At first glance, the Mysore classes on our schedule might look like two or three hour-long classes that only the most intense yogis could stand! In reality, Mysore classes allow you to drop in for as little as 30 minutes during the class time if that’s what you need that day, and practices are made accessible to you regardless of your level of mobility and experience. Learn more about this often misunderstood yoga style in an interview with Hannah H., a long-time practitioner of Mysore yoga under Marie Belle’s guidance at Yoga District H Street.
Q: How would you describe the program to someone who doesn't know about it?
A: It is an individual practice in a group setting. You first start with sun salutes, then a set of standing postures, then to the primary series, and finally a set of closing postures. The sequence is self-led so you work at your own pace and Marie Belle gives personalized adjustments.
Sometimes the amount and complexity of postures can be intimidating to newcomers but the way Marie Belle teaches this class makes it very accessible. You can be there for 30 minutes or 1 hour, depending on what you’re looking for that day.
Q: What benefits have you experienced?
A: Mentally: waking up early in the morning and doing a very physical and sweaty practice leaves me more alert and aware for rest of the day.
Physically: this style of yoga helps you to build strength in the area you need it and flexibility in the areas that are needed. Also, you notice benefits of it more quickly because you are practicing daily and practicing the same sequence of postures daily. This is really empowering and brings you back to your mat each day.
Q: What is the community like?
A: You see the same faces on a consistent basis. You are able to see changes in yourself day to day and notice others getting something they’ve been working on and sometimes cheer each other on. We’re all there working towards a similar goal, nurturing and focusing on a particular posture until you get it and it helps to have everyone there on a similar path.
Q: What is Marie Belle like?
A: She is very articulate and precise with her cues. The way she explains things, it just clicks. She gives great physical adjustments that may seem small but allow you to experience the posture more deeply, “it’s like opening a window.” I think her personalized attention brings people back.
If you’re working on something in particular she’s always there to you help you through it and if you have a limitation she is great at helping figure out what will work with your body, and creating a tailored solution to fit your needs.
She is very warm and welcoming and greets you with a big smile and a hug. She really cares about each student, asking you how you feel, and what’s happening in your body that day. When she offers an adjustment she is present with you and wants to know how it feels.