APP Goes to Mysore: Short Shorts and Bra Tops Are Banned

We had led today to end the week. Sharath made my hand into a fist for Marchi B. I usually have my fingers spread.

Sharath did conference. I will need a day or two to process it before I will say what I learned.

The biggest shock was the announcement that we are no longer allowed to wear short shorts and bra tops in the Shala. Sharath asked Usha to bring out examples of accepted tank tops which were quickly bought up. Me and one of the other girls I came with had to look for pants which is not an easy feat in India. Saris, harem pants and T shirts made of silk, cashmere and cotton are on every corner. Tight pants in sweat friendly man made materials….not so much. After several unlucky trips to the store, I finally remembered a cute little shop that did the trick. They definitely are not fancy sweat wicking wonders but they will work. Sharath said that we needed to respect the culture and represent the Shala.  According to the regulars,  in the past, short shorts were okay. We were thinking that maybe someone took it too far and he just nixed it for everyone. Who knows.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika Take Aways

  • Certain practices are not good for people who are looking to have children.  Two examples, women should not do Nauli Kriya and men should not do Siddhasana.
  • Asanas are not explained fully in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika because you are supposed to learn them from a Guru. It is on purpose.
  • 4 different stages in a yogis life
    • Bramacharya- Traditionally a vow of celibacy is taken so that the student can focus on their Yoga studies. This is the period when a student submerses themselves in learning Yoga with no distractions.
    • Grhastha-Householder phase.  The Yogi may marry and take a family. They are devoted to one partner and must still practice abstinence on particular days (see Yoga Mala)
    • Vanaprashta- Once the Yogi has raised their family, they prepare to again focus only on Yoga. The Yoga slowly goes back towards abstinence as a means of redirecting their energy towards spiritual pursuits
    • Sanyasa-Yoga and meditation becomes the Yogis only focus. Time is spent on application of the Yogic principles learned during the Bramacharya phase
  • Typically, everything in nature has reproductive cycles. It is normal to go through periods of abstinence.
  • The most important Yama is Ahimsa, non violence

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.


  • Paula

    Great post! Thank you for sharing your experiences:) I absolutely wore shorts in practice there, I just ” undressed” from my appropriate street clothes in the changing room at the shala. I’m not sure how to feel about it yet. In asana, .garba pindasana is difficult for me with fabric in the way, No shorts at all? Or just short shorts? How short, is it just a rule for women or men as well?

  • Sasha

    Sharath asked students long time ago not to wear revealing clothes. I think it was around 2006/7. I actually came into his office to confirm, and he definitely said no. Everyone except 1 student changed. Last year I was quite shocked to see the shala so rock n roll clothes, after not going for some time. It definitely went a bit too much, so Sharath had to show appropriate clothes…which is a bit extreme for him.

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