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The Yoga of Rules: Mysore Yoga Expands in D.C.

Courtesy Rebecca Epstein Photography
Moore, standing at left, oversees a Mysore class at Ashtanga Yoga Studio DC in the Palisades.

Ingalls acknowledged that Moore may have better luck retaining students at AYSDC, which is nestled in a corner of the Palisades not accessible by Metro. “Keith has an adult group with not as much turnover. There is a lot of turnover in Washington, D.C.”

Future of Mysore

The expanding popularity of Mysore may mean even more studios could offer the option. “I would imagine every yoga studio out there wants a Mysore program because they see how it is growing and everyone wants a piece of that pie,” Steiner said.

The district’s Mysore offerings still pale compared with New York City. “I’m not sure we’ll ever have as robust a community as New York,” Rene said. “There are some really special teachers in New York who had the unique experience of spending a lot of time with Guruji, something that can’t be replicated.”

The D.C. area boasts four “authorized teachers,” who have received permission to teach Mysore-style yoga from Guruji or Sharath, after intense study and practice in India. (By comparison, the entire states of Illinois and Ohio each have one authorized teacher; New York City has nearly 20.)

However, plenty of teachers lead Mysore classes without authorization.

“Authorization does not mean a teacher is a great teacher or that a person without authorization is not a great teacher,” said Steiner, a recently authorized teacher herself. “I learned this practice from a teacher who is not authorized, and he still remains one of the very best teachers I have had.”

Even as Mysore-style classes grow in size and more studios consider adding additional classes, it will ultimately be up to the students to decide if this level of commitment to a particular type of yoga suits them.

“As Guruji would say, anyone can do this practice, so we don’t have to be Type A, young and super fit,” Steiner said. “It is really the ultimate all-levels, all-abilities class. You just have to be willing to take some responsibility for your own practice.”

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