Who is Pattabhi Jois?

Yoga, as a way of life and a philosophy, can be practiced by anyone with inclination to undertake it, for yoga belongs to humanity as a whole. It is not the property of any one group or any one individual, but can be followed by any and all, in any corner of the globe, regardless of class, creed or religion. – K. Pattabhi Jois

The founder of Ashtanga, Krishna Pattabhi Jois is a legend in the Yoga world. An expert in his practice, he created a global following and trained countless students and teachers alike in his version of the traditional ways of Indian yoga, becoming one of the most beloved guruji (teacher) in the history of yogi culture.

Jois’ teaching career started in the 1930s in Mysore, India – a historic center for the practice – where he eventually established the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in 1948. Leading up to his notoriety, Jois arrived in Mysore as a poor adolescent where he sought to study Sanskrit. Two years after his arrival, he was reunited with his original yoga teacher, Krishnamacharya. Hired by the Maharajah (king) of Mysore, India to run the palace yoga studio, Krishnamacharya’s students, including Jois, became yoga’s most influential gurus. (William J. Broad’s The Science of Yoga)

One of Jois’ most well known students is the founder of Rocket Yoga: Larry Schultz. Called the ‘Bad man of yoga’ by his own guruji. Schultz disagreed with Jois’ strictness in preventing a student’s progression into new asanas and sequences based on lack of perfection. Therefore, Schultz created his own version of practice now known as The Rocket. On the It’s Yoga International website, Larry’s wife describes Jois’ relationship with Larry:

Pattabhi Jois had predicted for him, “all is coming in 25 years.”  Pattabhi believed there were 3 kinds of students.  One, all is coming in 7 years – very good student, practices daily and is advanced.  Second, medium student, all is coming in 12 years.  And then he looked at Larry, and said, “That man is bad man.  All is coming for him in 25 years.”  Larry took it as a blessing, he said he knew if he kept practicing, he would receive all that was coming his way in 25 years.  – Marie Russel, It’s Yoga

On May 18th of 2009, K. Pattabhi Jois died at the age of 93 in his beloved Mysore, India. Each year we honor his dedication, guidance and passion for Ashtanga on this day. Every other day, we carry on his legacy by practicing with an open heart and intense love for the practice.


Join us at the Shala, explore the blog or shoot us an email with any questions you may have about the history of Ashtanga or life of K. Pattabhi Jois. Together, we will continue to be READY FOR TAKEOFF!


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