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Vancouver Island Yoga School

Morning Practice (Mysore)

Are you new to yoga? Or, perhaps, you want to learn more challenging postures, refine your current practice, or get individual support? Perhaps you don’t know where to start, or you’ve reached a point in your practice where you feel stuck and want to deepen the basic skills and understanding that bring you closer to mastery.

Sachiko and I (Deb) are here to support you and teach you the techniques that will help you grow in your practice. Ashtanga Morning Practice (Mysore) allows you to learn Ashtanga Yoga step by step at your own pace. We offer Morning Practice from Tuesday to Friday. Come in anytime between 6:15 am to 8:15 am to build a strong foundation of yoga that will support your life.

What is Morning Practice (Mysore)?

This step-by-step method of teaching individuals in a group setting goes back to the father of modern yoga, Sri Krishnamacharya. His well-known students who spread the teachings of yoga in the western world include Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S Iyengar, T.K.V Desikachar, and Indra Devi.

Many people ask, “What is Mysore?” Mysore is the name of a city in southern India, where Pattabhi Jois began teaching in the 1930s. Mysore is the name given to this method of learning Ashtanga Yoga. During a Mysore class, you can learn each posture of the Ashtanga Primary Series in sequence. The series is a set of sun salutations and classical postures performed in a fixed order that links breathing and movement.

Pattabhi Jois taught thousands of students who made the pilgrimage to Mysore each year. His students, in turn, became well known and respected as they taught yoga steeped in tradition and philosophy, facilitating classical yoga in a modern context. Second- and third-generation teachers include Kino MacGregor, David Swenson, Tim Miller, Chuck Miller, Laruga, and Eddie Stern, to name a few.

I have had the honour of studying with Kino, Saraswathi Jois, David, and Chuck over the last 13 years, and each has had a profound and inspiring influence on me. One of Krishnamacharya’s teachings is about the life cycle of a yoga practice. We start our practice to recover our health (physical, mental, and spiritual), then we go through a period of growth, followed by maintenance. We cycle through the stages as we move through the phases of our lives.

Morning Practice (Mysore) at VIYS

In keeping with tradition, we rest on Moon Days, which are mornings of the new and full moon. A regular yoga practice will help you attune to the natural rhythms of life as influenced by the moon and the changing seasons.

If mornings are not available or you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us or come and practise with us! You can drop in anytime for the two hours designated for Ashtanga Morning Practice (Mysore) early each morning (check our schedule for more information). You can stay for just half an hour or the full two hours.

Deborah Carruthers
VIYS Founder & Faculty

P.S. I write more about the benefits of a regular Ashtanga Yoga practice in A Month of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India.



“When Deb asked me to write what Mysore means to me, I realized I could write ten paragraphs and more because the reason I come and my experience of Mysore has changed with the many seasons of my life the past six years. At the same time, articulating my Mysore experience isn’t easy; it is often an experience for which I have few words.

What brings me to Mysore today is the energy created within the room and the experience of moving while having an empty mind. Mysore is a unique, one-of-a-kind gift that I am drawn to unwrap and is fresh every day. I have a very busy life full of responsibilities and competing demands. Occupying a space in the Mysore room is my home. It is where I rest, become whole again, and leave “better” for the rest of my day; as my kids have said for a few years now, “Go to yoga, Mom, you’ll be a better mommy!”.

In Mysore, we can laugh, chat, cry, be still, move a little or move a lot – it all fits. I can be myself. It is as simple as arriving. From there, I can listen to myself while feeling held by everyone in the room. It is the most amazing feeling I know, both grounding and expansive. I have grown to love each and every person who walks in. We practice together, even though we all do things with our bodies that look very different.

In Mysore, I can ask for help. This is different from being in a led yoga class. It is expected that I ask for help to enhance different aspects of my practice as well as share dialogue with my teacher. In Mysore, I have received instruction (words or hands-on guidance) that is so unique to me that it stays with me long after (often years after) the ‘class’ is over. There is a little bank of cues within every pose that I have built up over time, just for me, which wouldn’t be possible without Mysore.

Sometimes I come to Mysore and simply flow through the same poses. Other days, I encounter a moment where I know it is time to try something new. And then try it again. In Mysore, we try again. And again. And, sometimes, we fall. And try again (three times?!?). Mysore is fun because there is no rush. I can always come back to something at the next practice. There is always another chance to return.

In Mysore, I have been encouraged by many hearts. “You can!” they say. As the poses have become easier to attain, I focus on breathing and enjoy clearing my mind even more than I enjoy the physical practice. I can’t pinpoint when the ability to clear my mind arrived to me at Mysore. What I do know is the interruptions that riddle the rest of my day feel manageable when I know I can return to the Mysore room again. I practice because my whole day feels different when I do.

I know anyone who commits to coming to Mysore regularly will be nourished. I know this because I remember the first time I entered a Mysore room like it was yesterday. I remember feeling tense, unsure, and a bit fearful. At the time, I wanted to come as my youngest was four, and I knew I needed to develop more strength, especially in my core. I was there for a physical purpose and had aspirations to achieve what those around me were doing! I attended once a week for a couple of years without questioning whether I’d go or how much sleep I’d attained before leaving my house. And then, suddenly, I melted into practicing 3 and 4 times a week!

Mysore will fit each and every season of my life. While I know my practice is mine, I also am gifted a deepening experience of the love and courage of my teacher, Deb. I appreciate her daily gesture of opening the doors for me and others. I came to Mysore for me, but over the years, I learned I am there for everyone in the room. Mysore is love. It is courage. It is compassion. And because the practice is so, I will bring those qualities with me to my practice to meet those who surround me. And I leave each day solidly knowing those parts of myself are in me always. While I’ve had this awakening many times, it continues to surprise me.

I hope to see you on the mat in the morning.”


“In Praise of Morning Practice:

Discovering Morning Practice (aka Mysore) several years ago has been a gift, both in deepening my yoga practice and sense of well-being.

Early morning practice is like having a private golf lesson … getting the correct stance, grip, and swing from a pro at the get-go. Personal attention and tips. Then practice, practice, practice.

Through patience, sharing their vast knowledge of yoga, and recognizing one’s attributes and limitations, our ‘pros’ Deb and Sachiko guide, tailor, and foster a strong foundation, body awareness, and curiosity in planting a seed for ongoing exploration of the practice.

Attention to alignment, breath, and focus has resulted in a gradual strengthening, immersion, peace, joy, and challenge in my own yoga practice.

Hence a longing to start most days with this sustaining ritual in the calming and beautiful space VIYS provides.

Looking after myself through morning yoga before navigating the rest of the day allows me to carry on being more present, patient, and kind with myself and others who cross my path.

There is a wonderful camaraderie with other ‘free range’ early morning yogis. Supporting and strengthening our community. (Bonus:  sometimes coffee and treats! )

“Build it; they will come.”  (Thanks, Deb.)

I hope you will come.

See you on the mat.


Sachiko & Deb - Morning Practice: Mysore