Category Archives: In the Media

News stories about Ashtanga yoga

Reactions on Pattabhi Jois’ Death, 3 Days Later

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois died on Monday May 18 2009.

guruji-sittingThe official site announced a public memorial for the end of the month:

Students may come and give respects to Guruji’s soul on Sunday, May 31, 2009 in Mysore.

Beliefnet states:

The outpouring of affection and emotion in response to the passing of beloved yogi Sri K. Pattabhi Jois is deeply moving. Ashtanga studios areound the world are holding tributes: Jivamukti in New York is devoting a week of chanting to him; the Shala in Los Angeles is having a ceremony tonight at 6pm; and many individuals and teachers are dedicating their next practice to him.

At my local studio (in Mountain View, California), we are holding a 30 minute meditation every day before class this week at 6 am.

News of his death was found almost immediately on blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. The conversation on Twitter has now increased in pace, with more than 10 tweets an hour.

It took 3 days for the news to percolate to the mass media, but has now reached major media outlets such as the New York Times, UK’s Guardian, the Times of India, BBC News and more.

Here is a round up of the latest commentary on Guruji’s death:

Pattabhi Jois' death announced on the Guardian's front page

Pattabhi Jois' death announced on the Guardian's front page

Thousands of devotees of ashtanga yoga will perform their primary series with a heavy heart today after learning of the death at 93 of the influential teacher in the movement, Krishna Pattabhi Jois. – The Guardian


Ashtanga Yoga to be Demonstration Sport in Beijing 2008 Olympics

With 500 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, we’ve just learned that Ashtanga Yoga was chosen to become a demonstration sport at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, joining BMX cycling!


pictogram representing yoga at the 2008 Olympics

Yoga has been considered for a long time, but due to its non-competitive nature it had never made it before. The organisers feel that with the inherent implicit competition present in Ashtanga Yoga, it was not too much of a stretch to include it as a sport. Rajashree Choudhury, who organized yoga competitions in the past, estimated that India has held yoga pose competitions for about 100 years, and recent contests have sprouted up in Brazil and Japan. Says a famous teacher who wished to remain anonymous:

Finally it will make it more acceptable to openly ask “what posture are you at?”

Another hurdle faced by the Olympic committee was which style of yoga to choose, since there are hundreds in existence.

“We felt Ashtanga was a natural choice, with its predetermined sequence and various series of practice. Iyengar was too slow for TV, Bikram yoga too revealing, Anusara yoga too touchy-feely, and Vinyasa, well, too free-form” said an official.


Beijing 2008

The event will be structured similarly to the decathlon. There will be 6 different rounds held for men and women, each representing a series in Ashtanga. Competitors who make it past the first round of the Primary Series will then compete in the Second Series round and so forth. “We think that Sharath will win because he is the only one in the world who knows the sixth series” said an old-timer, “but that should not make it any less interesting.”

Judging will be similar to gymnastics, with yogis and yoginis evaluated on various aspects of their practice: depth of breath, bandha and dristi control, levels of sweat and flexibility. There was even a call to have an artistic interpretation score but it was rejected by the traditionalist faction of the Olympic committee.

Prana and Nike are already vying to be the official suppliers of the competitors’ shorts.

We cannot wait until August 8 2008 at 8:08 and 8 seconds!