Community, “real” yoga, and what is Led Mysore?

Community, real yoga, – and what is Led Mysore?

Home Practice vs. Group Practice
Group practice is where the community and friendships happen
Home practice is where the magic happens

Community is an important part of our health.  Longevity studies show those who have community and relationships in their life along with a strong meaning and purpose in life live longer than isolated people — and this took into account factors such as smoking, air pollution, and sedentary lifestyle – yet those with community and purpose in their lives outlived those who displayed healthier lifestyles but lived more isolated.

We are social beings, we are designed to live together, work together, create together and be together. 

But it takes awareness ~ to be with another human being there is always a push and pull, a give and a take, and a little understanding necessary.

This is where the yoga tool of “minding your mindstuff” is useful.  Our yoga practice can help us be a stronger part of our community if we pay attention to how we are relating to those around us and how our thoughts and words effect those around us.

As we strengthen our own mind power we are able to be more present with whomever we are with — The greatest gift you can give someone is your ‘presence of moment’, to be truly “there” with someone and not in a movie in your head. 

Ok … so where does asana fit in to your yoga?

Obviously all the asana is not working or we would not have so many injuries in yoga along with abuse of power and sex by the yoga teachers.  

What we need is a better balance between asana and inner workings.  

Yet we need movement for our bodies and asana is good body movements.

We need to shorten our asana practices and spend a little more time in mediation and visualizations and breathing exercises as well.  We have to rebalance our practices.

And I am planning to do this in my classes!  I am no longer going to teach a full series (unless you explicitly request it) in one practice, but rather a half of a series (either first or second half of either primary or second) or maybe even a little of each depending on the class then save time for a short group meditation time together and some days maybe a guided visualization during rest pose or a little yoga nidra.  So be ready for some changes in my classes 🙂

I am striving to keep asana to 20-40 minutes and save 20 minutes for meditation, breathing, and visualizations in seated or rest positions or a little time in each.

And each practice is no longer than one hour.

How many of you have a consistent meditation practice that does not include asana?

As you consider your asana practice, take into consideration your day, your time, how much energy you have in the moment, and where you are in our life.  Asana teachers need to teach how to use yoga asana to balance your life — not just a programmed set of postures.  Even though ashtanga has canned series, that seem sound there are different ways to practice a “canned series”.  And don’t be afraid to not follow a series any longer!  Its perfectly good yoga to experiment with other beneficial postures.

And you don’t want every practice to be In a group. Your real inner guidance is heard much better when you are by yourself in a safe space practicing as your heart desires ….

Honestly in a group, removing the ego element is very difficult.  In home practice it is very easy to lose the ego and practice what you truly need — not what you worry others may think you should do OR even worse perform for others or the teacher in the class.

So how now do we practice what is real “Yoga”?

A balance in our autonomic nervous systems seems to be a primary goal of all alternative mind body medicine and exercise practices, not exercise.

Almost 30 years in the yoga and exercise industry brought me to the realization that all these practices — and the Traditional Chinese Medicine physical practices as well like tai chi, qi gong, etc. are all based on shifting us to a parasympathetic nervous system dominance.

It is in this state we make better communities.  Let’s work on our yoga improving our awareness of when we shift into a stress response, and then use the tools we have to quickly slip out of it.

How do we shift our autonomic nervous system away from a stress response? With our thoughts and breath.   You can stop a stress response in a split second just by changing your mind.

The group yoga class model … practicing with others while maintaining equilibrium.  It is fun to practice with friends in a group yoga class — and this is one of the ways our yoga helps build community.  In order for group yoga to be effective, its time we get off the alignment plane.

I know I know that’s what everyone thinks yoga is about.  It’s not.  Yes, while learning safe alignment for your body is important, most people can learn that within 6 months of starting a consistent yoga practice, and don’t need every practice to be about alignment (boring ….).

Get off the alignment plane! While this is important, one persons idea of alignment does not fit every body. Most yoga instructors try to make your body fit into their idea of what the alignment “should be”.  Most people have had enough experience with yoga now that they have probably been told more than one way to do most poses!  Seated forward bends for example; how many different ways have you been taught more than once that this is the  “only right way” to do a forward bend? And each person’s idea of safe forward bending is different.  

I want you to find the alignment that is right for you, and then get off that plane.  It is so shallow. There is much much more to offer.  Try to not even think of the alignment cues in your head, instead let your body feel the alignment and go with it.  Stop fidgeting over alignment.

Moving and breathing in a group led class. What is Led Mysore??

In Led Mysore we are moving and breathing together, yet doing what we need for our bodies and minds.

This is how I propose we do this:

I do like the energy of the group moving through sun salutes together, however how you do your sun salutes may be a bit different yet I will teach you options that keep us all breathing and moving in the same directions and all in our down dog for 5 breaths at the same time.

For example; here are three ways we can all do surya namaskar together differently:

Cue / Move

Surya Namaskar A

Seated Surya Namaskar A

Therapeutic Surya Namaskar A


Standing in Samasthitihi position

Seated in Dandasana

Seated in Virasana

1. Inhale Reach Up

Inhale arms over head from standing

Inhale arms overhead from dandansan

Inhale come up to knee standing as you reach your arms over head

2. Exhale forward bend

exhale into your Standing forward bend

seated, exhale pick up legs and hug them into your chest

Exhale to childs pose

3. Inhale Head up

Standing in your forward bend, inhale lift your head up

Inhale to Navasana (boat pose)

Inhale come up to “cow pose” lifting face and tail bone upward

4.  Exhale jump back to chaturanga

on exhale step or jump back to chaturanga dandasana

Exhale to supine, flat on your back lying down in supta samastithihi

Exhale lower to pose of 8 points

5.  Inhale up dog

Inhale roll forward into upward dog.

Inhale place feet flat on floor and lift up to bridge pose

Inhale lift up your shoulders to cobra pose

6.  Exhale to down dog for 5 breaths

exhale into downward dog for 5 breaths

exhale feet to the sky and arms overhead (arms on the floor), stay here for 5 breaths

Exhale to childs pose for 5 breaths

7.  Inhale jump forward head up

Inhale step or jump forward, head up

Inhale use your abs and come up to boat pose / navasana

Inhale come forward into cow pose (on hands and knees looking up with head and tailbone)

8. Exhale to a forward bend

exhale into your Standing forward bend

seated, exhale hug legs into your chest

Exhale to childs pose

9. Inhale Rise

Inhale to standing reaching arms overhead

Inhale reach arms overhead as you extend your legs out

Inhale come up to knee standing and reach overhead

10.  Exhale to Samastithihi

Exhale to standing samastithihi

Exhale to dandasana

Exhale to virasana


See how in the table above we all could do our own sun salutes together in rhythm with our breathing.  And this is super fun to all move and breathe together while doing our asanas slightly different 🙂

And the examples in the above table are just the tip of the iceberg as to what options yet remain.  Imagine how creative we could get with our sun salutes and how we could choose from various options depending what is going on in our day.

From here we would move onto a similar way of doing surya namaskar B together (or maybe surya namaskar a was enough for a particular practice).

Standing poses up next, in a led mysore I will cue the pose but not necessarily all the form and alignment cues, instead those of you who know it, I would let do it as you wish, and those that are not quite sure how to do it – those will be the ones  go to and help them find the particular standing pose we are in for their own body.

Seated poses will be fun to play around with some ideas of how it will work in a led mysore class.  In my mind I am seeing a way we can practice either primary or second all together in a led class and have some moving and breathing together while each doing our own series. We are going to try a class for example where after sun salutes and standing poses you would choose either primary or second; then I would cue the first pose of each series (paschimattanasana or pasasana) and you would choose your series to do, then we would vinyasa together and I would cue the next pose in both primary and second, and on and on … sound like fun?

We would all finish together going through the inversions, then end moving and breathing together into and out of the three finishing lotus flowers and rest.

Ready to give it a try????


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