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EXPLORING MYSORE: A JOURNEY INTO THE HEART OF ASHTANGA YOGA

Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: May 19, 2024

Welcome to Mysore, a city where the air is perfumed with sandalwood, the streets hum with the echoes of ancient tales, and the practice of yoga weaves itself into the fabric of everyday life. In this enchanting city, history and spirituality converge, offering a journey that transcends the physical postures of yoga to delve into the very essence of existence. Join us as we embark on a soul-stirring exploration of Mysore, the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga.

Why Do People Love Mysore?

Mysore’s allure extends beyond its historical charm; it embodies a serene ambiance that beckons seekers of yoga, spirituality, and ancient wisdom. The city’s tranquil environment fosters introspection and growth, making it an ideal destination for yogis and travelers alike.

QUICK FACTS ABOUT MYSORE:

  • Location: Situated in the southern state of Karnataka, India.
  • Nickname: Known as the “Sandalwood City” for its thriving sandalwood industry.
  • Famous For: Majestic Mysore Palace, sandalwood artifacts, silk sarees, and, of course, Ashtanga Yoga.
  • Must Visit: Mysore Zoo, one of India’s oldest, houses 168 species and was originally the palace zoo at Maharaja Sri Chamaraja Wodeyar’s summer palace.
Mysore Palace
  • Preserving History: The Oriental Research Institute, among India’s oldest libraries, boasts a preserved building and a collection of 50,000 palm leaf manuscripts sourced from personal collections across South India.
  • Radio Revolution: In 1935, M.V. Gopalaswamy launched India’s first private radio broadcasting station in Mysore.
  • Climate: Hot and humid year-round, with monsoon season from May to October and dry season from December to March.

MYSORE: THE ASHTANGA YOGA CAPITAL OF THE WORLD

Ashtanga Yoga, rooted in ancient texts like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, is a holistic system focused on achieving balance through ethical living, meditation, discipline, purification, and physical practice. The goal of Ashtanga Yoga is to harmonize inner and outer energies through its “eight limbs,” outlined by Patanjali. Its modern form was shaped by Indian Yoga guru T. Krishnamacharya and popularized by his student, K. Pattabhi Jois, who integrated dynamic elements like the Surya Namaskar poses.

Ashtanga” means “eight limbs,” reflecting its comprehensive approach to wellness. By uniting body and mind, Ashtanga Yoga seeks to cultivate inner harmony and holistic health.

Mysore is synonymous with Ashtanga Yoga, a dynamic and challenging style of yoga that emphasizes a flowing, vinyasa-style practice. The city owes this reputation to the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, founded by the renowned Ashtanga yoga teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Here, practitioners from across the globe gather to immerse themselves in the traditional teachings of Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of esteemed instructors.

MYSORE’S YOGA INSTITUTES: SANCTUARIES OF SPIRITUAL GROWTH

In the tranquil streets of Mysore, amidst the fragrance of jasmine and the resonance of temple bells, lie sanctuaries of spiritual growth—the city’s renowned yoga institutes. Each institute carries forward the legacy of Ashtanga Yoga, offering seekers from around the globe a space to deepen their practice, connect with their inner selves, and immerse in the wisdom of ancient yogic traditions.

1

K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute:

The grandeur of Ashtanga Yoga finds its home in the hallowed halls of the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. Founded by the illustrious Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, this institute stands as a testament to his vision of spreading the transformative power of yoga to the world. Led by his grandson, R. Sharath Jois, the institute continues to uphold the authentic teachings of Ashtanga Yoga with unwavering dedication. Here, students embark on a journey of self-discovery, guided by the ancient principles of breath, movement, and mindfulness.

As you step into the sacred space of the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, you feel a palpable sense of reverence and anticipation. Here, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, lies a sanctuary dedicated to the timeless practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

2

Prana Vashya Yoga:

Nestled amidst verdant surroundings, Prana Vashya Yoga emanates a sense of serenity and tranquility. Founded by the visionary Vinay Kumar, this institute offers a unique approach to yoga, blending tradition with innovation. Vinay Kumar’s 60+ Asana series catalyzes physical and spiritual transformation, inviting students to delve deeper into the inner dimensions of their being. With intensive courses and teacher training, Prana Vashya Yoga provides a nurturing environment for personal growth and self-exploration.

3

Mysore Three Sisters:

Run by Shashikula Govinda, an esteemed Ashtanga Yoga practitioner and teacher rooted in Mysore, extends her expertise to students in Singapore and China as well. Her journey into Ashtanga Yoga commenced in 1994 under the guidance of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, distinguishing herself as one of the few Indian women practitioners at the time. Devoting 15 years to her practice alongside her revered guru until his passing in 2009, Shashikula now carries forth the tradition of traditional Ashtanga Yoga with his blessings. 

4

Linga Ashtanga:

Rooted in the principles of authenticity and integrity, Linga Ashtanga is a haven for seekers of truth and self-discovery. Founded by the esteemed Jai Prakash, this institute offers a holistic approach to yoga, encompassing not only physical postures but also breathwork and meditation. Through his guidance, students embark on a transformative journey of self-realization and spiritual awakening.

5

Indea Yoga:

Drawing inspiration from the ancient teachings of Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga, Indea Yoga is a beacon of light in the realm of yoga education. Led by a team of dedicated instructors, this institute offers a comprehensive curriculum that caters to practitioners of all levels. From foundational courses to advanced teacher training, India Yoga provides a supportive environment for students to explore the depths of their practice and unlock their true potential. With a focus on alignment, breath awareness, and mindfulness, students emerge from their training empowered and enriched, ready to share the gift of yoga with the world.

6

Ashtanga Saadhana:

Tucked away in the quaint neighborhood of Gokulam, Ashtanga Saadhana is a sanctuary for seekers of inner peace and spiritual growth. Hosted by the knowledgeable Vijay Kumar, this institute offers a range of classes and workshops designed to cater to the diverse needs of students. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or a curious beginner, you’ll find a welcoming community and a supportive environment to nurture your yoga journey. With an emphasis on self-exploration and self-discovery, Ashtanga Saadhana provides the perfect setting for deepening your practice and connecting with your innermost essence.

A GLIMPSE OF MAYSORE’S MAGIC

To truly understand the essence of Mysore’s yoga culture, one must experience it firsthand. Through the documentary “Mysore Magic” by Upward Spiral Films, viewers are transported into the daily lives of Mysore yogis and the transformative power of practicing Ashtanga Yoga at its source.

ESSENTIAL GUIDELINES FOR VISITING MAYSORE: TIPS AND INSIGHTS 

SAFETY TIPS:

  • Health Precautions: Consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A/B and typhoid before your trip.
  • Weather Awareness: Be prepared for hot and humid conditions, especially during the monsoon season. Pack lightweight, breathable clothing and mosquito repellent.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Respect local customs and dress modestly.

ESSENTIALS TO PACK:

  • Yoga Attire: Bring comfortable yoga apparel and your mat, as well as any props you may need for your practice.
  • Clothing: Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight garments to stay cool in the tropical climate. Long skirts, kaftans, and scarves are ideal for modest dressing.
  • Hygiene Products: Pack essentials like sunscreen, hand sanitizer, and probiotics to stay healthy during your travels.Reusable Water Bottle: Help reduce plastic waste by carrying a refillable water bottle with you.

Your journey to Mysore transcends mere tourism—it’s a pilgrimage of the soul, a quest for self-discovery, and a profound exploration of the ancient art of yoga. As you delve into the practice amidst the rich tapestry of Mysore’s culture and heritage, allow yourself to be transformed by the magic of this sacred city. Embrace the unknown, surrender to the rhythm of your breath, and let Mysore work its transformative wonders on your yoga journey.

So, heed the call of your practice, pack your bags with reverence and curiosity, and embark on a journey into the heart of Ashtanga Yoga in the timeless city of Mysore. Your yoga journey awaits.

InfosysMysore

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REFERENCES: 

  1. https://mysore.nic.in/en/history/#:~:text=The%20word%20Mysuru%20is%20a,found%20in%20the%20Devi%20Bhagavatha
  2. http://kpjayi.org/ 
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K._Pattabhi_Jois 
  4. https://www.yogawinetravel.com/india-travel-guide-what-you-need-to-know-to-plan-a-yoga-trip-to-mysore/ 
  5. http://www.mysorepalace.gov.in/ 
  6. https://www.shiksha.com/beauty-fitness/articles/what-is-ashtanga-yoga-blogId-130241#:~:text=Meaning%20of%20Ashtanga%20Yoga%3A%20Ashtanga,However%2C%20Yoga%20means%20union
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