The Mysore style of yoga asana practice is a particular way of teaching yoga within the Ashtanga Yoga tradition as taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the southern Indian city of Mysore. There are some differences in this method from the usual modern way in which yoga is taught:
- the class is not "led" as a whole but rather all instruction is one-on-one within the group class setting
- students practice their own portion of the Ashtanga sequence of asanas at their own pace
- the teacher assists each student individually by giving physical adjustments & verbal instruction
In Mysore style students learn the fixed order of asanas using a specific movement-breathing technique called ujjayi breath. Through vinyasa, there is continuity via the breath from asana to asana. In the Ashtanga sequence, each asana builds from the previous – and prepares for successive – asanas.
Each student is given their yoga routine according to their ability. Newer and beginner students tend to have a much shorter practice than do those with more experience. As one gains more strength, stamina, flexibility and concentration, additional asanas are given to the student. The sense of the word "given" in this context comes from how the practice is taught in India, where a yoga practice is something that a teacher gives to a student as a spiritual practice. In the West, people are accustomed to learning a lot of asanas all at once – such as in a typical modern "led" yoga class.
Asanas are given, one by one in a sequential order. The structure of the class depends on the teacher being able to keep track of what every student is doing with a quick glance. If students attempt something out of sequence, the teacher is less able to help in the appropriate way. If a student has trouble with a particular asana, the teacher can offer a modification that is consistent with the intention of the practice. One by one also means that once a student is given a new asana, they practice their sequence up to that asana, then do backbends if applicable (backbending is the climax, not a part of the finishing sequence), and then wind down with the finishing sequence. In general, the next asana in the sequence should be added/taught/learned only after obtaining stability in one's last asana.