Parampara is the line of tradition from which knowledge is passed from teacher to student. Knowledge based on direct and practical experience can only be passed on if the student has spent many years studying with his/her teacher. Yoga is an empirical science. Its wisdom is based on the experience of the ancient masters and does not require a certificate.
T. Krishnamacharya was born on the 18. November 1888 in Muchukundapura, Karnataka. He was a scholar in Sanskrit and Aryurveda, yoga teacher and healer.
At the age of 28 years he travelled more than 200 miles on foot to mount Kailash in the Himalayas, Western Tibet, to study yoga with the legendary Yogeshwara Rama Mohan Brahmachari. He stayed for seven years. He then returned to South India to fulfill his promise to his master Brahmachari to start a family and teach yoga. Eventually, he founded his yoga shala at the palace of the Maharajah of Mysore. His students included Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar, T.K.V. Desikachar, A.G. Mohan and Indra Devi.
Krishnamacharya is considered to be one of the most outstanding yoga teachers of the 20th century. He is has been attributed with the revival of hatha yoga and is often described as the "father of modern yoga“. He believed that yoga is India‘s greatest gift to mankind and that it should be for everyone. Krishnamacharya was the first yoga teacher to accept women, children and foreign students.
Regardless of whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the precise alignments of B.K.S Iyengar, the classical poses of Indra Devi or the customised vinyasas of Viniyoga, all these yoga methods have the same source: a 5ft 2inch Brahmin from a small village in South India. Krishnamacharya passed away in February 1989 at the age of 101 years.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was born on 26 July 1915 in Kowshika near Mysore. At the age of 12, he saw a public yoga demonstration of Krishnamacharya which fascinated him so much that he decided to dedicate his life to yoga. He became one of Krishnamacharyas long-term students and studied with him until 1945.
His dedication to yoga inspired him to practice asana everyday and to study Sanskrit Sahitya Veda Vedanta at Maharaja Sanskrit College in Mysore. This enabled him to read the original texts of Pantajali Yogadarshana, Hathayoga Pradeepika, Gerandasamhita, Suutasamhlta and Yogayagnavalkya.
He graduated in Vidwan and was professor and head of the Yoga Department at the Maharaja Sanskrit College in Mysore. He was honoured with the title of Yogasana Visharada and was honorary yoga-professor at the Government College of Indian Medicine. In 1948 he founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore with the aim to practice and experience the healing effects of the yoga as described in the ancient texts.
In 1964, Pattabhi Jois accepted his first western student, Andrè Van Lysebeth. Later in the 70s and 80s, more western students came. Over many years, these students made the then arduous trip to India to study Ashtanga Yoga with Pattabhi Jois. They are today’s teachers of the first generation, the Senior Teachers.
We are grateful to Pattabhi Jois and his Senior Teachers for spreading Ashtanga Yoga throughout the world. Guruji, as Pattabhi Jois was affectionately called by his students, died in May 2009 at the age of 93 years. His shala in Mysore is currently run by his grandson, Sharath.