Inner Heat – Mysore Style Ashtanga

This morning I went to a Mysore style class at my teacher’s shala in London.  As you can imagine, due to the recent weather, the room was hot!  The heat of many bodies practicing this dynamic style creates a heat, which combined with my own inner heat and our recent heatwave created a steamy practice.  When people are new to Ashtanga Yoga they sometimes think the sweat is a problem but actually you are meant to sweat in Ashtanga Yoga, this internal heat is part of its cleansing benefits.  Personally I love practicing in summer as my body begins to unravel after the winters practice.

How hot people get depends on many factors but some people just sweat more than others.  I have never been much of a sweater but I can imagine it can be a little distracting.  You may find you slide on your mat a bit.  If this happens a Mysore rug
 or a yoga towel would help you a great deal.  My preference is Manduka eQua® Mat Towel and I was glad I packed mine this weekend!

It was lovely to practice with a group today.  I love the energy and focus of a Mysore style room.  For those of you unfamiliar with this way of teaching, Mysore style is the traditional way to learn Ashtanga Yoga as it is taught in Mysore India.  It is self practice in a group environment with teacher’s assistance.  Individuals practice as much of the sequence/ sequences as appropriate for them.  Physically it allows each body to work at its own pace and get very individualized assistance.  So a complete beginner can practice next to someone who has been practicing for decades.  What I love most about it though is that it develops an inner focus because you don’t have to externalise your awareness to follow the teachers instructions like you do in a led class.  The focus of others in the room also helps me to pinpoint my own awareness and take me deeper into the practice.  I love it!

How have you found practicing in this warmer weather?

About Helen Aldred

Helen Aldred practices and teaches ashtanga yoga in Liverpool. She loves to share and discuss yoga, as well as health and wellbeing. Follow her on twitter and join Ashtanga yoga Liverpool's Facebook community .


  1. AYL was steamy hot yesterday too. I’m really loving the heat, the body feels like it has extra space to move within. Almost like being back in Mysore, especially surrounded by a few people who were there.

    Did you have to wait to start, I hear the weekday mornings have been busy lately?

    Are you down all week

  2. Hi Kevin, It’s lovely isn’t it! I practiced in marcs room in London Sunday and it was really hot. I got to ayl at 8, which is when it starts to get a little quiter, i imagine. It was full when I arrived but I was just starting surya namaskara when I heard the infamous “one more”, which always reminds me of Mysore. I am back in Liverpool now.

    • That was a flying visit then. Marc working down here again? My upstairs has the sun on it all afternoon so by the time I get home to practice it’s almost like AYL/Mysore. The whole process feels easier. Trying to get my head & body round to practice before work ready for when the Euro’s start, but no heat then.

  3. The one and only time I was put in full supta kurmasana (crossing legs, binding and all that) was by Greg Nardi … in Miami! It was June and the summer had officially arrived. It was the type of hot and humid weather in which you are drenched in sweat after walking 5 min outside (I kind of like it). It was a morning Mysore practice around 10 am, the shala did not have its AC on … making me all sweaty by the end of the standing sequence. Everybody is more flexible in Miami!

  4. Hey Shane,

    Thanks for commenting :-). You make me want to go! I love warm climates. It’s interesting how over time the things we can do when the planets align (i.e. we are warm, we didn’t eat the wrong thing, not too much or too little sleep) become the things we can do everyday but then of course there is always something that’s not possible to bring us back to earth.

  5. Hey Helen
    I love Mysore style especially in the summer! I love the heat it helps my body to try to reach deeper into the asana and feels really good:) The atmosphere and the energy of the other practitioners really helps me with stamina and focus even when it is not one of my best practice days! I would love to practice in Mysore ….maybe one day……. looking forward to primary tonight!

  6. Nice to see you back in the blogosphere Helen! As a Floridian, our summer practice season lasts a little longer than average. 😉 …but I love the warm practices
    It’s so true that “my body begins to unravel after the winters practice”

  7. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for the comment. Yes having others there can really help me focus too. Hope you enjoyed the bank holiday, see you soon.

    Hi Christine, lovely to hear from you too! Florida summer sounds lovely, in Britain we have to take it as it comes, one day heat wave, next day cold front, a lesson in non-attachment of ever there was one!

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