Scroll down to read about Ashtanga Yoga Mysore Classes, the Ashtanga Yoga Led Primary Series Classes, having a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice, class etiquette and a bit about our teacher Sarah
Ashtanga Yoga Mysore style class
Ashtanga yoga is an intelligent series of postures that prepare the body gradually and safely one posture at a time to open up and strengthen. The Ashtanga ‘vinyasa’ link postures with breath that create a heat and strength and suppleness that is extremely meditative and healing. Our Ashtanga practice originated in the town of Mysore in India. The Mysore style classes are the traditional method for learning Ashtanga yoga. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught in this manner out of his home in Mysore, India for 65 years. His grandson Sharath and daughter Saraswati now carry on the tradition. We follow the same system as taught in Mysore: practitioners learn one posture at a time. The Mysore classes are perfect for Beginner Yogis, as all instruction is given on an individual basis. Students practice independently learning the Ashtanga sequence of poses at a pace suitable for them under the guidance of the teacher. These classes have a flexible start and finish time. As students progressively learn more postures from the Ashtanga sequences their practice will grow in length to eventually be 1.5hrs. Expect at the beginning to do around 30 minutes and arrive for class within the window of 5.30am and 7am so you can be finished by 7.30am.
Some of the Benefits of a Mysore Practice:
~ The Ashtanga series can be likened to a breath based moving meditation. When you practice at your own pace and move through the postures following the rhythm of your own breath flow you are able to drop into a deep state of meditation/connection with yourself- this is the meaning of yoga: union or connection to self.
~ The Ashtanga series of postures are repetitive. This allows the practitioner to gain a respect for how different their bodies will feel day to day and season to season and how to accommodate these changes with a positive kind approach.
~ Because you learn the series slowly, one posture at a time, over years and years, you gain the rare quality of patience! Which in this society of instant gratification is no small thing!
~ You don’t need to know what you are doing before you arrive, it is our job to teach you, simply come to learn.
~ When you learn how to do your own practice it is like giving yourself a little gift of space and time and presence. You will have the gift of being able to take your practice home or on holiday, or where-ever and when ever you need it.
~ Learning the series helps our memory. This is important for adults. It keeps us mentally alert and helps prevent mental diseases.
Many Yogis have the perception that ‘concentrating’ is not relaxing, they prefer to ‘check-out’ in yoga… However the reality for most people is that when they are ‘checking out’ they are actually not connecting to their bodies or bringing energy and attention to themselves. It is by bringing positive attention to yourself that you re-energise yourself. By focusing just on what you are doing in that moment (not later, not where you have been, not what other people in the class are doing). Simply breathing and breathing out, can bring an incredible state of presence and peace that is not possible when listening to a teacher’s instructions. It is this presence as well as the ashtanga method of learning a sequence that gives us the space to see our ourselves with clarity and compassion (and helps our memory and brain power).
Ashtanga Yoga Led Primary Series Class
In the Ashtanga Yoga Led Primary Series classes we let go of our individual needs and move together as a group through the sequence. The led classes require some prior experience of the primary series and it is recommended that you attend a Mysore class first as the led class doesn’t have room for as much individual attention and is not the place to ‘learn the sequence.’ The teacher leads the class by calling out the traditional sanskrit vinyasa (movement synchronised with the breath) count for each posture of the Primary Series. The class moves and breathes in unison, it is a powerful and focused class. Led class is very beneficial to focus the mind, connect with the breath, feel the rhythm of the practice and correctly learn the vinyasa count which then helps refine daily self practice. This class is not recommended for complete beginners, but all current Mysore students are encouraged to make the led class part of their weekly routine.
A daily practice
The strength and mobility (mentally and physically) required in the Ashtanga sequences come easily with “Daily” practice. Six times a week on your mat is considered a “daily practice” in the Ashtanga lineage with “moon days” and Saturday or Sunday as traditional resting days. When you first start you will only be committing to 15-30minutes. When this feels achievable then more may be added. A little done daily has a much greater effect than a lot done once or twice. Attending classes at least two or more times a week is recommended for practitioners own safety, motivation and connection.
The style of yoga you should do is the one that you enjoy! If you are new to yoga be patient, give your body and mind some time (at least 3-5 yoga classes) to relax so you can have a better idea of what works for you. If you want to invest in a lifestyle of consistent yoga practice the Mysore method will be a perfect way for you to develop a safe and effective practice. Most of the time it isn’t the physical amount of time we have available that gets in the way of our ability to look after ourselves – it is the mental limitations we place on ourselves. YES – committing yourself to a regular yoga practice is a completely possible healthy habit to achieve, particularly when you let go of expectations and enjoy the ride.
It is appreciated if you turn up to practice with clean teeth, body, clothing and mat as a general courtesy to your fellow practitioners and teachers. Please do not wear perfumes and fragranced lotions as chemical scents can trigger allergies in other students and strong smells can make practice and breathing difficult. Please leave your mobile phone in your car or turn it on to a silent setting. Other information may be found on our FAQ page.
Like life, classes can change.. the flexible cannot be bent out of shape! The website is always up to date so if you haven’t been attending regularly bookmark this page and remember that one hour of yoga is only 4% of your day!
For the current Class Timetable, click here.
Sarah Haralambous has been teaching Yoga to the Sunshine Coast community since 2008. Her formal education includes completing a Bachelor of Coaching Science, Diploma of Massage, Level 2 (Silver Licence) Swim Coaching Certificate, Level 2 Yoga Teaching Certificate (plus continuous and on going training), Personal Training and Group Fitness Certificates. Sarah’s working experience in the fitness industry combined with personal experiences of injury in sport brought her to yoga. Of all the physical training and educational courses she has completed, Sarah’s daily yoga practice is what has taught her the most about herself and is what makes her a better person 🙂
The teachers that work with Sarah all practice in our Ashtanga Mysore classes; you’ll see both our Jodie’s as well as Jaclyn and Noras’ familiar faces helping out during our Mysore classes.
Read on to find out more about Sarah …..
Where did you grow up and what kind of child were you?
I grew up in Canberra with two brothers, a twin sister, a cat called Cuddles and a dog called Sam. I was very active – swimming, bike riding, horse-riding, climbing trees!
When did you first discover / go to yoga?
My granny (Win) taught yoga so I was definitely aware of it as a child and I remember doing some classes while I was at school (which I thought were silly!)
I first wanted to start yoga of my own accord when I was 16 and had injured my shoulder from an over-use injury while swim training. I went to the BODYBALANCE™ class at the gym (which is a trademarked Les Mills yoga-based class) and was so happy I’d found something that gave me the same sense of inner calm and joy as swimming! I then remember watching a ‘proper’ hatha yoga class at the gym and being mesmerised but at the same time (ironically) thinking it ‘looked boring’ compared to the vinyasa flow of body balance. However, the journey from body balance to power yoga, Vinyasa flow and eventually Ashtanga yoga wasn’t a long one and I am so grateful for my yoga every day.
Who are your teaching inspirations?
Santina Giardina Chard was the teacher that first inspired me to have a daily Ashtanga yoga practice. After 10yrs of practicing many different yoga ‘styles’ finding Ashtanga yoga was like coming home to me, and Santina’s tenacity and energy had a big impression on me and on my belief and discipline in creating space for daily practice. Aaron Earley opened Brisbane Ashtanga Yoga shortly after Santina stopped teaching regularly on the Gold Coast and I was so grateful to be able to attend a regular Mysore class without needing to take a whole day to get there or catch a plane! Aaron inspired me to believe I could create a mysore space on the Sunshine Coast! I feel blessed to have had the good fortune of attending Karyn Grenfells’ yoga retreat in North Queensland. Karyn’s devotion and experience of the Ashtanga Yoga method brought light to both my personal practice and my faith and dedication to these teachings. I feel truely blessed to have Karyn as my teacher and mentor. I have also attended workshops with Kino MacGregor and Mark Robberds and have completed David Swenson’s Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training. Their passion, belief and knowledge of the Ashtanga Yoga Method also inspire and motivate my practice and teaching. Workshops and immersions with Duncan Peak from Power Living have taught me about the importance of feeling ‘empowered’ and re-ignited my belief in the simple power of yoga. My boyfriend Guy does not practice yoga (I always get asked if he does?!) and my dog Doogal only does two postures (up-dog and down-dog!) but they both motivate me to be the best person I can be with their constant support and perspective.
Aside from yoga, what gets you up in the morning?
I’m a home body, I’m quite content with a weekend at home with my boyfriend Guy and my dog Doogal, walking or surfing our gorgeous National Parks and Sunshine Coast beaches with my friends or a simple cup of tea with a good book!
Do you practice yoga every day and for how long?
I tend to practice yoga 5-6 days a week for 1.5-2 hours. When I started, the thought of doing that much yoga made me roll my eyes (“what a waste of time!!!”) I’ve always practiced since I started but I only started with 15 mins a day. It’s the starting that’s hard, once I start I don’t want to stop because it feels so good! It’s more a matter of prioritising when to make time for it if it’s important. Over time it has become a part of who I am and I never regret getting on my mat no matter how tired I am or how many other ‘important’ things are going on because I always feel better for it.
Any words of advice to people considering coming to class or for current students?
Yoga may be uncomfortable when you start, but there is a big difference between dis-comfort and pain. Pain is not welcome in yoga- it is your body’s way of asking you to listen to it and to respect it. We are given feelings for a reason and the more you listen with your ego switched off the happier your body and you will be. Use your breath as a quality control key – if you can breathe effortlessly you will know your body is safe. If you can’t breathe effortlessly your body will tense up and flexibility comes with the ability to let go of tension. Sometimes that requires people to let go of unrealistic ideas about what they should or shouldn’t be capable of doing. This is the biggest difference between yoga and most other forms of exercise and the mentalities in our modern society in which pushing through pain or forcing things are accepted as the tools required for getting stronger, fitter, faster, successful etc… It may take you a while to change your thought patterns if this is the way you habitually do things so be patient.