Coming to Mysore to practice at the home of Asthanga, to come to ‘the source’, was for me a little dream of “someday, maybe when I’m good enough” (whatever that means). Until I started actually living my life (about a year ago, I wrote about it here) and adopted the attitude of “never mind someday, how about this day?”
So here I am, in Mysore, studying with Sharath at KPJAYI. Not that easy to do for many people I’ll warrant, for financial, work, family or other commitments and constraints. I could have talked myself out of it forever, but I’m almost a week in to my month in Mysore and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity or loving this experience more. It’s an amazing place.
So if you are currently thinking you might like to go to Mysore, but are doing a good job of talking yourself out of it, here are some little things that may help with your decision making process.
Preparing your practice…
- Study with a certified or authorised teacher before you come. I’m not sure if Sharath accepts anyone who doesn’t have an authorised teacher, but it seems that way. You can find a list on his website, here.
- Work on perfecting every pose in order, one after the other. Try not to skip poses that are difficult for you because there is no hiding here. Accept that every single breath in every single pose leading up to your ‘nightmare’ pose is preparing you for it, so take the opportunity and ‘be prepared’. Recognise that every extra centimetre you can twist in Parivrrta Trikonasana will help you in Marichyasana D, every fraction of extra length in your spine and openness in the pelvis in the Prasaritas will be put to use in Supta Kurmasana because whether you’ve ever had your chest on the floor or not, it will likely be on the floor in the shala, so you might as well be ready for it.
- Start practicing as close to 6 days a week if you can, here in Mysore Monday-Thursday are self-practice days and Friday and Sunday are led classes to the count, a helpful routine to get into in advance.
- Learn the sanskrit names for the poses, because that’s what they’re called.
- Learn the opening and closing chants, because everyone else knows them and you’ll feel daft if you don’t.
- Learn the eight limbs of Ashtanga, especially the yama and niyama, and how to apply them in your practice. Ask your teacher if they’ll do a workshop on them if you’re not familiar with them.
- Start reading yoga books if you aren’t already.
It’s hard to get a place, so apply as soon as possible, midnight India time on the day four months before you want to come.
Book a place to live as soon as you get accepted to study – there are plenty of people to contact (Shiva, Murthy, Ganesh etc) and if you join the Ashtanga Community in Mysore Facebook page and post a request on there, but don’t stress if you don’t get somewhere sorted, no-one will let you sleep on the streets, many of us just wing it when we get here after a night or two in a guesthouse.
I had no idea how much I’d need to budget for this trip but a rough breakdown of one month of costs is below
Transfers to/ from airport – 5000INRs
Shala fees for one month (as of Jan 2014) – 28600INRs
Accommodation for one month – between 10,000 – 30,000 INRs
Food – Allow 500Rs a day, so 15,000 INRs per month, although it’s easy to spend less
Excursions – trips to local sights on your day off – Maybe 500INRs or more
Swimming Pool – 500INRs per trip
Massages – 1000INRs a pop
Shopping – Mat, mat bag, clothes, souvenirs and on and on – allow 5000-10000 INRs minimum
Total – around 110,000 INRs – about £1100 Gbp, this isn’t including flights and emergency cash – maybe add a few hundred for that.
In my limited experience, it’s an experience worth every rupee.