way it was. So there is progress.
What do you find the most rewarding?
Physically, I find any progress to achieving any posture or slight improvement to my attempt at a posture rewarding.
More importantly, I love how I feel after my practice and how it has helped me be a calmer better person.
What is your favourite posture?
I don’t have a favourite posture… Cathy has managed to get my arms and shoulders to move in Prasarita Padattonasana C. That and headstand I am excited with at the moment.
And Padmasana! (lotus). I love padmasana. Only managed to do it two years ago. And it still comes and goes. Best bit is being able to do utpluthih without having to keep my feet on floor.
All in all I love practicing Mysore style and I think I am a better me for getting up at 5.15 every morning!
Liz in Utpluthih