I was wrong about Mysore. I thought before starting the practice a few weeks ago it fueled competitiveness and fed the ego. Maybe it does at other studios. Maybe it does among other practitioners. But what I've found has been startlingly different and maybe even a little unnerving.
For me, it's very quiet, deeply personal and contemplative.
I feel the heavy and vast presence of my unknown when I step on my mat. It feels solitary, for sure, but also lonely compared to the typical yoga class.
There is no music. No cues from the teacher (unless they come to assist you). Students drop in and out over the course of several hours. There is the meditative, relaxing sound of deep ujjayi breathing, whispered assists, sometimes laughter. But really, what there is, is you and your mat and the silent speech of your body as it tells you what feels tight, fluid, glorious, blocked.
I thought yesterday of the notion of "silence is deafening." That's kind of what I've found when I work through the series. My body remembers the poses and knows, sort of, what goes where and how to engage this or that, so what's left is the breath and everything, EVERYTHING, there is to learn.
Because of the kids and volunteer commitments and surprise sicknesses, I can't go as often as I'd like. So far, the most I've been is three times in one week. Dedicated Mysore students practice six days a week. But already I've found such a different experience that I spend long hours puzzling over what it all means. No answers, just wondering.