“Ashtanga is 99% practice and 1% theory”
–Sri. K. Pattahbi Jois
Sri K. Pattahbi Jois – reverently called Guruji by his students – was born in July 1915 in India, the fifth of nine children. His father was an astrologer and priest. His mother tended the home and children. It was a typical Brahmin family.
Then Pattahbi Jois’ life changed forever in 1927 when he was 12. He was captivated by a lecture on Ashtanga yoga given by the revered T. Krishnamacharya.
The next day, he presented himself at Krishnamacharayas door, boldly asking to be his student. Skeptical at first, the teacher was won over by Pattahbi Jois’ persistence. Thus began their teacher-student relationship that would span two and a half decades.
Krishnamacharya instilled in Pattahbi Jois a powerful sense of the authenticity and purity of Ashtanga yoga. Every breath, every posture, every principle had to be done in the correct manner. Pattahbi Jois carried this forward into his own teaching.
After Krishnamacharya passed away, Pattahbi Jois became his worthy successor. By 1973, students from Europe and the US had begun to discover Pattahbi Jois. By the late 1990s, Westerners were flocking to India to study with him – many of whom became teachers themselves and popularized Ashtanga around the world.
Pattahbi Jois taught Ashtanga Yoga for 75 years, handing down his teachings to his grandson R. Sharath Jois. When Pattahbi Jois passed away in 2009, a month shy of his 94th birthday, he left a legacy of Certified teachers and thousands of dedicated students who are keeping the Ashtanga tradition alive.