Mysore – My Practice
What is Mysore?
When I started attending classes at Breathe I noticed that my Yoga teacher would tell me in class to perform certain poses at the level “that was my practice” and I had no idea what my practice was. Sure I knew that I didn’t stand on my head yet nor did I wheel yet, but beyond that ‘my practice?’. It implied that I was missing out on something. Sure I went to regular classes, but my practice????? How to get a practice?
Svitlana, Mysore teacher and the owner of the studio started recommending that I go to Mysore.
Hmmm. Mysore sounded ominous! Wasn’t I sore enough? I knew Mysore was the name of a city in India not the condition of my shoulders, but still. I asked more questions and discovered that Mysore is an early morning session (5:30-8:00) where you perform your own practice at your own pace with teachers in the room to coach you on an ‘as needed’ basis. Holy intimidating! My practice! There was that term again!!!! I didn’t have a practice so what the heck would I do? The primary series….ya sure! I had accidently gone to one led primary series class and there was no doubt that I was in way over my head there. I felt that if I went to Mysore that I would just stand there like an idiot trying to figure out what to do. It had the potential to be crazy embarrassing! I imagined a room full of serious yogis being incredibly irritated by me flopping around on my mat. It completely undid me! I had visions of bursting into tears and running from the room too embarrassed to ever show my face at Breathe again. Big risk! Big big risk! Why was I even considering it?
As it happens I have a personal philosophy to do something that scares me every day. Mysore more than qualified! Final one Friday morning I screwed up my courage and got myself to the door of Breathe at about 6:30 A.M. The door was locked! What was wrong! Great start! What an idiot! There is no Mysore on Friday morning. Mysore is Monday-Thursday mornings. D’uh! OK! OK! No one saw me! No one knew I was that stupid! I decided to call it a practice run at timing the drive, and finding parking (free on north side of Dundas). The following Monday morning, once again, I screwed up my courage and this time actually got in the front door. As it turned out the worst part was over! When I entered the studio door and cautiously walked into the inner sanctum I was welcomed with a warm greeting and guided in exactly what to do. I quickly realized that everyone else was busy on his or her own mat doing their own thing and the last thing that they cared about was what I was doing. The teachers coached me and kept me on track, but mostly I was doing my own practice. At last I was developing my own practice! At first it was only 30 minutes long, but every week I add a pose or two and so far it has grown to an hour. At first the hardest thing was remembering the sequence, but there was always a coach there to cue me when I drew a blank. Now several mornings a week I take my place on my mat amidst a group of very special people also working on his or her own individual practice. Every once in awhile a coach comes over to encourage my shoulders to be where they should be, or support me in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana or to help me fold a little deeper. It feels fantastic! The hardest part of Mysore actually is Savasana…. when my crazy mind keeps straying away to my plans for the day…the grocery list…anything to escape a meditative quiet.
If Mysore intimidates you too I whole-heartedly recommend that you do yourself a big favour and get over it! Mysore is not frightening at all. It is an incredible empowering experience. It has given me ownership of my yoga experience.
Ann Marie Wolf