Śri K. PattabhiJois(called Guruji by his students) was born during Full Moon, in July 1915. At the age of five, as most Brahmin boys, he started studies in Wed and Hindu rituals. At the age of twelve, he took part in a yoga show that inspired him to do research on this ancient practice. Staying under an immense influence of the previous day show, the next day, early in the morning, he went for a meeting with an extraordinary yogi, whose practice he admired – Sri T. Krishnamacharya, one of the most respected yogis of the twentieth century. After the talk with the boy, Krischnamacharya agreed to accept him as his disciple. During the next two years, being ambitious and wanting to incessantly broaden his knowledge on yoga, PattabhiJois practiced under the demanding eye of his master. At the age of fourteen, shortly after the sacred thread ceremony, after which a Brahmin boy becomes a man and begins his spiritual life, young Pattabhi runs away from home to begin learning Sanskrit in Sanskrit University, Mysore.
In 1932, taking part in a Yoga show at the university, he meets his former master, Krishnamacharya ,with which he will spend the next twenty five years learning yoga, giving shows, studying treatises about yoga, getting to know other traditions and yoga teaching styles. Five years kater he is ordered by Maharaja to begin teaching yoga in Sanskrit University, where he founds the first faculty of yoga and remains its director until his retirement in 1973.
In 1948, Guruji, wanting to devote himself to research on the healing aspects of yoga, founds Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in his two-room flat in Lakshmipuram. Multiple local doctors will send their patients to him to help in the treatment of diabetes, heart diseases, blood pressure problems and many other ailments.
Belgian Andre van Lysbeth was Guruji’s first disciple from the West, he practiced with him for two months in 1971. Shortly afterwards, he writes a book in which reference to Guruji appears, the one that unexpectedly raises enormous interest of other people in the West. During the next twenty years, the teaching of Guruji and Ashtanga Yoga method spreads around the world, and the number of students from the West practicing in Mysore is constantly growing. In 2002, because of the number of students coming from all around the world, Guruji opens a new shala on the suburbs of Mysore, in Gokulam. He dies after two years of a severe illness in may 2009 at the age of ninety three, leaving the Institute to his competent daughter Saraswati and his grandson Sharath.
Until today, both Saraswati and Sharath, educate the next adepts of Yoga in Śri K. PattabhiJoisAshtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), in Mysore. Thanks to the system of authorisation and certification they watch over the maintenance ofPattabhiJois teaching in an unchanged, pure form.
Saraswati, PattabhiJois’s daughter, born in 1941. She started practice yoga at the age of 10, she was the first woman to be admitted to Sanskrit College in Mysore, where she studies works about yoga. She assisted her father at the shala in Lakshmipuram from 1971 until 1974, to begin her own yoga teaching in Baljai Temple. Since 1984 she has taught both women and men at her home in Gokulam. Since 2002, when Guruji opened the shala in Gokulam, Saraswati begun teaching with her father again. She teaches subsequent generations of students in KPJAY until today.
Sharath, PattabhiJois’s grandson, was born in 1971. As he himself says, he began his conscious and seriously treated learning of yoga at the age of nineteen. Getting up every morning at 3:30 am, he went to his grandfather’s shala in Lakshmipuram to practice, and subsequently assist his Guru, PattabhiJois. He followed this routine of devotion for many years. Sharath is the only student of PattabhiJois, who finished all the six Ashtanga Yoga series.
Today, as a director of KPJAYI, he educates its next adepts and teachers.