Hi! I teach classes in two formats:
Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga
Drop-in Group Classes
Mysore Style Ashtanga Yoga
Learn yoga one-on-one in a community setting, at DC Ashtanga.
DC Ashtanga is proudly in residence at Dragon’s Breath Yoga.
3423 14th Street NW
Drop-in Group Yoga Classes
Guided classes with a set start time.
Michael’s drop-in classes are held at the Eaton Workshop.
1201 K Street NW
Washington DC 20005
+1 202 289 7600
What’s Mysore Style Yoga?
At DC Ashtanga, we teach yoga one-on-one in a group setting. Everyone is working on a sequence of postures that are linked by inhalations and exhalations. Postures are done in a particular order with a particular breathing style. With regular practice, people find states of yoga. Students work a their own pace and time, coming and going within the allotted time for the day, but with no specific start or finish time. The teacher helps when the student needs help, and allows them to focus on their own work otherwise.
Wait, wait wait. States of Yoga? What’s that?
Yoga means union. As we teach it, it’s a union of the mind, the body, and spirit. At first, it looks like a yoking together of our attention on breath and balance. In the long term, to practice yoga means to make efforts to better understand your self. With a better understanding of the self, we get a better understanding of the world. The state of yoga occurs when you’re totally at peace with yourself and the world around you– and in order to do that, you gotta “be here now” — aka, tuned in, not zoned out. This happens all the time for people, in shorter and longer durations.
So how do I do that? By paying attention to your body and your breath, as well as your relationship to gravity. The body is a super-duper tool for observation, and that’s what ashtanga vinyasa yoga is all about.
Ashtanga (Vinyasa) Yoga? What’s that?
First, let me say that I absolutely love ashtanga yoga because it is truly meant for every body. Anyone can do it. For those that are interested in athleticism, it gets you a killer body high. For those interested in stress relief, it helps distress tolerance immensely. For those looking for self-care opportunities, it’s a carved out time just for you. And for those facing injuries, setbacks, or disturbances. its a perfect place to heal, nourish, and grow. But.. more specifically…
Ashtanga refers to a method of stilling the chatterings of the mind through an 8-fold path. In fact, this stilling of the mind is the essence of yoga— period.
Vinyasa refers the sequential order of things. Because we’re doing a movement practice, we’re sequencing breath and movement. “Vinyasa” in this context is the specificity of breath and movement. I put it in parenthesis, because Ashtanga is so much more than just the vinyasa component.
Yoga, as we covered earlier, is an appreciation of the world around you and your place in it. Seeing life as it actually is versus how we have been conditioned to experience it. I use the teachings from Patanjali’s yoga sutras as our methodology for accessing yoga.
What separates “mysore style” ashtanga yoga from other styles? As is common these days, yoga has become a bit of a commodity– everyone doing the same exact thing, cookie cutter cues, and not a whole lot of yoga actually happening for a whole lot of people. In the mysore style, students are instructed individually in a group setting. You’re treated like a thinking-feeling, adult human being from day-one. You’re not talked down to, or given fortune cookie platitudes. Mysore is for people who want yoga without a lot of baggage, maybe some depth, and not a whole lotta superfluous crap.
Because you have to memorize some stuff, and you’re hand is only held as-needed, real growth can happen inside a mysore room.
Starting with a few sun salutations and a few closing postures, each student gradually learns their practice from their teacher piece-by-piece. Most start at 3 days a week, but more is encouraged (as per an individuals needs).
As the student is able to memorize more-and-more of their practice, eventually they will hit a challenging posture that takes a bit more work than the ones before it. This is where the students and the teacher work together to make the impossible possible. This kind of relationship building is also somewhat unique.
What if I can’t remember the sequence? That’s why the teacher is there! This is a practice that grows with student, and for many folks, choreography can be quite challenging! Not to worry, its why the mysore room is better than a DVD. A DVD won’t correct you. Because we are all growing a practice from the ground up—every day working— ashtanga vinyasa yoga, as taught in the mysore setting, is truly the only all-levels class out there. Appropriate for everyone, the practice is taught gradually, giving you time to memorize and explore.