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This Too Shall Pass: Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Dead at 93

in World News, YD News, Yoga Heroes

Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois (July 26, 1915 – May 18, 2009)

All good things must pass. Nothing lasts forever. Of course. But there are still some things we like to take for granted, that we hope will never leave us. Today we, and yoga dorks all over the world, mourn the passing of modern Ashtanga Yoga founder, luminary and guide, Sri K Pattabhi Jois. We’d heard he was sick and wished him peace and health. But as if we needed another reminder of our own vulnerability to the power of the universe, Guruji took the next step in life and passed on at approximately 2:30am local time, reportedly in his home, in Mysore, India.

Words can not express our profound gratitude and respect for the man responsible in forging the path for Ashtanga, as well as (and especially for) helping expand yoga in the West. We send condolences and virtual compassion to his loved ones, and to all who loved him and were moved by his mission.

As it so happens, it seems our internets have been moved to silence in a show of solidarity. And so we blog from our phones, because troopers we are, dammit, and we sure as hell won’t give in without first saying our peace, and bittersweet goodbyes.

Those of us still with our feet planted on the living Earth, let’s rejoice in all Guruji has shared and let us practice with sincerest intention and remembrance.
We know our next sun salutations will be a little brighter, in honor of the light Guruji has shone. Namaste. Rest in peace.

Please share your memories, condolences, stories in the comments.

Further reading and remembrance: elephant journal
Great round up of responses at Ashtanga News

Follow the outpouring of messages and steady stream of news on Twitter

UPDATE: Even more thoughts

Earlier…Pattabhi Jois is Ill: Send Guruji the Very Best to Let Him Know You Care

Related…Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Dies at 91

12 comments… add one
  • tina

    Humbleasana: One week at conference (the weekly satsang wherein all the yoga students congregate in their Sunday finest to sit at his feet and hear him speak or respond to questions). I am in my usual front row and center.

    Addressing one of his long-time students: “What are Primary Series asanas?”. Kevin embarks on the postures that comprise the series in question, gets stuck towards the end. My brain and ego are screaming oooh, I know this one, how can he miss it, he ought to know better, I can easily- my thoughts are interrupted by a booming “YOU! What are Primary Series asanas?”.

    For some reason, the sixty or so students assembled (including a large handful of high profile longtime practitioners and teachers) are quiet. I glance around. They look at me, the newbie, expectantly. I look up to see him, blazing eyes on me. Unnnh, “Surya Namaskar A, Surya Namaskar B, … ?” “…?” And I’ll be damned if the very first asana evades me. I have done it a few thousand times. Where is it? His face is stern but his eyes are twinkling. “Paaaa…?.” “…?!?”. I try again. “Paaaa… daaaa…?” He is losing patience, I see him start to glance around the room, looking for his next victim. But wait! I am the yoga geek! I breathe the practice!! “Paaadaaaa aaangusht…?” I can see he’s about to summon someone else, as he challenges me. I am mortified, but determined. “padangushtasanapadahastasanautthittatrikonasanaA,B,utthittaparshvakonasanaA,B, prasarita….” I’m off, and I don’t pause to take a breath in until “Utth plutthi, take rest”. He is smiling. I am absolved.

    He demands Intermediate Series from a certified teacher, who stumbles just once, and so it went. That week, most afternoons, you’d catch the yoga students cramming, reciting the names of the poses we dance or wrestle with, every day like a mantra, in terror of being called on, next week’s conference.

    He didn’t talk about asana, that next week. None of us will forget the names of the shapes, anytime soon.

  • Although I’m not of the Astanga school of yoga, I appreciate the work of such a great yogi, full of compassion and love for all beings.

  • scott francis

    He was the main conduit by which this great school of yoga reached the West. He has made a wonderful and lasting contribution to the world; all of us who practice ashtanga yoga are grateful to him, as will be the generations to come. Namaste to a great soul.

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