Starting an Ashtanga Practice

What is a Mysore Session? One of the methods on how asana or the poses are taught is called a Mysore style practice which is a learning how to self practice. Ashtanga is breathing system with focus on initiating the movements with the breath. The series of poses are eventually committed to memory so that practice can evolve and grow with you. It is a practice that builds over time with somel level of commintment from the student. Many people are learning the Primary Series in the Mysore room and some are onto what is called the Intermediate Series, also referred to as Second Series. It is a mixed room with beginning students as well as the more seasoned practitioner. A student’s practice can be 45 minutes at first to as long as and hour and 45 minutes or more. It just depends on what that particular student is working on. The Mysore room has a rhythm to it and mostly only the breath is heard along with instruction from the teacher from time to time. Verbal as well as hands on adjustments from the teacher helps to teach the student how to approach poses as well as helping with alignment so that energy can flow.

How it works? At Ashtanga Yoga Montclair we welcome the beginner as well as the yogi with experience who wants to learn the method and how it works. One of the challenges is remembering what you have been taught from day to day and for this reason among others it is recommended that you come regularly. Traditionally, the Ashtanga method is a daily practice with days off on the new and full moons and women take extra time for what is called ladies holiday when they are in their cycle. In the beginning, 3 days a week is recommended or just being regular is the key as well as being patient with yourself and the process.

Less is more? Doing less every day and building a practice up over time is mostly recommended. The primary series is called Yoga Chikitsa which means yoga therapy and in this respect it is a therapeutic practice that balances out the body. It is important to respect the process and respect the body in relationship to the asana.

How will I know what to do if I don’t know the poses? The teacher is teaching this to you and you will be instructed on what movements to do starting with sun salutations and moving into various asana from there.

What class is best for me? It depends on you, guided or led classes are fun and challenging and give you an idea of the sequencing. In the Mysore sessions you work at your personal pace and you build onto the series as you are physically ready.


The changing states of the mind are stilled by practice and dispassion or non attachment.  

Note:  If all the above has peaked your interest and you are hesitant, please feel free to observe a Mysore Session anytime.  You are welcome to do this and we encourage it.