May 18, 2009

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of Ashtanga Yoga, passes away at age 93.

Update: In Boulder, a memorial service at The Yoga Workshop.  A new post, one of the best yet. Yoga Dork just added their “This Too Shall Pass,” and now a slideshowYoga Journal just weighed in.

News: Sri K. Pattabhi Jois died at his residence following a brief illness. He was 93, not 94.

गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा  Swaha! We got word this morning, via Twitter, that Sri K. Pattabhi Jois has passed away. Updates to be added every few minutes. 

“Do your practice and all is coming.”

“If we practice the science of yoga, which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter – if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness, and our minds will flood towards the Self.”

Update, via Cora Wen’s friend, Kino MacGregor:

In Honor of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: 1915 – 2009
Ashtanga Yoga Guru
by Kino MacGregor   

A Guru is a person whose very presence imparts truth and awakening in the disciple. When I traveled to Mysore for the first time I asked Sri K. Pattabhi Jois where I could find the illusive state of inner peace that all yoga practice seeks to instill. He said, “You take it practice many years, then Shantih is coming… no problem” and my heart opened to the grace of his teaching. It was the depth and power of Gurujii himself that inspired his students to have faith in themselves and in Ashtanga yoga. It was my great fortune to consider him my teacher and I attribute the depth of my personal practice and teaching to the light that Guruji’s fire ignited within me.

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois taught Ashtanga yoga for more than 65 years before passing on May 18, 2009. Each day of his life marked a relentless devotion to the lineage he carried. A humble man born before both world wars, Guruji’s lifelong dedication to yoga transformed the lives of countless people around the world. Coming from a small village called Kowshika in Southern India, Guruji discovered yoga at the age of 12 when he saw the man who would become his teacher, Krishnamacharya, give a yoga demonstration at his school. After devoting himself to his studies and earning the title of Vidwan (professor emeritus of Sanskrit Studies) Guruji taught yoga for nearly 30 years in a small room on the first floor of his modest house in Mysore until the first Westerner came to study with him in 1964. Yet it was not until Jois made his first trip to California in 1975 that the worldwide legacy of Ashtanga yoga began to spread. He lived to see Ashtanga reach more than 30 different countries, transform thousands (if not millions) of yoga practitioners and sprout centers all around the world. 

Always joyful to see a new student, Guruji carried the torch of Ashtanga yoga while it grew over the last 34 years from a few disinterested students into a flowering, international community of dedicated, passionate practitioners. We have the practice of Ashtanga yoga today because of Guruji’s unwavering dedication to sharing his wisdom. At the moment of his death there is no greater way we can honor Guruji’s life than to get on our mats and practice every day. He gave us the gift of Ashtanga yoga and now it is our responsibility to practice. 


General biographical excerpt via Yoga Lounge:

…the popular system of “Ashtanga Yoga” that is widely practiced today, traces its more recent origins back to the sage Vamana, who is accredited with writing an ancient manuscript called the Yoga Korunta. The teachings of this manuscript were passed down to the great yogi, Sri. T. Krishnamacharya by his guru, Rama Mohan Brahmachai, over an eight-year period of intensive study in a cave in Tibet. When Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois became a student of Krishnamacharya in 1927, he was also taught this particular method of practice. In the present day, these traditional asana sequences have been translated into the primary, intermediate, and advanced series that make up the Ashtanga Yoga practice.

Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, who is affectionately called Guruji by his students, was born on the day of the full moon in July1915. He left home to embark on a twenty-five year period of study with his guru Krishnamacharya when he was only twelve years old. From 1937 to 1973, he taught at the Sanskrit College in Mysore, and in 1956, earned the title of Vidvan, or Professor. In 1948 Pattabhi Jois established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute from his home in Laxmipuram. He took his first trip to the West in 1974, when he was invited to deliver a speech on yoga, in Sanskrit, at an international yoga conference held in South America. The following year, sponsored by a group of his North American students, Guruji traveled to California with his son Manju Jois. Over the last thirty years, as a result of his several trips to different parts of the world, and the efforts of his many dedicated students, the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga have spread, and its popularity persists…for more, click here.

Update via John Friend on Twitter: @anusarafriend To honor Pattabhi Jois today Anusara yoga students should do 11 Surya Namaskars – (A) form.

Update: an informative article re. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois on Drishti Yoga:

Jois’ health had been unstable for the past few years, and he was in and out of the hospital more than once.  However, the exact causes of death have not yet been made public.  Along with B.K.S. Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois can be credited with carrying along the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya, who is largely regarded as the founder of modern yoga practice.  Jois was one of the most prominent figures in yoga, having taught thousands of students over decades as the founder of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India (known today as the Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute).  Many of his students are now among the most well-respected teachers in the West today.

Sharath Rangaswamy, Jois’ grandson, who has studied and worked closely with Jois for many years, is expected to take on the role as the head of the institute his grandfather founded.

Jois was born July 26, 1915, in the village of Kowshika, South India…  

Update: a nice article on Ashtanga News. Excerpt:

Deeply mourning the loss of my sweet Guruji. He passed away in the presence of Sharath, Saraswathi and the family. Such a mixture of thoughts and emotions flow through me as I remember what this great man and spirit meant to me and to the world.

I am reflecting now on how deeply and radically Guruji touched so many of our lives. I know that, for me, his touch was the beginning of a whole series of events that led me to a life that I could have never dreamed of. Guruji will continue to live on in everything that I do. His spirit and his heart will continue to inform the work that I do. Thank you dear, sweet Guruji for being such a light. Govinda Kai

~ ~ ~

Click the old photo, below, of the young Pattabhi Jois for a brief history of Ashtanga Yoga, founded by Sri. K Pattabhi Jois. Below, a well-known headshot with caption from Vanity Fair from a couple years back. Click for link.


One, two, three, four:

“So great to get married by your guru!”

Richard Freeman, my first yoga teacher in Boulder, was an early student of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. The future of yoga rests with teachers like Richard all the more, with every passing year.

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