My relationship with Yoga began my Junior Year of High School, when a Bikram studio opened in my area. I liked the heat, and I liked having a set sequence, but as a dancer, I didn’t like the stop/start nature of the Bikram practice.
Flash forward to my 4th year of college, when I began taking the “Ashtanga Prep” classes at Ashtanga Yoga Charlottesville. I discovered my love for Vinyasa-style classes, which make much more sense to me as a dancer–flowing from one pose to the next and finding grace in the transitions. When I moved to New York, I immediately found an Ashtanga/Vinyasa studio I loved! I took class at least once a week for two years, but I never made it to Mysore, the traditional Ashtanga series, practiced at dawn.
When I moved back to Charlottesville a little over a year ago, I returned to AYC. One morning, I arrived at the studio for a 9:30 class, only to find that the start time had been pushed back, and Mysore now lasted until 10am. Thad, one of the Mysore instructors, suggested that I begin learning the Mysore sequence while I waited for my class.
Thus began my journey with Mysore. I began practicing 3 or 4 days a week, and by the time I started my job in August 2011, I had learned the entire Primary Series and the first few poses of the Intermediate series. I have fallen in love with Mysore, and I now practice at 6am with Jennifer, before I go to work.
One year later, I am about half-way into the Intermediate Series, struggling with the “leg-behind-the-head” postures. These postures are humbling me, challenging me in a way no other posture has up to this point. I am learning patience and humility, and finding the balance between pushing myself and respecting my limitations. These lessons are important both on and off the mat, and I hope that my yoga practice is carrying over into my “daily” life, as well.
I am still only practicing 3 days a week, not the traditional 6. This is a place of struggle for me right now, as I am trying to decide whether or not to step it up to at least 5 days a week. I have a number of “excuses,” but I am wondering if I have reached a point where I need to give myself over to my practice even more.
Through books (the two pictured above), workshops, and blogs, I continue to seek out as much information about the Mysore practice as I can. I love the strength I have found through this practice. I love the ritual of morning practice, watching the sun come up as I move through the series.
This first year of Mysore has been a year of discovery, a bit of a flirtation. As I begin my second year, I hope to find a consistency and dedication that can carry me forward in my practice for many, many years to come.