Introduction to Mysore-style Ashtanga Yoga (4-week online course)

Have you ever seen “Mysore” listed on the class schedule of your yoga studio and wondered what it was? Maybe you peaked into the Mysore class (back when we were able to attend in person classes), noticed that everyone seemed to be doing their own thing, and wondered what was happening. 

This is what (in person) Mysore Style Ashtanga looks like.

Guess what? I am a teaching a course in January 2021 that will answer all of these questions and more.

Whether you have been practicing yoga for a while, or have no yoga experience at all, this 4-week course will lay out the fundamentals of the practice.  It will provide you with a step-by-step guide to learn Mysore Style Ashtanga Vinyasa (Ashtanga Yoga) which can open a whole new world of yoga experiences including practicing Led Primary Series with Ashtanga teachers and practitioners all around the world. Many of these teachers are now accessible right from home given the push to go virtual during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic is over, you can find a Mysore program near your home, or where you are vacationing, and fit right in. The sequence, chants, and general guidelines are the same where ever you go. After the 4 week course has ended, you can practice on your own or virtually with us at BTY.

In case you were wondering, “Mysore Style” refers to the traditional way Ashtanga Yoga is taught in Mysore, India. It is not named for how you feel, as my Big Sis thought. This type of practice encourages the practitioner to follow the rhythm of his/her breath. In addition to strengthening the practitioner’s individual practice, this style of yoga also helps students gain ownership and understanding of their personal journey with yoga.

The objective of the course is to instruct the students through the various aspects of Ashtanga Yoga, including posture, breathing, and dristhi, which create the basis for practice as a moving meditation. Students will start by learning the elements of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) forms A and B. These sequences are the foundation of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and establish the basic form and flow of the greater series of postures. Building on this foundation, students will be introduced to the standing, some seated, as well as the finishing postures. Yoga practitioners aim to create a conscious synchronization of breath and movement, to enter a meditative state while practicing Ashtanga Yoga. During each session, students will be led through the postures and then they will be asked to perform the postures on their own.

It is recommended that students join the Mysore and Led Ashtanga classes available at Breathe Together Yoga. These classes are included in the price of this introductory course from January 11th – 31st, 2021.

To find out more and/or sign up: CLICK HERE , leave a comment, or email me.

Life just gets messy…sometimes

Your yoga mat is often described as a place to work through the “stuff” that you are processing in your every day life. In the 10 years that I have been practicing, I have known this to be true. Sometimes, stuff that you may have been overlooking gets revealed to you during your practice. In my experience, when this occurs, it’s generally not the happy stuff that makes itself known.

The thing is, life just gets messy.

Well, sometimes it does. When it does get messy, you have a couple of choices: You can stop everything and run around picking up the messes, or you can let it be for a bit and carry on.

The funny thing is, neat and tidy doesn’t always work out. Similarly, sometimes things come out beautifully in spite of the mess.


Moon day practice

Moon day used to equate to sleeping in. Lately, my body has become quite accustomed to waking up early. Moon Day or not, I am generally awake by 6am. How I use my regular practice time varies. Sometimes, I take extra time just sitting quietly. Other times I might do some journaling. I might go to the gym for an early workout, take on a light “feel good” yoga practice, or I might just walk the dog.

This past Moon Day, however, my options were more limited due to a foot injury (Foot vs. Dog Bone). I couldn’t walk too well, and was unable to put on regular shoes. Instead, I decided to get on my yoga mat to record another video for my YT followers. Since I haven’t really gotten any feedback on what it is that you all want, I kind of just made it up as I went.  This one is rather short; it’s just enough to move your body in all directions so that you can go out and do all the things you love to do.  I hope that you will enjoy it.

As usual, if there is something you’d like me to include on either my YT channel, or in written form on this blog, please leave a comment to let me know. Also, please click to watch, like, comment, subscribe, and share. Thank you.

Reflections of 2020 (so far)

As I think back to the approach of this year, I held a bit of uneasiness which I didn’t quite understand. I chalked it up to the consideration of whether or not to “put myself out there” again after almost a year of learning to be with myself. I never thought the year would unfold as it has. 20/20 has been fought with the pandemic, racial injustice and protests, hurricanes, wildfires…and the election! My high-level words of description do not begin to describe the reality of what is going on in these current times.

I am not alone when I pray for the year to be behind me, yet am afraid of what the next will hold. The uncertainty feels a lot like the feeling I faced after my husband, Tom died. I feared that we’d lose the house we saved everything to buy, feared my teenage son’s rebellious behavior would take him from me too, and I feared for the my youngest who had nightmares of not waking up. Meanwhile, Mr. Goodneighbor spotlighted his own belief that God would not give me such challenges if I couldn’t handle them. I appreciated the reminder of my faith. I prayed and faced my fears with my best self. Thankfully, we are all still okay.

I believe that, in what remains of this year, we must work together (albeit from our place of shelter) to be our very best selves: PRAYing for, HELPing out one another, listening, sharing, educating, & learning, and each of us going out to VOTE. We cannot afford to wait for this year to end in order to start again. We must be our best selves and make the changes happen now.

Mat Manners

By now, you all have probably noticed that practicing at home has its pros and cons. For me, not having to pack up all of my work clothes, lunch, and other items needed for the rest of the day, coupled with not having to navigate the morning commute, is a HUGE plus. Accountability and discipline are a must to keep me coming to my mat day after day. I don’t always feel it, but I do it anyway. When it is all said and done, I am ALWAYS glad that I did.

Connecting to my community via zoom helps as well. After the laptop incident, I don’t dare use my laptop for the connection. Instead, I use my phone. I can’t see everyone at once, but I can hear the breath, voices, and comments while I am on my mat. It’s not the same as being in the room with them, but similar in a way. What I mean is, you aren’t supposed to be looking around, listening in on everyone else’s practice – but knowing you all are in it together in the collective flow is really powerful.

Then, there is my new puppy…

Kobe has been with us for five weeks now. From Day 1, I have made an effort to let him be with me during my practice. To be honest (or frank), I don’t really have a choice. In the beginning, he woke rather early, and had already gotten some rigorous play time before I rolled out my mat. So, usually, he fell back to sleep shortly after my standing poses were complete. Now that he is sleeping through the night, he wakes at the start of Mysore and is fully charged from a full night of sleep. And he wants to PLAY!

Monday being a moon day, I incorporated puppy play into my mini practice. In hind sight, this may have been a mistake. For on Tuesday, he repeatedly brought me the toy I had played tug-o-war with during practice the day before. Only NOW, I didn’t want to play. He and his toy were repeatedly put in my practice space only to be ignored. Young Kobe persisted, tugging on my ponytail, licking my face when I was in the most vulnerable of poses (i.e. kapotasana, supta vajrasana). I struggled, feeling guilty for ignoring him while desperate to not lose my practice.

On Wednesday, I begin again. I am determined to teach my pup some mat manners. He climbs on my mat as soon as I roll it out. “No. No.” I say, picking him up and moving him.

Off the mat.”

It quickly becomes a game. I try to hold both my composure and my ground. A part of me wishes that I wasn’t on zoom for all to see my struggle. The other part of me doesn’t care, confident that my peeps (who are both my peers and my students) don’t care. The practice continues. I use the gate intermittently to create some physical separation (hoping to better illustrate the command). The familiar potty whine comes. We take it outdoors. Then go back inside only to find that Simba (our 9 year old dog) has joined the party.

I am on the verge of tears and just about ready to throw in the towel, when Kobe lies down for a nap. I finish up my practice to get ready for my first meeting of the day…thankful for having not gave up.