≡ Menu
YogaDork

NY Magazine: Why Pattabhi Jois Was the Real ‘American’ Yogi

in YD News, Yoga Heroes

guruji-memorial-portraitThis week’s issue of New York Magazine recognizes the life, and primarily the legacy of Sri K Pattabhi Jois, in his success in helping to lead yoga, “the once-exotic discipline” to “nearly as mainstream as jogging” in the US.

It’s an interesting take on why Jois, and Ashtanga in particular, hit a groove with the Type A hotbodied Americans:

“…the peculiar accord between Ashtanga and American values: sweat-based spirituality for a nation of self-actualizing multitaskers. Exercise with higher purpose.”

And of course we can all point to the blowing up of all sorts of mutations in the genres of “power,” Vinyasa, and “flow” seen in a multitude of gyms and studios, all stemming from Ashtanga.

It’s true, the legacy of Pattabhi Jois will live on a bit differently in the West, but we’ll all remember him as the charismatic Guruji encouraging us to practice practice practice. In the end, that’s all anyone needs to know, isn’t it.

The article closes with a nice quote from Jivamukti’s David Life, a student of Jois:

“He was not a monk or a renunciate; he was fearless about combining the path of yogi with the path of participant. He never saw it as separate from our lives. He thought that anyone could attain to yoga if they had the desire and the enthusiasm.”

“How very American of him,” adds the article’s author. We guess that does sound sort of akin to the American way…? “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” often comes with “blood, sweat and tears.” And practice.

“Life is only two minutes long: one minute you are born, the next minute, you die. In between, only a flash of lightening….” Sri K Pattabhi Jois

Saluting yoga entrepreneur Jois [NY Mag]

Earlier…In Memorium: Paying Tribute to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

2 comments… add one

  • Yogini

    You got me. No type A, myself. If it didn’t have much (and unapologetic) spirituality involved with it, any ashtanga derivative would be personally kicked to the curb. That means a few remaining styles are tolerable – maybe Jivamukti, Anusara flows, dynamic hatha regimens – and all the little derivatives of those.

  • Ashtangi

    “…the peculiar accord between Ashtanga and American values: sweat-based spirituality for a nation of self-actualizing multitaskers. Exercise with higher purpose.”

    -Man what is this supposed to mean?? Can you keep it real please?

    “How very American of him,” adds the article’s author. We guess that does sound sort of akin to the American way…? “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” often comes with “blood, sweat and tears.” And practice.

    –Again! Please STOP!!

Leave a Comment