Our hope and goal, is for our shala to be first and foremost, a safe space to practice and one free of performance and competition. To be a space where one feels empowered, supported, and accepted.
Teaching Mysore style includes giving physical adjustments that aim to either guide the practitioner to the fullest expression of the pose possible, or support them while doing it. Along with verbal queues, they are an invaluable tool for any teacher – whose goal should NOT be to do the pose instead of the practitioner, but to help them realize their potential.
However, if any practitioner feels triggered or uncomfortable by, or during physical adjustments, or for any reason does not want to be touched, at a particular moment or ever, they should feel free to turn them down, without having to explain themselves.
That being said, we encourage practitioners dealing with a physical injury, to let us know before or during practice, so that we are able to take it under consideration while giving adjustments or verbal queues.
In the Ashtanga method, the next pose is given to practitioners when they are ready, according to the teacher’s judgment. A practitioner is considered ready, not necessarily when the pose is perfect, but rather when it is steady and comfortable, the breathing is stable and not forceful, and the practitioner has been making a sincere and committed effort to take it to the place that is available to them, without attachment to results and to getting the next pose.
The teacher on the other hand is required to act, not as a strict enforcer of the rules or a perceived “correct method” but as an outside, objective and empathetic observant that can recognize when more effort can be made, but also adapt the method to each individual’s needs.
With much understanding and compassion, for we are also practitioners, we kindly request that you not ask us for the next pose, or when you are moving forward. Progress is slow, especially after a certain point. Yoga is not just asana, but also the inner work that one has to do when faced with themselves and their limitations, on and off the mat. Our goal is not to finish a series, but also to reach that point having learnt something about ourselves along the way, and through the daily struggle to find the space to grow. If you feel stuck, perhaps ask yourselves, first of all, whether you practice often enough. If the sincere answer to that is YES, then, by all means, talk to us about it.
We can’t stress enough that we might be teachers, but we are also flawed human beings. We are not omniscient and definitely not someone to surrender your power to. No one knows what’s best for you and your body better than you. We are here, at best, to lead by example, support, and nurture you through your journey, and the only way to do that is through honest and open communication.