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Mysore Style Astanga Yoga

By Richard Rosen

Most Pattabhi Jois–style Ashtanga vinyasa videos are strong on demonstration, expertly showing us what to do. But performance detail is typically lacking; they don't tell us how to do it. Now this instructional void is neatly filled by a two-disc package by Melanie Fawer, a New Orleans instructor certified by Jois himself.

The three-hour instructional video is divided into 28 sessions, each one focusing on a bite of the Ashtanga primary series; it's meant to be used in tandem with its partner, a 90-minute practice video, which runs straight through the series. You start by learning session 1 (Surya Namaskara A) on the instructional video to get the details of this part of the sequence. Once you're confident that you understand what to do, you then follow Fawer on the practice video, refining session 1 until you feel ready to move along. Then you return to the instructional video to learn the next steps (Surya Namaskara B), again practicing with Fawer on the second video through sessions 1 and 2. In this manner you work your way through all 28 sessions, adding one at a time to the lessons already learned, gradually increasing both your practice time and your challenge.

This intelligent approach encourages the beginning student to build her practice methodically and safely, rather than jumping with both feet into the entire primary series without adequate preparation. Fawer is a powerful model and a perceptive, alignment-minded instructor. In all, this is an excellent video introduction to, and a useful refresher course in, Ashtanga vinyasa.

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Reader Comments

Ellen

Yes you would be lost. It's best to know the sequences before going but a lot of people go to mysore classes and just learn there by watching people. I personally found that very difficult.

Ruth

I want to try to Mysore style self-practice classes at my local yoga centre but I've been advised to learn the Primary Series. What is that and how do I learn it? If I didn't know the Primary Series would I be lost in a Mysore class?

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