Hatha (physical) yoga.
Derived from many ancient texts dating back to Vedic times in India, most notably Patanjalis yoga Sutras, it includes postures, breathing techniques, meditation and relaxation. ‘Ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon, the object being to balance the flow of solar and lunar energy in the body. Classes are varied; gentle and restorative, or challenging, with postures held for longer durations. An emphasis is placed on correct alignment of the body.
Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.
Derived from the teachings Krishnamacharya and Shri K Pattabhi Jois, this is a system of hatha (physical) yoga that follows Patanjalis eight-stage path (ashtanga literally means eight limbs). There are a set series of postures that through synchronisation of breath, flowing movement, and use of bandhas (internal energy locks) creates a dynamic yoga that uses breath and movement to enable meditation. Vinyasa is a unique way of linking and flowing one posture into the next. This practice can be physically demanding, and although it can be taught at all levels, offers a very demanding practice at advanced levels.
Vinyasa, also called flow because of the smooth way the poses connect together is one of the most popular styles today. It’s breath and movement based meditation is influenced by Ashtanga and Jivamukti. There is a wide variation within Vinyasa Flow from a slow flow with attention to alignment, to the fast paced Rocket sequence put together by Larry Shultz.
Flow and Restore.
Combines two of my favourite styles into a one hour and a quarter class. We begin with an upbeat flow to inspirational music for around 40 minutes. After which we slow the pace and move into a nourishing slow restorative practise for around 35 minutes. Poses are held for 5-10 minutes and you’ll be fully comfortable using a myriad of props and blankets. The aim of restorative is to shift your nervous system into the rest and digest mode. It is in this mode that deep physical and emotional healing can occur. You’ll leave class feeling totally renewed and reset!
Mysore Style Ashtanga.
Mysore Style is the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga, and refers to the city in India where Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009), who introduced the world to Ashtanga yoga, lived. It is still taught in Gokulam, Mysore in the same way by Jois’ grandson, Sri Sharath Jois (1971 – present)
PHOTOS: Above, outside the shala with some flowers to give to Sharath 2014.
Ashtanga yoga involves synchronizing the breath with a dynamically progressive set series of postures. This purifies the body resulting in a light and toned physique and a calm and steady mind.
Often referred to as ‘individual tuition within a group environment’, Mysore Style is assisted self practice. It’s unique (in the West) in that students practice at their own pace while being supervised and adjusted by the teacher. As you learn the sequence and master the poses, new ones will be taught to you in a safe and welcoming environment.
Mysore is open to all levels, from absolute beginners to more experienced students.
Benefits of a Mysore style practice:
- Individually tailored personal instruction within a group class environment
- Learn at your own pace safely in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere
- Learn and ENGAGE with the sequences so that they can be practised independently anytime
- You don’t need to know the sequence before you come. Its my job to teach it to you. Its very intuitive and you’ll be surprised how quickly you learn (plus you can use a cheat sheet)
- Great way to start the day
- Suitable for all levels, esp. beginners as there is time to explain/adapt things individually
- Arrive anytime between 6.30-8.15am so the class fits into your life – no more rushing!
It’s YOUR yoga practise – for me, my practise is above all else a joyful experience, in essence I do yoga as it makes me happy, and that makes the world a way better place to be!
A Little History:
Ashtanga yoga follows the eight-limbed path of conscious living and spiritual practice that leads towards self-liberation. It was penned by the great sage (thinker) Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras which was compiled in about 200 BC. This is the seminal text that seeks to outline and standardise all classical yoga up to that date and is the basis for most yoga taught today.
The Yoga Korunta is a purported ancient yogic text passed down by word of mouth to Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) by his teacher Brahmachari in the early 20th century, and then onto to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois when he began his yogic studies in 1927.
Krishnamacharya is the grandfather of modern yoga. He taught his grandson, Desikachar (who developed Viniyoga, a slower method tailored to each persons’ needs), B.K.S Iyengar (who developed his alignment-based approach which underpins most current teaching), Indra Devi (Krishnamacharya accepted Devi as his first female student after the Maharaja spoke on her behalf; “they” say that he was a bit of a sexist and didn’t want to teach a woman. Devi returned to the USA and opened a yoga school in Hollywood and became the yoga teacher of famous starlets in the 1940’s and 50’s like Marylin Monroe and Greta Garbo!) and of course, Pattabhi Jois. These four teachers are credited with bringing yoga to the West and beyond. It is said that Krishnamacharya used yoga to aid the convalescing Marharajah of Mysore. In return, he was given a wing of the Palace to set up a shala, or yoga school and adapted the practice outlined in the Yoga Korunta for the young boys who lived there. Pattabhi Jois then used it as the basis of his system of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga introduced in 1948. It focuses heavily on the 3rd limb of the yoga sutras, asana, or physical yoga. Today in the West, it’s the most popular route into the 8-limb system of self-realisation in Patajali’s Yoga Sutras. There is evidence that the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga series incorporates exercises used by Indian wrestlers and British gymnastics. In fact the yoga students often used to practise in the hall opposite the gymnasium at the Mysore Palace, so it was natural that the different disciplines would influence each other.