Notable Living Contemporary Teachers

Place of Birth
Hassan, Karnataka, India

Foundation of Teaching
Yoga, Hinduism, Presence, Compassion

Example of Teaching
“Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal… But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain.”

 

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Books

Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois 

21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice de [Altucher, Claudia Azula]

21 Things to Know Before Starting an Ashtanga Yoga Practice 

Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy

Contact

Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute #235 8th Cross, 3rd Stage Gokulam, Mysore 570002 Karnataka, India +91.988.0185.500

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Krishna Pattabhi Jois

Founder of the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, Yogacharya Shri K. Pattababhi Jois popularized Ashtanga Yoga  which literally means eight limbs and is  characterized by fast-paced exercises that involve pronounced, but controlled, breathing while holding varying postures. This yoga technique induces sweating, which Jois said was necessary to cleanse the body. Fondly known as Guruji to his students, he also taught that the vital aspect of internal purification lied in removing the six poisons – anger, delusion, greed, desire, envy and sloth, toxins that could be removed by diligent yoga practice.

Jois was born in July 1915, in the small hamlet of Kowshika in India’s southern state of Karnataka. His father was an astrologer and a priest in a nearby village. As is traditional in most Brahmin families, Jois began to study the Vedas and Hindu rituals. He was inspired by a yoga demonstration he attended at age 12, and began to study under the tutelage of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, one of the distinguished yogis of the 20th Century.

A age 21 Jois married Savitramma and they lived in a section of town called Lakshmipuram, where they lived with their children Saraswathi, Mañju and Ramesh. He held a teaching position in yoga at the Sanskrit College in Mysore from 1937 to 1973, becoming vidwan (professor) in 1956, as well as being Honorary Professor of Yoga at the Government College of Indian Medicine from 1976 to 1978. He taught there until 1973, when he left to devote himself fully to teach yoga at his yoga shala.

In 1964, a Belgian named André Van Lysebeth spent two months with Jois learning the primary and intermediate asanas of the Ashtanga Yoga. Not long afterwards, van Lysebeth wrote a book called J’apprends le Yoga (Yoga Self-Taught) which mentioned Jois and included his address. This marked the beginning of westerners coming to Mysore to study yoga.

His first trip to the West was in 1974 to South America, to deliver a speech in Sanskrit at an international yoga conference. In 1975 he stayed for four months in Encinitas, California, marking the beginning of Ashtanga yoga in the US. He would return to the US several times over the next 20 years.

In 1998, Guruji shifted his residence to Gokulam, a suburb of Mysore. By then, he was receiving more international students than the small room could handle, so he began construction of a much larger hall, the ‘shala’ that opened in 2002. Four years later, his dream of opening a school in the United States was realized with the launch of an institute in Islamorada, Florida.

In 2007, Guruji became gravely ill, bouncing back just enough to teach a bit more yoga. By the end of the following year, after seven decades of continuous teaching, he had gradually retired from his daily classes, leaving the institute in the capable hands of his daughter Saraswathi and grandson Sharath. He died on May 18, 2009 of natural causes.

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Quotes

  1. “Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal…. But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain.”
  2. “Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”
  3. “So whether you do your first downward dog at 14 or 44, it’s not your history but your presence on your mat that counts.”
  4. “Why fear?”
  5. “Simply be present with your own shifting energies and with the unpredictability of life as it unfolds.”
  6. “Yoga is good for man because the physical body improves, the nervous system improves, the mind improves, the intellect improves—so, how can yoga not be good?”
  7. “I was disappointed to find that so many novice students have taken Ashtanga yoga and have turned it into a circus for their own fame and profit.”
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