I attempted my first mysore asana practice this morning. Unlike an instructor lead ashtanga practice, mysore is self-paced and therefore the focus is directed inward. While everyone takes on the same sequence, in this case the primary series, each yogis’ journey is vastly different.
The instructor circulates the room, offering assistance in helping each yogi achieve the posture to the best of their body’s ability. For me, this was much further than I ever imagined my body could go. It was transformative and very encouraging for it gives me hope of what is possible — albeit far from easy.
As I practiced, I observed my body go from waking-up during the initial phase to becoming somewhat beaten down in the middle of my practice. I kept on moving through the sequence, noting how my body was so fatigued that my upward dogs had become cobra and my hop forward had dwindled to nearly a crawl. Then, midway through the seated poses, something amazing happened. My hop gained height and I was able to return to upward dog without shaking. I was still tired, but at the same time I was also energized by the practice.
The whole mysore experience was quite a process which is obviously much more than just the physical. Erika, our instructor describes the practice as a “mirror for the mind.” I think she’s right.