Ashtanga Yoga or the eight-limbed yoga, is one of the most sought after courses for yoga learners around the world. It has grown to be the most popular style of yoga; as soon as people realized its benefits in physical and mental well-being. Many yogis and yoginis come to India every year to learn the basic and advanced form of Ashtanga Yoga, pursue their career in yoga teaching, or master the skills from yoga teacher training school. Ashtanga Yoga changed the face of yoga. Today, it has become a source for self-awareness, mindfulness, flexibility, and relaxation.
Who gave birth to Ashtanga Yoga?
The Ashtanga yoga style was created by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, a student of Sri T Krishnamacharya and founder of Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, Mysore. Initially, the “eight limbs of yoga” was outlined by sage Patanjali in the sacred Yoga Sutras. Sadguru Patanjali always has an eye on developing the modern form of yoga from the classical yoga that can allow any yogi or yogini to create their kriya, depending upon the intention or what they want to create (know more here). K. Pattabhi Jois was heavily influenced by his teachings.
He codified and popularized the yoga sutras in a modern yoga form. He named it Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, after the eight limbs of yoga mentioned by Patanjali. According to him, practicing asanas with breath awareness leads to purification of the body, which enables the purification of the nervous system. He dedicated his life to propagating the meaning of Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga throughout the world. Ashtanga Yoga forms a set of guidelines for how to live a better life through yoga. Today, Ashtanga Yoga has become an excellent resource for self-awareness. Many schools offer Ashtanga yoga teacher training in India to shed some light on it.
About the Founder – K. Pattabhi Jois
Born in a Brahmin family of Kowshika, Karnataka; K. Pattabhi Jois has created a history in popularizing yoga learning all around the world. Also known as Guruji, he was born on the day of a full moon in Jul 1915. His father was an astrologer, priest, and landholder; his mother takes care of the house and his other siblings. From the age of five, he was instructed in Sanskrit and rituals by his father. Soon, he realized the importance of yoga in life and left home to embark on twenty-five years of study with his guru Krishnamacharya, when he was just twelve years old.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois took admission in Maharaja’s Sanskrit College of Mysore, at the age of fifteen. Since his first arrival in Mysore, he went through various financial difficulties. Due to his little knowledge of Yoga, he became a yoga teacher in the college in 1937. While being a teacher, he pursued his masters and received a vidyan degree in Vedanta from the same college in 1956. He studied texts such as Patanjali’s yoga sutras, Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā, Yoga Yajñavalkya, and the Upaniṣads. He continued them till 1973, he became a leading practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga yoga and then started his yoga institution in India.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute from his home in Laxmipuram, in the year 1948. Many influential yogis came to India to learn Jois style of yoga. Further, his teachings spread all around the world after he took a trip to the west. In 1974, an international yoga conference held in South America. There he was invited to deliver a speech on Yoga in Sanskrit. The following year Guruji traveled to California with his son Manju Jois, on a request from North American students. Since then, he went to different parts of the world to spread the teachings of Ashtanga Yoga to every enthusiastic learner. That’s why he is known as the bestower of Ashtanga Yoga to the west.
In 1988, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois founded the famous Laxmipuram Institute just outside of Mysore. In 2006, Pattabhi opened an American Ashtanga yoga school in Islamorada, Florida.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois passed away at the age of 93, in the year 2009. He left behind a legacy of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga for every yoga learner in India and other countries also. His work is commendable in itself. A yogi or novice should give Ashtanga yoga teacher training in India a try at least once. The practice will unfold the path to transformation!
You can also read – Rishikesh Vinyasa Yoga School – One of the Best Yoga Schools in Rishikesh, India