Sri Krishnamacharya was born in 1888 and lived to be a 101 years old, finally leaving his body in 1989. He is credited with being the grandfather of modern yoga as we know it; instructing his son T.K.V Desikachar, B.K.S Iyengar, and Pattabhi Jois, the three teachers credited with bringing yoga to the west. A great Sanskrit and ayurvedic scholar, he had already achieved a great deal of success and notoriety by the time he decided to seek out the hermetic Yogi Ramamohan Brahmacharya then living in a remote cave with his wife and family in Tibet.
Having made a long and arduous journey over 5 months on foot across the Himalayas from India to meet this man he stayed for 7 years and was instructed in a number of texts including the now legendary Yoga Korunta which it is said Rama Mohan Brahmacharya had in his posession at that time. In this ancient scripture of uncertain origin (many claim authorship to Vamana Rishi) he found the details of the current ashtanga method of systematised postures and breath counts.
Asking how to repay him, the Guru told him to go back to India, start a family and teach yoga; which he did, settling in Mysore in 1924 after being given a wing of the Maharaja’s Palace as a yoga shala in exchange for curing he ailing Maharaja.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the father of Ashtanga Yoga as we know it, was born on the full moon of Guru Purnima 1915 in a small village in Southern India called Kowshika. He met his Guru, Sri Krishnamacharya at the age of 12 when the yogi gave a demonstration in the local facinity. Overawed with what he saw he immediately vowed to become a dedicated student and ran away from home to study with him at The Mysore Palace, where he was at that time teaching under the patronage of the Maharaja.
With very little money to his name the first years were hard for Pattabhi Jois; frequently he hadn’t even enough money to feed himself adequetely, but with his determination and commitment to the path of yoga he was soon supporting himself as an assistant in teaching to his Guru and due to his diligent scriptual studies, by 1937 he was also made a professor of Sanskrit at the Mysore University where he taught for over 30 years.
Finally passing in 2009 at the age of 93 he has handed over the mantle to the continuation of the teaching to his grandson, Sharath Rangaswamy and Saraswathi, Guruji’s daugher, Sharath’s mother.Unknown outside Mysore and the lowest earning professor at the college, it was not until the late 60’s when the first westerners started to turn up on his doorstep requesting instruction that he finally began to gain the recogntion and status that he deserved. It is an often neglected fact that by this time he had already been teaching yoga to the locals of Mysore for almost 40 years!
Sharath Jois was born to Saraswathi, Guruji’s daughter in 1971 and is now Director of the KPJAYI in Mysore. He began his yoga practice at the age of 7 whilst growing up in a family of practioners. In his teens he earned a diploma in electronics and during that time he realized that his place was to be teaching and learning from Guruji to one day take over the running of the shala.
Sharath is the only person that Guruji taught the full six series of the ashtanga practice to and he shares his devotion and dedication to teaching with students every day in the shala. He lives in Mysore with his wife Shruthi, daughter Shraddah and his son Sambhav.