A deeper, more personal experience of Yoga
By Gillian Mooney
I was initially drawn to Ashtanga Yoga for its physical intensity, but slowly, slowly, after many years of daily practice, I’ve been amazed by its transformative powers – not only physically, but more importantly on a mental and spiritual level. From the moment I started Ashtanga, I felt like I was tapping into some kind of magic and I had a strong yearning to go to the source and immerse myself in studying at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. I had no idea then of the power and depth of Ashtanga, which resulted in me spending many years studying there and now passing on these teachings in their pure unadulterated form.
The traditional way to learn Ashtanga is “Mysore style,” where one works at one’s individual level, receiving hands on adjustments and guidance from the teacher. The beauty behind this system is that it is suitable for all ages and levels, as the key to Ashtanga is learning to move your body in coordination with your breath.
Compared to other yoga classes, the silence in the Mysore style classes is striking, as the teacher is moving swiftly from one student to another giving them adjustments, and the dominant sound is of collective breathing. The energy and focus in the Mysore classes can be extraordinary, as even complete beginners find themselves slowly sinking deep inside themself, achieving a sense of grace that is like nothing else they have ever experienced.