My Mysore Yoga Story by Nanna Hallikainen
I have been practising yoga for six years and only Ashtanga yoga since 2017 as a Mysore practice. I started going to different yoga classes at first, but it was the led Ashtanga half-primary series classes that I started to prefer because of the grounded and especially good feeling I always had after a class. When I moved to Glasgow in 2016, I found Gem’s yoga studio where I tried many different classes. It was also Gem who encouraged me to come to Mysore because at the time the idea of Mysore in my head was something where I could not go to because I thought it is only for advanced Ashtanga practitioners. However, I found that this is not the case as Mysore practise is for everyone and I fell in love with it. That is also when I started to practice with Cathy. I went away for a year and continued practising Mysore. When I moved back to Glasgow, it was obvious that I would return to practise at Finnieston Yoga Shala. Now I come to practise around five mornings a week and it has truly become a steady part of my life. If I do not wake up early to do my practice, everything does not feel right. Half a year ago I also started to learn to assist Cathy on the Mysore classes which I have found very interesting because adjusting others gives me a new viewpoint towards Ashtanga yoga.
When I started yoga, it was mainly a physical practise for me, but I knew and soon realised that there is something more in it. Of course, I enjoy the physical asana practise a lot because it is fun, challenging and it gives me strength and more flexibility. I like the feeling when I learn a pose I have been struggling with for a long time. Nowadays my practice is much more focused and sometimes meditative which makes me feel much better during and after the practice. Sometimes I feel very light when I leave the Shala in the mornings. I agree with what some teachers of Ashtanga say that the practice makes you observe yourself during it but also teaches you to observe yourself outside of the asana practice which is one of the great benefits of Ashtanga. Yoga has also had a positive impact in my overall life, as I pay more attention to sleeping enough, eating well so that the practice is easier and I think I have become even more compassionate towards other people and life on the planet. All I know is that I want to continue learning and practising Ashtanga yoga because I find new aspects in it all the time and feel the positive impacts it has on me.
I like how Cathy and Gem teach and run Finnieston Yoga Shala; I would not consider going somewhere else in Glasgow. The place has a nice community of dedicated students that you practise side by side most mornings of the week. I also enjoy the conferences and events organised at the Shala as they give opportunities to go deeper into my practice. It can be hard at first getting to the routine of waking up early to practise but by continuously doing it, it becomes easy. I could not get back to not doing so, it is a too important part of my life now.