Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

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Guruji is the father of Ashtanga was born on the full moon day of July 1915, Guru Purnima day.  His father was an astrologer and a priest, who acted as the pujari for many of the families in the village.  From an early age, as most brahmin boys, Pattabhi Jois was taught the Vedas and Hindu rituals.

When Guruji was 12 years old, he attended a yoga demonstration given by Sri T Krishnamacharya at his middle school in Hassan.  The next day, he went to meet the great yogi who had given the demonstration, and for the next two years, Guruji learned from his Guru every day.  When Guruji turned 14, he had his brahmin thread ceremony.  Krishnamacharya left Hassan to travel and teach, and Guruji left his village to go to Mysore.  In time, The Maharaja of Mysore, Krishna Rajendra Wodeyar, became the great patron of Krishnamacharya after he cured the Maharaja of his illness and built him a yogashala (school of yoga) on the grounds of the Palace Art Gallery.

From 1937 until 1973, Guruji earned his professorship at the University, granting him the title of Vidvan.

In 1948, Guruji established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute as a centre for the study and practice of Ashtanga yoga.  In 1958, Guruji began writing Yoga Mala.  It was published in India but took more than 40 years before it was published in the west.

Guruji’s yoga shala attracts thousands of foreign yoga students every year.  The west was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in the early 1960s when an European student spent two months with Guruji learning the primary and intermediate asanas of the Ashtanga Yoga system.  He returned to Europe and spread the word, marking the beginning of westerners coming to Mysore to study Ashtanga yoga.  Power yoga and vinyasa yoga are generic terms that may refer to any type of vigorous yoga exercise derived from Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.

Guruji married Savitramma, who came from a long line of Sanskrit scholars.  Her grandfather was the Sanskrit and philosophy teacher to the last Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati.  They had three children, Manju, Ramesh, and Saraswati.  Saraswati is the mother of Sharath, born in 1971, who is now Guruji's co-director of their school in Mysore.

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