How long have you been attending mysore classes for? Mysore for 3 years, Ashtanga in total for about 4 years. Yoga with Cathy was recommended to me by my sister, and like all baby sisters I had to copy my big sister. I think she took me to a half led primary class as an introduction, not sure what she was thinking…….After that I thought beginners was a more appropriate starting point so I did a beginners course then returned to Ashtanga half led classes before finally building up the nerve to go to Mysore!
How often do you practice? I try to attend Mysore about 4 times a week and then also do some practice at home. I’m definitely less lazy and distracted when practicing with other people than at home!
What made you start mysore practice? Cathy had always recommended Mysore when I was doing led classes. But I was intimidated by the thought of it. I was worried everyone would look at how rubbish I was; which is just not the case.
Everyone is focused on their own practice and in fact the opposite happens, with other students just being so encouraging. My first time at Mysore I fell over in Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana and thought it was the most embarrassing thing that would ever happen to me. I’ve fallen over many times since. Plus I think it’s understandable that you might fall over every now and again when standing on one leg with the other leg in lotus at 6am in the morning….
What effect has the practice had on your life? I feel more energetic and alert after I’ve been to Mysore. It’s also the only time of the day that I’m not sitting in front of a laptop screen or on my phone. Like most people I love my bed, but I now get up at about 5.15 ! The motivation to get out of bed comes from knowing how good I’ll feel after practice. There’s also knowing there will be so many other people who have also made the effort to get up and out to Mysore class.
I think it’s only now that I’m actually starting to pay close attention to how my body feels during practice, whereas before I’d just assume that annoying niggles were just me, and not something I could think about and change. I’ve a long way to go but I’m definitely getting stronger and feel lighter when I practice regularly.
What have you found most challenging (in terms of physical postures, or otherwise!) I’ve found every single posture challenging! When I started Ashtanga I had never tried yoga before. I used to be so sore after practice (no pun intended). But with more practice and help from Cathy I’ve definitely got better. I never imagined I’d be able to lift myself up in Utplutih as my body used to feel like a dead weight when trying, but now I can! The same with headstands, although that’s a posture in which my ability comes and goes!
The postures I’m currently finding most challenging are Baddha Konasana and Supta Kurmasa. I really tense up in Baddha Konasana and find Supta a real struggle to bind in as I’m so stiff and tense around my shoulders. Luckily Cathy always has the patience to assist me in and out of supta, and I really like Tittibhasana. I definitely feel the benefits after Supta, even if I dread it coming around during my practice…
What is your favourite posture? Getting “squashed” after backbending and dropback practice is pretty amazing. Utthita Trikonasana is the posture that relaxes me into my practice and it’s a really nice stretch. Although of course my favourite posture in no time at all will be Supta Kurmasa, when I breeze in and out of it….