Mysore Yoga for Beginners

On Day Two of my sabbatical in Shanghai I attempted Mysore yoga (which as it turns out is the DIY of yoga for advanced yogis) led by a militant yoga sergeant – I would say instructor but she wasn’t instructing – everyone was on their own mat flowing and breathing and binding at their own pace. So I thought I’d take a deep breath and see what I could recall from what must be at least 100+ hours of yoga in my lifetime. Not a whole helluva lot it turns out. The sergeant was quick to pick up on this and immediately placed me and my neighbor (who was looking good I thought) on a strict regimen of Sun Salutation Ones (the first nine postures in the pic below), with lots of corrections. This was welcome instruction for me as I quite like correcting my form but my neighbor turned to me and hissed “I didn’t sign up for this shit, I’m outta here.” “No don’t leave me” I whispered but she had stashed her mat before I could say chataranga. The sergeant intercepted her at the exit “You finish?” ” Yes, I paid to come to a class, I can do this at home” she said and stormed out defiantly. Ouch.

I made it through about 50 Sun Salutation Ones before graduating to Sun Salutation Two (postures 10 to 19 in the pic below and really not so different from Sun Salutation One…) and after about 50 more of those and thinking my wrists might be about to snap, I too snuck to the door. “You finish?” “Yes thank you” I said and, thanks to my pioneering neighbor, exited unscathed.

While, OK, I hadn’t signed up for this either, it was an enlightening conformation that I really didn’t know what I was doing. While I’d been considering some home yoga with the help of YouTube to save some mula on my travels I now had new motivation to educate myself on the basics and make myself a self-sufficient member of the yoga community. When Mysore hits NY, I’m going to be ready!

Images showing the Mysore Asana series in the Ashtanga tradition. Try the first two rows at home for free 🙂

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