Manju Jois as ‘old school guru,’ selling nothing

The Vancouver Sun had a piece on Friday on Manju Jois, who was teaching at a yoga school nearby in Whistler.

A few excerpts:

In a world where selling yoga pants can make you very, very rich, 69-year-old Manju Pattabhi Jois hearkens back to “old school” gurus — those who choose their students rather than the other way round.

Any big city yoga franchise would blissfully welcome the world-travelling master of Ashtanga yoga, but he’s at a small studio in Whistler this week because its owner made an annual journey to his father’s school in Mysore, a city in southern India, for 15 years running.


Manju Jois has made his home in the U.S. since 1975 — in Southern California, of course — and has observed the explosion of yoga’s popularity over the decades.

What’s his take on it now?

“The tradition is missing,” Jois said in a telephone call from Whistler. “Everybody is starting their own style and that is going to destroy the real, traditional yoga. It’s becoming like a circus. My whole goal is to keep tradition, to teach people everything they want to know about yoga.”

That includes breathing exercises and chanting, not just the poses, said Jois.

“When people start practising that, they will get the full benefit of yoga. That’s how I learned from my father and that’s what I try to spread around the world.”

The piece includes a few mistakes about where the Jois Yoga studios are and features a handful or so quotes from Manju.

Perhaps obviously, I’d quibble with the idea of his being the last of traditional teachers — there’s still a lot of tradition going on, as we all know.

Posted by Steve


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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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