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« more conference candids | Blog HomePage | Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, R.I.P. »

In Memory of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Father of Ashtanga

pattabhi_jois.jpgUpon waking for the last day of the conference, we learned that Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, 93, has passed. The official announcement is posted here, and you can find up-to-the-minute memorial posts and reactions from students worldwide here via twitter.

What are some of your best memories with him? Please share them below in the comments field.

 

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Thank you for the light! You made such an impact on the world! Your joyful presence will be so missed!

In Honor of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: 1915 - 2009
Ashtanga Yoga Guru

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 yoga and philosophy thereby 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.

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. 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. 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.

www.KPJAYI.org

The first time i came to Mysore i was at the end of my trip. Something pulled me to find the shala, even though i started my trip in Northern India and had to ride for three days in a train down south. Once there, i knocked on the door and Guruji open it with a big smile on this face and simply welcomed me upstairs. We sitted with him and it was so sweet to see him surrounded by his family and grandkids...i feel very blessed to have known him like that: a loving father and grandfather. It was a very intimate moment that i will never forget...

Such great man and leader in the yoga world..My sympthies
to his students and families.

you may guide us for eternity thru the light.

namaste
venus star

I pay homage to one of the most influential modern yoga teachers. Without his presence, the structure of yoga and the enormous reach that yoga has had would be significantly less than it is.

With gratitude I bow reverently
Om Shanti

Guruji,
Guru of my Gurus, thank you I mourn your death because your legacy transformed my life and turned me into a yogini and a link of transmission of Ashtanga Yoga Chikitsa, taught to me by my beloved Guru Jorge Espinosa, David Life, Marcos Jassan, Amado Cavazos, Baptiste Marceau, Michael Gannon, Italo Menconi, Licha, Ana Luisa, and my mother Marilu Woods. Thank you for giving real purpose to my life and turning me into the best me that I can possibly be.
Darshan always.
Lucy

Thank you for sharing your wisdom and teachings with individuals from all walks of life. I dedicate my practice to you and your family and tend to continue this tradition by learning more and more about Ashtanga Yoga with everyday that passes. I hope to one day have the chance to visit Mysore and learn with your daughter and son. Namaste

It was during my yoga teacher training and a bunch of my yogi friends were going to NYC to study with Sri K. Pttabhi Jois and told me that I shouldn't miss it. I had just returned from a trip overseas and was still on European time, and after arriving at about 2 in the morning, I slept a fitful couple of hours, waking up at 5:30 to run over to the sangha at 6:00 am.The energy from the huge group, from Pattabhi Jois and his family was overwhelmingly focused, happy and positive. Jet-lagged and all, I accomplished my first free-standing headstand! I was in a daze to be sure, and actually found my teacher from Woodstock, and she told me we should go and bow to his feet at the end. His energy was so bright, and pure, and an unbelievable combination of vibrant energy and serenity I was high from the experience all day. He came to represent the embodiment of yoga for me. I am so grateful to have been able to meet him.

The first yoga tradition I learned was Ashtanga Yoga. Thank you Guruji for your compassion. Thank you for Ashtanga Yoga.

I was never blessed with physical presence of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, but I have been blessed with his spiritual presence through the power of Ashtanga Yoga. I am ever greatful for those many teachers who have been taught Ashtanga Yoga to pass on to others such as myself. May the world never forget such a healing soul!

I will never forget Pattabhi Jois's visit to Sydney, Australia a number of years ago. What a bright light he was. Asanas that I thought were impossible for me to do were made possible by his encouragement and his "bad lady" remarks.
It was not difficult to get up early in the morning because you new he would be there. The master. At the end of the classes, the way he let everyone, no matter how many people, take his hand or hug him was so special. He has left so many wonderful memories and his gift to thousands.

I have studied with Pattabhi Jois in 1992 in India, and a couple times in the United States. His heart and soul were warm and sweet, and he had a beautiful lightness about him. I will miss him dearly, It made me giggle when I would hear him blurt out to students, "bad lady" and the infamous quote "all is coming". I will miss you my lovely guru!!!

A yoga giant like Iyengar. Humble beginnings, spiritual to the core, he remained humble, simple and spiritual till the end despite all the fame and its appendages. Yogis like Jois only come once in several millennia.

Shri K Pattabhi Jois, a true guru has left the world a beautiful practice. I never met him but on those days when I feel like there isn't enough time for a practice his words "practice practice practice" go through my head. Many oms AC

I met Guruji for the first time in 1998 and I was so happy to find such a person like Sri K. Pattabhi Jois! So kind, so sweet, so strong! He was also so kind to let me make a long video of him while teaching in his old Yoga Shala, without asking anything for it, and without beeing disturbed by the camera.
That's was when I decided to dedicate myself to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
I met him again in 2005 and I was one more convinced of my choice. I was so lucky to have the possibility to know him, practice with him and to love him. And all those experiences will remain for ever in my heart! Thank you, Guruji
Giuliano Vecchie' (Italy)

i am sad to hear the passing away of shri k pattabhi jois ,i have recently started taking up yoga and i now apriciate how dedicated he must have been in his life doing yoga ,may he be at peace, ohm shanti.

My first ever yoga class was ashtanga. This changed the whole path of my life. For this and much more I will forever be grateful. X

Our sad condolences on the passing of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Chairperson and members of the BKS Iyengar Yoga Institute of Southern Africa.

Thanks for everything Guruji, your lovely smile will be missed but rests in our memories, Bea

From Brasil - Good Travel!

The Light has started its way to where it belongs! But He will guide my way in silence and wisdom!

I will miss him, yet the knowledge that he's around inspires my practice as it has always done.

Om shanti !

Guruji's contribution was immense in the field of life.I am an indirect student of his blessings and i bow down at the dust of his feet even though he will always be in our soul.He held nothing back and was always sharing his wisdom with all of us.

May his soul be forever with us in our lives practice and prayers.

First of all I'd like to pay my deepest respects to the family of Guruji and to all the people whose lives were touched by this amazing man's wisdom and life's work. I am a yoga instructor in Saudi Arabia who had not the opportunity to have met Guruji yet his words and wisdom have somehow found me in this much removed culture. Those of us who continue to be inspired by the path of yoga will forever be indebted to Sri K. Pattahbi Jois.

Namaste,

Suzette Garza

many years ago guruji (SKPJ) says to me
"you practice, you happy"
everyday i practice, every day i am happy
thank you guruji!

Pattabhi's prescient knowledge of exactly when I would be in Karnipidasana while being upstairs in his original practice room in his house was uncanny. He knew EXACTLY when to come upstairs to sit on me! How he managed this continues to amaze me to this day. He would sit with all of his rather extensive weight. Kind, gentle, and fierce all at the same time.

I only took one class from Pattahbi Jois, but during that class I learned to slow down my practice and savor each pose without rushing through. I still remember his gentle approach to this challenging tradition of Yoga. What a kind and dear soul!

His teachings helped me to find the energy to care for my two small and active boys and to engoy thier energy and appreciate thier vitlity.
thank-you, namaste.

In Loving Memory of Shri K. Pittabhi Jois, Fatherof AshtangaYoga

(Image a super nova tracer from the Hubble website heritage.stsci.edu/gallery/wallpaper/index.html)

In 1992 while traveling, working and studying in Nepal and India, I tripped on one of Shri K. Pittabhi Jois' long-time students and Ashtanga teacher, John Scott. I watched his practice every the morning at the hotel I was staying at on the southern tip of Kerala, and said to myself, never having done yoga, that I would never be doing yoga. The grace, strength and flow I most certainly saw in John, I most certainly did not see in myself.

However, the charmed (likely thanks to Guru-ji) city of Mysore kept drawing me back from the coast. The third time there, I surrendered myself to go and meet John's Guru...just meet. The next thing I knew, as a brand new beginner, I embarked on what would be a sixty day intensive study with the living father of the Ashtanga lineage. In those days there were no more than 10 or 12 students in the room at a time, a small studio in his house. He told me to go to the local jail, a right of passage in itself I felt, to purchase myself a woven yoga mat.

My first practice was about five minutes of Sun Salute A - that was all my out-of-shape body could take after a decade of adolescent self-abuse. He spoke very little english so all his instructions were hands on. My body never forgot the poses into which he would contort my body, and that was long before my body was ready to do it on its own. In fact, I cried every day for the first month, as I watched the cells let go of memories I had no idea were there, present and past lives contained. He would prepare to put me in Marychyaasan, for example, and took to saying in his limited english, "now don't cry." Projecting on to him the emotional difficulties I was having, I felt like he was beating me up every day, squished into that sweaty little room.

Something like the infinite love of the Guru I could not yet identify kept me showing up day after day. And I woke up one morning after the first month with a new realization - that perhaps it was me being rough with myself, beating my own self up in the form of Guru. That day, and from then on, the practice was very different - even, focussed and so much more gentle! I added a daily meditation practice to my second month in Pittabhi's care, and started to feel like a million dollars. Thanks to this Light Being, and many other teachers to come as well, my life has unfolded as a yoga teacher, kirtan singer and devotee of Life itself, who can be kind and loving with the practice of yoga. Thank you Guru-ji for your life so brightly lived.
Posted by Beth Martens at 9:29 AM 0 comments Links to this post
Labels: Life so brightly lived

So sad to hear the news, but joyful to have known him, if only for a brief week in 2002 in San Francisco. The time spent with Guruji is in my heart forever. It was amazing being in his presence and learning from him. Every time I go into headstand I think of him. He has been an inspiration to my practice every day since. Thank you for being such an amazing and memorable part of my yoga journey.

I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to practice with Guruji. After I attended his 2006 workshop in San Francisco, he looked at me very intently and asked "When are you going to Mysore?" Before I even thought it through, I blurted out "This year."

As soon as I said it, I thought, "What? You can't afford to go this year. Better to save up now and go next year, or the year after..." But every once in a while, we make a statement right from the heart that is imbued with enough conviction and energy to create the reality we truly want. "This year" was one of those statements. Three months later, I was living in an apartment in Mysore and was practicing daily with Saraswati. What a gift and a blessing!

I am so grateful for Guruji's wisdom and for the light that he shone into my life. I will be forever grateful to him for the way he transformed my practice from the very first time that I practiced with him and for restoring in me the belief that I can manifest things that I never thought possible. I will honor him in my practice and in my teaching always.

I send love and light to all those whose lives have been touched by Guruji, and send light and love to him as well to accompany his soul on its journey.

It was 6am and David (Roche), my teacher came in as per usual to do the opening prayer for our practice and he announced that Garuji had passed the previous day. That was certainly a very sad moment.
This man leaves a huge legacy of which I am so deeply grateful. I love the Ashtanga series and plan to continue on this journey for the rest of this life and into the next. Forever in Grace rest in peace Garuji.

Namaste Angela

I took a workshop with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 2002 in London. There were over a 100 of us, in a beautiful room. He will walk around and help us align. And then the time for headstands came. I was terrified, because I would always do them with a wall behind me, and here I was in the middle of the room. I pretended that I was trying, but I had no intention to raise my legs. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois stood next to me and said "Up!". I answered "I can't". And he said really loud "up! Up! Up", and there I was doing a perfect headstand in the middle of the room!
I leanred that the barriers to my practice and my life are really only in my head. It gave me so much freedom. And when I think I can't do something, I just remember "up,up,up!"

I never had the chance to meet Sri Pattabhi Jois personnaly but I did meet him through his teachings .
He makes us recognize that our body has unlimited possibilities, practiced through asanas and thus uplifting our conscience to the higher self ..
Thank u Sri Pattabhi for all this intense knowledge ! May your soul rest in peace..

Dear Pattabhi Jois
Thanks for the practice and the profound love you have given the the world. We will miss you a lot

It is thanks to this very special man that we are who we are today. Thank you Guruji for this wonderful gift of yoga! In your memory, we will continue to practice and teach, therefore, keeping your presence alive.
With love & gratitude,
Gerald Disse & Linda Munro

I only met Pattabhi Jois once. I had only been practicing Ashtanga yoga for a few months and I was completely absorbed in beauty of the asanas, the growing strength of my body and was building a daily mysore style practice. I attended one of his beginner led sessions at the Puck Building in NYC , May 2005. A gorgeous morning! Sun streaming through the windows. The advanced class had just wrapped up, I was marveling at the endless stream of beautiful yogis pausing to pay their respects. I was a big envious, hopeful that someday I would be that advanced. When we started the beginning class, it was the first led class I had taken in a while and I realized that I was a little out of sync with his counting. When I finished a posture earlier than the others, he barked at me and made me slow down. Rather than being embarrassed I was grateful that he was such an attentive teacher that he noticed me! I was thrilled that I was yelled at by the master! It made me realize that although Ashtanga is very personal, there is nothing like being taught and guided by a great teacher. I met my next teacher--Christopher Hildebrandt--that day and he took my practice even further than I thought I could. I have had several great teachers since then--it's wonderful to have many teachers--but I will never forget that big day when I met Pattabhi Jois!

Hey! Awesome site! I will definatley be coming back in the near future =)

Me & my fellow classmates use your blogs as our reference materials. We look out for more interesting posts from your end about the same topic . Even the future updates about this topic would be of great help.

Great post. Parental Monitoring is a very helpful topic for parents trying to keep their kids safe. I find this to be a really fascinating topic and you put a new spin on it for me. Thanks! :)

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