It’s worth checking out this letter to Eddie Stern from Guruji in 1990

I know we typically avoid passing on things that are filling up the social media feeds, but this one is too good not to archive here.

According to the comment I saw from Sharmila Mahesh, she wrote it on behalf of Pattabhi Jois:

Originally posted on Eddie’s Instagram feed.

Posted by Steve

‘Guruji lives here’ video is now live

Here is the video that will be shown tonight at the Yoga Workshop. Chances are you’ll see one of your favorite gurus in it.

Worth breaking our new Moondays off plan. (We called the full, blue moon at about 3:45 a.m. Pacific time.)

We’re about three weeks off from finally getting a lot of time with our guru.

Thanks to those who took the time to put the video together. And find more at the website.

Posted by Steve

‘The greatest gift I ever received was the blessing of my Guru’

With tomorrow’s being Guru Purnima, you’d have been right to expect Tim Miller to recall Pattabhi Jois on his blog this week:

It was my good fortune to meet Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, better known as Guruji, in Encinitas 37 years ago.  In addition to teaching Mysore style classes six days a week for three months at the old church in Encinitas, Guruji also generously agreed to teach yoga theory classes at his son Manju’s house three nights a week. At that time Guruji’s command of English was limited, so much of the talk would be in his native Kannada, interspersed with lengthy chants from the scriptures in Sanskrit.  He would go on at great length regarding the given subject, sometimes laughing and occasionally moved to tears, then turn to Manju and ask him to translate.  Manju would then provide us with a very brief synopsis of what his father had said.  I couldn’t help but think that we were losing a lot in translation.

Read it all at the link, if you haven’t already.

Posted by Steve

Yoga Journal calls it: Pattabhi Jois among ‘master influencers’

When we posted the interview last week in Yoga Journal with Maty Ezraty, we didn’t mention it was part of the magazine’s 40th anniversary.

And that one’s official. Yoga may be 5,000 years or old 500 or 100, but we know for sure that YJ is 40.

As part of its celebration of its hitting the big 4-0, it has posted a list of 14 pioneers of “Western Yoga,” people without whom our practice today “wouldn’t exist.” And Pattabhi Jois, no surprise, is among them:

Krishna Pattabhi Jois

(1915–2009)

Also a student of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, Jois visited the United States in 1975 and set off a wildfire of Ashtanga Yoga. After he was featured in 1967’s Yoga Self-Taught, Westerners flocked to his Ashtanga Yoga Institute in India.

Also on the list: Iyengar, Swami Visnhudevananda (guru to Robert Moses at Namarupa) and Thoreau.

Posted by Steve

Guruji lives here — celebrating Pattabhi Jois’ 100th birthday

I don’t have too much to tell you about this, other than to point you in a direction and say, “Stay tuned.”

But as you probably know, this month is the 100th birthday of Pattabhi Jois. And the Yoga Workshop is celebrating on July 31 with what it is describing as a “short film” commemorating his teachings as well as a discussion with Richard Freeman. Here’s from a post on its Facebook page:

Join us July 31st at the Yoga Workshop for the premier of a short film commemorating the teachings of Sri K Pattabhi Jois on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Arrive at 6:00, film at 6:30 followed by a short discussion with Richard and any Guruji stories folks would like to share. Everyone is welcome so bring a friend!

Perhaps curioser is that it links to this page: Guruji lives here.

Like I said, stay tuned for what’s to come.

Posted by Steve

Monday is the anniversary of Guruji’s passing

We’ve got one of those “pick ’em” Moon Days this week. For instance, Eddie Stern has it on Monday; here on the Best West Coast, Tim Miller has it Monday.

We’ll follow Tim, if only because he’s just down the 405/5 from us.

Doing so also means we can fill our morning with a different practice: Monday is the sixth anniversary of the passing of Pattabhi Jois, Guruji. We noted Tim’s remembrance in his blog last Tuesday.

As we did once before, here’s a link to the New York Times’ obituary:

Long before yoga studios sprang up in shopping centers and gyms across America and Europe, Mr. Jois began teaching yoga at the Sanskrit University of Mysore in the late 1930s, according to a biography on his Web site. He eventually opened his own school, the Ashtanga Yoga Institute, which has drawn students from around the world.

The son of a Brahmin priest and astrologer, Mr. Jois was inculcated in ancient Hindu teachings from an early age. He was first exposed to yoga when he was 12. He learned from Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a guru who also taught another famous Indian yogi,B.K.S. Iyengar.

And the main video that introduced him to a lot of people:

Jai Guruji, and thanks for sharing your teaching with so many.

Posted by Steve

‘I fell at his feet, sobbing like a child’

I feel like I’m on a bit of a broken record streak here when I say Tim Miller’s got a “must read” at his blog this week. But if you care about stories / memories of Guruji, it is:

The last time I saw Guruji was in May of 2008 when he came for the grand opening of the K. Pattabhi JoisYoga Shala in Isla Morada, Florida on Memorial Day weekend. I missed the first day of class due to family commitments, then flew the red-eye to Miami so I could participate in the final two days. After the two-hour drive from Miami, I arrived with 20 minutes to spare. There were 200 students lined up mat to mat.

Yes, I’m just giving you a teeny, tiny piece to encourage you to read it all. (You know I mean it when I link twice. And you know you want to understand the quote in the headline.)

Posted by Steve

The science of Ashtanga in the Kali Yuga

It’s been a while — nearly a year — but Guy Donahaye is back with a new blog post: Vijnana – The Science of Ashtanga Yoga in the Kali Yuga. It touches on Krishnamacharya, Guruji and Patanjali. A few excerpts to get you to check it out:

Krishnamacharya was a highly religious man, a member of the vaisnavara faith. He believed that in this age of Kali Yuga, the way to realization was only accessible through bhakti – religious devotion. He did not believe that people today were suited to the stages of non-attachment required for the higher levels of Patanjali Yoga.

This perspective, though maybe based on an accurate perception of early 20th century Indian society, was also heavily colored by his Vaishnavara faith. Krishnamacharya was many things but his primary interest was his devotion to god.

[snip]

Contrary to what Krishnamcharya believed, I think Guruji had great faith in the yoga system as a means to emancipation – at least that is what he taught. He drew on all available scriptural sources including those of Advaita Vedanta and believed that all the scriptures which speak about yoga constitute an integral whole.

Guruji was also religious, but the lineage of Shankaracharya to which he belongs is not quite so passionate in its religious devotion. While Krishnamacharya was an expert in quite a few different fields, Guruji was more exclusively concentrated on the yoga darshana and advaita vedanta.

[snip]

I believe it was one of Krishnamacharya’s great achievements to re-integrate two paths of yoga which had apparently split off from each other –  Patanjali Yoga and Hatha Yoga. But beyond this, the father of modern yoga leaves us with a meagre philosophical or spiritual legacy. Neither he nor his disciples – Guruji and BKS Iyengar put yoga on the map beyond its expression as asana and pranayama.

As a result there is a lot of unclarity about the path of yoga beyond these physical practices. Indeed, there is almost a fanaticism or obsession with the minutiae of these physical practices which is perhaps what causes blindness to anything beyond them. Today yoga has spread to millions of people around the world but where is the clear enunciation of its deeper meaning as a spiritual practice?

Must we just practice with faith and devotion or is there a guiding light which can help us find the way?

Guy’s thoughts on why asana came to dominate Guruji’s teachings are, in a word, really interesting. OK, in two words.

Check it all out.

Posted by Steve