Interview with 2017 May Mysore Challenge winner, Chris Mckeown


Chris To what do you credit your May Mysore Challenge success?
For me the most important thing is to recognise the benefits of completing the challenge for my health and well-being, and to allocate a priority in my schedule accordingly. 

Do you have any tips you can pass on to your fellow practitioners?
I find having a regular sleep pattern and getting to bed before 10:00 means I get my 8 hours sleep and am ready for the next morning – no excuse!  Once I wake up then its straight of to the shower before I have time to think about it. I would not be too concerned if I missed one morning – you can catch up in the evening or on the next Saturday. I was able to swap one Sunday morning for a Saturday to allow me to get to a brunch.

Did you have any moments of doubt you would complete the month?
I have completed all the previous challenges and never had any doubt about completion then, as I was practicing all the normal days.  This year I wasn’t entirely sure as I had a virus mid-April and wondered whether I had sufficient endurance.  I think I hadn’t attended a Friday led class since December last year.  Fortunately the moon days gave a gentle start to the Challenge and it turned out well. 

Can you share what your typical morning schedule looks like?
My alarm is set for 6:10 ( I’m a late starter) but I usually wake 10 minutes or so before the alarm.  Then I have a quick shower get dressed, pack my bag and head to the train station.  I’m only 8 minutes from the train station and the train gets me to Flinders Street Station in about 18 minutes.  Its quicker than driving and much more relaxing. I’m usually on the mat shortly after 7:30.

What do you have for breakfast post practice?
Invariably its homemade Bircher muesli with berries and chai (made with a tea bag and not as good as the Friday chai).  I mix the muesli the night before and eat it at work catching up on emails and preparing for the day’s meetings and activities.

Do you do any preparation for practice the night before? eg. pack bags etc.
Preparation is the key for a quick get away. Everything is laid out next to my bag so I can pack and leave quickly.

Do you have a favourite and least favourite pose?
The favourite is easy – its sirsasana (headstand).  I did yoga when I was at Uni and so I have always found sirsasana straight forward.  My least favourite or perhaps more difficult, would be any asana requiring hip flexibility.  I would really like to be able to sit properly in padmasana.

How long have you been practicing Ashtanga yoga?
This is my 5th year of practicing Ashtanga.  I was doing Hatha yoga one day a week at work and a colleague encouraged me to come to the intro classes at Studio Cirq.  We both completed two intro series and a workshop with Christian and then started doing Mysore with Karyn, which I found really suited me.
Did you feel any benefits from completing the May Mysore Challenge? If so, please explain.
The challenge provided me the incentive to get back into a more regular practice at a time of year when seasons are changing and I might otherwise have found it easier to stay in bed. The benefits that a consistent practice gives you – a settled mind, healthy body and strong sense of well-being are invaluable.  I think my Urdhva Dhanurasa also improved.

Will we be seeing you for the 2018 Challenge?
Yes – I hope so.

Thanks Chris!