Nine hours in a tiny seat to a cold European airport, two hours in a layover where you stumble from coffee to cakes, another fourteen hours on an airplane bound for Bangalore, and finally a four hour taxi ride through cows, honking, Indian traffic, rickshaws and pollution lead you to a small South Indian city called Mysore. A city famous for the Mysore Palace, Sandalwood, silks, masala dosas, the best coconuts on Earth and, the reason I have returned there twelve times over the last fourteen years, yoga.
Mysore is the home of my teacher Sri K. Pattabhi Jois who spent his life sharing the message of Ashtanga Yoga with every student willing to put in the hard work of the practice. In the three years since he has passed away his grandson R. Sharath Jois has taken over the directorship of the K. Pattabhi Jois Institute in Mysore. I have been back in the U.S. for just over two weeks and I already miss the Mysore coconuts and the endless chai. I am still integrating the lessons of this trip to the motherland of yoga.
The decision to travel to Mysore to study Ashtanga Yoga with R. Sharath Jois at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute is something that marks a crucial turning point in an Ashtanga Yoga student’s journey into the heart of the method. It is not something that students should force themselves to do, but something that comes as a yearning from deep within. Anyone seeking to teach Ashtanga Yoga certainly would benefit from spending time in Mysore, the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga. Not only does the city of Mysore itself have a certain magic to it but there is also a deep connection to the lineage that happens when you practice in the home of Ashtanga Yoga at its source, at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute. It is hard to put into words what happens when give your heart to the experience of the practice in Mysore under Sharath’s guidance, but it is precisely because of that slightly ineffable experience that I return. Not everyone needs to go to Mysore but anyone who feels an attraction to the experience and craves a deeper dimension of the Ashtanga Yoga method would do well to place their doubt aside, buy an airline ticket to India and come practice.
I think the best way for you to get a glimpse of the magic of Mysore is to check out this new short documentary film that my friends Alex, Angie and Jim created while I was there. It’s called Mysore Magic: http://www.mysoremagicfilm.com/ When you watch it you will get a sense of the depth of the practice, the daily life of the Mysore yogi, the feeling of immersing yourself in Ashtanga Yoga at its source.
Story submitted by Kino MacGregor. She is one of only 14 people in the United States to receive Certification to teach Ashtanga Yoga from its founder, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India and is the youngest woman to hold this title. In 2006, she and her husband Tim Feldmann founded Miami Life Center where they now teach daily classes, workshops and intensives together. Kino is a life coach and Ph.D. candidate in holistic health. She has a Masterʼs Degree from New York University. She has been featured in Yoga Journal, Yoga Mind Body Spirit, Yoga Joyful Living, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine, Boca Raton Magazine, Florida Travel & Life Magazine, Six Degrees Magazine as well as appearing on Miami Beachʼs Plum TV and the CBS Today Show. More details here.
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