Ashtanga Blog

Why practicing in Mysore is different than back home

The things that make Ashtanga practice in Mysore very special and why you should not compare it with your practice back home.

Tania Kemou performing Krounchasana Ashtanga pose in Mysore, India

Often enough when Ashtanga students come back from their first trip to Mysore and start practicing again at home, they feel disillusioned. They are trying to recreate what happened there, they are looking for the same momentum and level of energy in their body and the same clarity in their mind.

Of course they don't find it.

Does this mean that practice in Mysore is more legitimate and valuable? Of course not. Below are the main reasons why the energy there is so elevated and what you need to keep in mind in order not to lose motivation each time you return.

1. Practice when in Mysore is everyone’s number 1 priority

The whole day revolves around it. For the majority of students there are no work and family commitments while they are here. There are very few distractions and almost none in the evening. So the mind is freed to focus exclusively on the practice.

2. It is very easy and affordable to eat fresh and healthy food in Mysore

There are many options of home cooked Sattvic food that nourishes your body and prevents inflammation and pain. To this I should add the coconuts that offer deep hydration, loading the body with electrolytes and replenishing lost nutrients.

3. Heat helps

I always gain in flexibility when I practice in Mysore or anywhere with a warm climate. The body becomes more open and ready to receive adjustments. Injuries are rare but they can still happen.

4. The energy in the Shala is so special

Practicing in a room full or dedicated students who travel from all around the world just to practice here is extremely empowering. The fact of sharing this passion elevates everyone’s energy.

5. Guruji’s energy is transforming

I left the most important for the end. I cannot possibly describe it, it needs to be experienced. Having a teacher that you fully trust and feeling how he believes in you can change the course of your practice within just a few weeks. There is no place for fear or doubts anymore, just an immense strength that you didn’t know you possessed.

That being said, expecting to have this level of practice back home is unrealistic. It is not even meant to be this way every day. Trying to grasp it and make it last forever will only disappoint you and make you lose faith in the practice.

We don’t come here to possess Mysore’s magic.

We come here to immerse in it, draw inspiration, remind ourselves why we are doing this. To take some fragments of it back home, accept that magic lies also in the mundane practice even when energy is low and body is weak because we renewed our commitment and our vows to never ever quit.