I heard so much about V. Sheshadri’s teaching at Mysore Mandala Yogashala, finally today we asked to drop in. Mandala’s multi purpose hall is rather small, its floor covered by stroll carpet to give extra curtain for yoga practice. Upon entered, the first thing that hit me was the smell of sweat as it was packed with well-toned yoga students all practising on their yoga matt. At a glimpse, it looks a little like a cult group performing their ritual in a meat market. In this stuffy room we could barely find a tiny space and fold ourselves as small as possible to avoid eating into their space.

Today, all of them seem impressively flexible. They work at their own pace following a 3-page booklet, printed with little manicon drawings to describe the sequence of asana they need to do. Their teacher V. Sheshadri, who just came back from Australia, small frame with extremely well-proportion toned body, perhaps in his 40s, was busy swinging around correcting posture of his students.

Sheshadri’s teaching is famous in the foreigner community of Mysore. His teaching is practically non-teaching but mainly correcting students’ asana. He is capable of twisting and folding his students’ bodies 30% more than what they think they can do – in a split second. I enjoyed watching him doing that though. It is a state of high art as he is very animated, skillfully adjusting his students bodies against his to provide stability and supports as well as minimize injuries (perhaps).

Some acts I find them seductive, while others are gymnasium. Once, he was pressing a student’s front bending asana, he jumped and stand on the wall with both legs and one hand on his student’s spine to provide extra pressure. His movement was crisp, superb beautiful. One lady was doing a sitting asana where upper body bent down, legs straighten forward and hands bent backward beneath her legs. After adjusted by her master, her 4 limbs were twisted on top of the back of her head all in less than 45 seconds, including questions and answers between the two, “Are you ok? You want more?” Master asked, and student nodded. At the end, her face looked like a rainbow, turned from yellow to red to purple. Sheshadri walked away left her folded like a deformed puppy and she was struggling to unfold herself.

Sheshadri doesn’t seem to demonstrate asana to his student. One example, he was trying to correct a Korean student’s asana by telling her in English, to turn her toes and her thigh, while the poor lady had already gestured she doesn’t speak English. He appeared impatience, spoke in higher voice level and start turning her body in place…

We walked out together with the first student who left the room after half an hour, and felt ourselves fully motivated. In such training environment our ego can be easily boosted to high level even as an observer. Everyone seems doing their own thing but silent competition is among them. Therefore, whenever Master ask, “Are you ok? You want more?” they usually nod. The 30% extra flexibility obviously excite them, blinded them from seeing the potential injury may cause.

No doubt in a room feels like a heated oven plus performing continuous asana (Vinyasa means sequence of continuous asana) combined with unique breathing technique would increase ones body’s flexibility. The Master’s additional push shows how much one’s body could do beyond one’s expectation. That’s great! But, the problem lies in this sudden push and release, often doesn’t give the muscle memory enough time to realise or adjust to the changes.  Once their Master’s pressure leave, they often spring back to original position. Injury may occur…

I am not sure if I fond of this kind of training…