Mysore Etiquette

1. Please practice the Niyama (bahir) Saucha, external cleanliness, by taking a shower or bath prior to coming to each practice and wear clean clothes;

2. It is recommended to bring your own yoga mat, a cotton mat and a small towel to practice. Clean your yoga mat after use and regularly wash your cotton mat and towel. If you do not have your own mat there are mats available at the shala and cleaning spray to utilise after;

3. Refrain from using perfumes, deep heat, tiger balm or other highly fragranced items prior to practice. If you are allergic to incense or essential oils please let me know;

4. It is recommended to practice on an empty stomach. Please resist eating a meal for 2-3 hours before class;

5. Arrive in a timely manner to finish your practice within the allotted time. Please arrive between 08:00- 09:45am for morning Mysore to ensure you have completed your sadhana, including the relaxation after before 11:00am. For Led Class and Yin do ensure you arrive prior to the stipulated start times, 09:00am and 19:00 respectively. For evening Mysore, do arrive between 18:00-18:45 to finish by 20:00. If you are unsure of the shala opening times see the timetable or ask me.

6. Please inform me of any injuries, illnesses, concerns or pregnancy before you start practice. If any posture feels painful, risky, dangerous, elicits heat, sharp, shooting pain or electrical sensations, do not do it. If you have adopted a pose and pain arises, gently come out of the shape and speak to me. Do not suffer in silence. We can find a way to safely modify the posture, find an alternative or omit it if needed.

7. I cannot emphasise practising Ahimsa, non-harming, enough, in body and in mind. Be kind and be gentle with you. If I ask you to make any alterations to deepen your practice, it is always on the premise you are not in pain. If pain is present, it is a message from your body that you are tearing the tissues of the body or are close to. Do not do it! I actively encourage you to not make any alterations that I, or anyone else suggests, if it hurts you!!!!! ‘No pain no gain’ has no place in yoga! Deeply listen to your body, tap into its inherent wisdom and respectfully respond to its signals. Do not override or force your body to do anything that does not feel intuitively right to you. Your body is your sacred temple and your teacher. The practice is designed to heal and empower you not hurt or disempower you. Your body knows!!!! Trust it. As Bernie Clark teaches: “Use the posture to get into the body. Do not use the body to get into the body”. Practice today so you can practice tomorrow!

7. In keeping with teaching Ashtanga Yoga traditionally, hands on adjustments will be offered. These are a normal part of the learning process so for those of you who are unaccustomed to receiving them, do know assistance is by no means a criticism but a very effective means to deepen your practice, postures and awareness. This being said, it is not the only way to do so. If you do not feel comfortable receiving hands on adjustments, do not hesitate to let me know. Your decision will be respected and you are under no obligation to explain your reasoning. And, for those of you open to receiving physical adjustments, feel free to communicate if there is any way I can assist you more effectively.

8. Ideally do not bring your phone into the shala. If you do bring it, please turn it off or put it on silent, refraining from looking at it during the practice. Within the practice do your best to cultivate pratyahara, the fifth limb of yoga, by withdrawing the senses inward. Learn to control the mind, bringing it back from its external fixations such as phones, other people’s practices etc and focus on focus on tristhana: correct position of the body in asana, the breath and the prescribed dristhi or gazing point.

9. If at all possible place your mat down in one place, filling the shala up from the front, and don’t play musical mats. Proceed by doing the opening chant if it feels right to you, and begin Surya Namaskara, minimising any warm up or preparatory postures.

10. In accordance with tradition, please do your best not to deviate from the sequence, modify or utilise props (including cheat sheets). If you cannot remember the sequence yet, do not worry, it is my role as a teacher to remind you and help you memorise the order.

11. Please refrain from drinking water during your practice, and from eating or drinking for 20-40 minutes afterwards.

12. The shala is a sacred practice space so please refrain from chatting to each other during class. Of course community is important so should you wish to socialise please do so in the reception area/conservatory quietly after class.

13. Please be respectful of other practitioners, their space and the studio.

14. Please do not ask for the next posture. Yoga is much more than asana. It will be given at the appropriate time. Cultivate the Yama Aparigraha, non-greed, the Niyama, Santosha, contentment and the internal states of yoga, emphasising quality over quantity.

15. This is your practice and it is an honour and privilege to share ashtanga with you. It is important to me that you own and enjoy your practice. If I can support you more effectively to experience more presence, peace and joy on the mat do not hesitate to let me know. If you have any questions, concerns, struggles, confusion, know I am only a text/call/email/conversation away. As student-teacher, practitioner-practitioner, being-being, we are a living breathing evolving dynamic team!