This blog is essentially 'sleeping'.

I've deleted or returned to draft 80% of the blog, gone are most, if not all, of the videos I posted of Pattabhi Jois, gone are most of the posts regarding my own practice as well as most of my practice videos in YouTube, other than those linked to my Vinyasa Yoga Practice Book).

Mostly I've just retained the 'Research' posts, those relating to Krishnamacharya in particular.

Blog Comments are turned off, there are no "members" of this blog .

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - Resources

This is a work on progress, I've added it to the resource pages at the top of the blog, please feel free to add comment with suggestions for anything else you've found that you think should be included.


UPDATE-  December 2017

I'd originally added this update to the end of the articles below but it struck me that perhaps all that follows should be read in the context of these two posts. All but the very early photos ( I've left these as an historical record.) have been removed in response to the following quote.

"They can say what he did was unconscionable. They can take his photos down. They can stop referring to him as a wonderful and wise teacher. They could consider how that makes his victims feel".  - Karen Rain

From a blog post by Guy Donahaye - co editor (along with Eddie Stern) of GurujiReflection on Guruji - A portrait of Pattabhi Jois through the eyes of his students.

"Since his death, Guruji has been elevated to a position of sainthood. Part of this promotion has been due to the book of interviews I collected and published with Eddie Stern as "Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K Pattabhi Jois" which paints a positive picture of his life and avoids exploring the issues of injury and sexual assault. In emphasizing only positive stories it has done more to cement the idea that he was a perfect yogi, which he clearly was not. 

By burnishing his image, we make it unassailable - it makes us doubt the testimony of those he abused. This causes further harm to those whose testimony we deny and to ourselves.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies to all victims who were harmed by Guruji or by his teachings as passed through his students for my part in cultivating this image of perfection that denies the suffering and healing of many. I would also like to apologize for taking so long to write this - it was not easy to do". 

And these follow up posts from Guy....

- See too, this article from Mary Taylor and Richard Freeman

"In fact, it is well documented that my own teacher, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, (whom I love dearly) had certain “adjustments” that he gave to female students that were sexually invasive and inappropriate...."

and a follow up piece

Note: I provide the link above for Karen's comments/response rather than for the writer of the articles treatment of those comments. See too Karen's discussion with Jan Peters (12/12/17) on the later's recent public post.

See too this more recent statement from Karen Rain

Also, the best article I've read on this thus far

Panic and Emptiness - Ashtanga yoga Northampton

and this


Update Jan 2018
I hear this week that Sharath has addressed the issue in conference at least in Mysore, indicating that his Grandfather, Pattabhi Jois, acted wrongly and that there was an obligation to speak out. As yet there are no more details or an official statement.


NOTE: It's important to remember that Pattabhi Jois didn't 'invent' Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Jois insisted he was only passing along what he had learned from his teacher T. Krishnamacharya. Jois wasn't just being modest, Pattabhi Jois' book, Yoga Mala, is a simplification of Krishnamacharya own book, Yoga Makaranda ( Mysore 1934) and it's asana descriptions. Jois places the asana in Yoga Mala in virtually the same order as his teacher Krishnamacharya placed them in the table of asana in his second book Yogasanagalu (Mysore 1941). 

The accusations of sexual assult (“fondling and unwanted sexual touching”) by Pattabhi Jois of his students in the above articles do not I believe call into question the practice itself but rather the man (assuming such touching no longer plays any part in the teaching of the practice in any way whatsoever).

That said, we would not have this practice if Pattabhi Jois hadn't passed a simplified presentation of his teachers work alongwith such generosity, to all who came seeking it.

Update 2 - Feb. 2018

Note: On whether Sharath should apologies for his grandfather's behaviour? 

It strikes me as more the case that the KPJAYI, as an organization, should acknowledge publicly (on their website rather than relatively privately in a conference ) that Pattabhi Jois acted wrongly, inexcusably, and apologise to those harmed on his behalf rather than treat him as an enlightened yogi every guru purnima, which he clearly wasn't. My understanding is that Sharath and Saraswati were aware of Pattabhi Jois' behaviour  (this then is coming as no shock, no surprise), and while they are said to have tried to stop it, ultimately they effectively allowed the behaviour to continue. If Sharath reserves the right to authorise as well as removed authorised and certified teachers from the KPJAYI list based on his perception of whether these teachers are faithful to the practice and values promoted by the KPJAYI he should surely begin by addressing the actions of it's founder.

I find myself strongly conflicted regarding this page following the allegations of sexual assault levelled against Pattabhi Jois.  Conflicted because on the one hand I'm strongly inclined towards deleting the whole page, the videos and photos especially,  but on the other, given the denial that still remains in the community there is the hope that while many will still seek out material on Pattabhi Jois, in coming here they/you will read the above. Perhaps at first you will just ignore the links, later read one or two but at some point read you may read them all.

All that follows should perhaps be read in the above context.



Slideshow from Anthony Gary Lopedota's Ashtanga Yoga Therapy site

Graeme Northfield Gallery

KPJYI Gallery



Misc, Photos


Wisdom of the Masters YJ June1995

An Interview with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

"Its important for beginning students to start gradually. Begin
with Suryanamaskar, a prayer to the sun god. This
helps develop the correct breathing method and a
focused mind. Practise this for one week and then add
Suryanamaskar B. Practise both of these for another week, then
begin adding standing postures. One day add
Padangustasana, next day also include Padahastasana, day after
that include Trikonasana (for beginners, Trikonasana B
-- twisting -- is best left out). This is the
method. Gradually , one by one, as you are able, add the
postures from the primary series. In this way after the
third week you might begin to practise the sitting
postures. Go Slowly, no problem. Following this same method,
all the students -- all the beginners also -- will be
happy. Taking practise is good. Looking at pictures and
learning from books, practising without a teacher, is
dangerous. If you want to practise yoga, find a guru. Follow
your guru's instructions, and you will be happy with
good health and a good nature. This is very fine. That
is tue. Find a guru with practical experience." Pattabhi Jois
"Wisdom of the Masters" article from Yoga Journal
May/June 1995

Interviews from Guy Donahaye's Ashtanga Yoga Sangha 1991-1999

"These transcripts are a record of public talks given by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in France in August 1991. The questions were asked by Jean Claude Garnier and written down by Gilles Kerviche. Guruji's English is hard to follow at times so I have made some very minor edits to the text and included explanations in parentheses.

These records form part of a larger collection of of questions and answers to Guruji over several years published in French as "Entretiens avec Guruji" (51 pages) and it can be obtained from Jean Claude Garnier for 20 € + mailing costs" Guy Donahaye


INTERVIEWS with Pattabhi Jois' early students.

please feel free to

Guy Donahaye along with Eddie Stern where behind the book Guruji (see below) which brings together interviews with many of Pattabhi Jois' early students.

from Mind Medicine

from Ashtanga yoga Shala NYC


Eddie Stern, Dena Kingsberg, Tim Miller, Nancy Gilgoff, and David Swenson share how and when they met Guruji (Pattabhi Jois).


Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Yoga Mala by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:

This seminal treatise on Ashtanga Yoga by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois – with its plethora of details on the Primary Series and thorough account of yoga philosophy & spirituality – will bring invaluable clarity to your understanding and practice of Ashtanga Yoga.

Yoga Mala was first published in Jois’ native language, Kannada, in 1962, and then into English in 1999. Jois holds the titles Yogasana Visharada (expert in yoga asana) and Vedanta Vidvan (professor of vedanta philosophy).
read an excerpt of Yoga Mala via 
ISBN-10: 0865476624 & ISBN-13: 978-0865476622

Surya Namaskara by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

Surya Namaskara by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:

The Surya Namaskara form the foundation for the entire method of the practice of yoga… So, if the Surya Namaskara are first learned properly and their inner meaning grasped, then all the various asanas, pranayamas and the like that follow them will be useful and beneficial in their outcomes.
In creating this small booklet, it is Pattabhi Jois’ wish that all practitioners who undertake the practice of Surya Namaskara do so with a proper understanding of their inner significance and of their practical method, so that health, clarity of mind and spiritual elevation may be achieved.
read an excerpt via

Guruji a Portrait of Sri K Pattabhi Jois

Guruji a Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois:

An incredibly valuable book on Yoga and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois: This is a collection of 27 extensive interviews with Guruji’s closest and most advanced students. It is filled with such deep and varying insights revealing the incredible depth, love, knowledge and humour of our beloved Guruji’s yogivally house-holder life.

purchase via 
ISBN-10: 0865477493 & ISBN-13: 978-0865477490


The 'Original' Ashtanga yoga Syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams by Sri K Pattabhi Jois in 1974 Mysore

"In fact, David and I had no idea that there were two separate series until the end of that first four-month trip, when we were leaving, at which point Guruji gave us a sheet of paper with a list of the postures, which were listed as Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, and Advanced B. At this point he told us to practice one series a day, and only once a day".
 from Ashtanga Yoga as it was (The long and the short of it )  Nancy Gilgoff

many thanks to Anon for passing it along and especially to Nancy for giving permission to post it this morning and share with the community at large.

Available as pfd download from googledocs


Pattabhi Jois' READING LIST from from the 'original' Ashtanga diploma syllabus list given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams in 1974

I was looking at the original Ashtanga (diploma) syllabus given to Nancy Gilgoff and David Williams in 1974 yesterday (I have a poster of it in my practice room) and focussed in on the theory section mentioned at the end of each year, it makes up an interesting reading list. the original post on the syllabus including the full syllabus can be found at the end of the post.

As far as I can tell the Serial Samakritha Shikshaka mentioned in the first and 2nd year seems to be a Sanskrit course

Here's the reading list and below that the same list with links to editions either free pdf an/or perhaps on Amazon.

1st year

Serial Samakritha Shikshaka Part I, II and III
Yoga Mala part I

2nd year

Serial Samakritha Part IV, V, VI
Hatha yoga pradipka

3rd year

Gheranda Samhita
Yoga Tharavalli
Yoga Yajnavalkya

4th year

(siva?) Sutra Samhita
Patanjali Yogasutras
Slimed Bhagavadgeeta 
(by Brahmanandagiri

We can see that Pattabhi Jois begins the course by introducing his students to Sanskrit in the first and 2nd year but also in the first year we see he includes the first part of his Book Yoga Mala, this section of his text outlines the Yama and Niyama, the moral guidelines of Patanjali's Ashtanga.
In the second and third year Pattabhi Jois covers the classic Hatha yoga texts, The hatha yoga pradipka in the second year, the Gheranda in the third and Siva Samihita in the fourth as well as Yogasanagalu in the third year from which much of the hatha material is said to be originally taken and is a full treatment of the Ashtanga 8 limb methodology. The fourth year gets deeper into yoga philosophy with the yoga upanishads the bhagavad gita and at last Patanjali's actual yoga sutras, perhaps following the sanskrit course in the first two years read in the original sanskrit. Adi Sankara's text Aparokahanubhuti is also included in the fourth year. Pattabhi Jois belonged to the Hoysala Brahmin caste, a subset of the popular Smarta Brahmins whose root teacher was Adi Shankara.

Ashtanga was always a spiritual practice, the classic yoga texts taught alongside the asana just as Krishnamacharya would lecture on yoga philosophy while his students presented their asana demonstrations. We lose focus perhaps when we approach our asana practice in isolation.

1st year

Serial Samakritha Shikshaka Part I, II and III

( learning Sanskrit see this online guide perhaps  )

or this recent Sanskrit course from Zoë Slatoff-Ponté who is also an Ashtanga teacher. I haven't seen a copy but have heard good things about it

Yoga Mala part I

Interesting that Yoga Mala gets mentioned in the list. Pattabhi Jois supposedly designed this course (or an earlier version of it ) in 1937 (?) at the request of the Maharaja of Mysore to teach a four year course at the Sanskrit college. Yoga Mala was originally written around 1954 indicating this is a later ediition of the syllabus.

Pattabhi Jois' original text, still the ONLY* Ashtanga vinyasa 'method' book you really need

2nd year

Serial Samakritha Part IV, V, VI

See the sanskrit course mentioned above ( anyone have any other suggestions for Sanskrit course that have worked for them?

Hatha yoga pradipka

A free pdf version of HYP HERE

3rd year

Gheranda Smith

Yoga Tharavalli

See this previous post on the text with the full 29 verses as well as links to other editions.

LINK to pdf on post

Yoga Yajnavalkya

Highly recommended by Krishnamacharya
I prefer this AG Mohan edition to the one from KYM

4th year

Sutra Samhita

Free PDF translation HERE

Aparokahanubhuti (self realization by Adi Sankara)
free PDF edition HERE

Patanjali Yogasutras

I'm currently recommending Edwin F. Bryant's excellent edition because it includes selections from the major commentarys

I also have a soft spot for Aranya's excellent commentary HERE

Also Swamiji's online edition, an excellent resource HERE

see below

Thirty Minor Upanishads

tr. by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar


Slimed Bhagavadgeeta 
(by Brahmanandagiri )

below a link to the respected Annie Besant edition recommended by Srivatsa Ramaswami, Krishnamacharya's student of 30+ years.

Free pdf LINK

*Surprising to me that Pattabhi Jois didn't include mention of his teacher KRISHNAMACHARYA'S books Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934) and Yogasanagalu (Mysore 1941) on which his own book and teaching was clearly based although Yoga Mala was dedicated to Krishnamacharya


See also perhaps this earlier post with links to texts in Krishnamachary's Yoga Makaranda bibliography

What did Krishnamacharya study with his Guru in Tibet- Yogacarya Krishnamacharya - The Purnacarya. Edited by Mala Srivatsan



A selection of old videos of Krishnamacharya and Pattabhi Jois
 post video suggestions in comments on this post

Krishanamacharya and Iyengar Ashtanga in 1938.
This is the classic Black and White documentary from 1938 that has Iyengar in his early Ashtanga phase giving a demo as well as Krishnamacharya's wife and children
See this post for screenshots of all the asana and mudras from the video

Krishnamacharya in colour 1938
From the same documentary above but just the Krishnamacharya sections
Se the link below to Screenshots of the asana and mudras Krishnamacharya demonstrates

Pattabhi Jois Teaching full Ashtanga Primary Series in Encinitas, CA 1982 (from Betamax) tape

Pattabhi Jois Teaching full Ashtanga Intermediate Series in Encinitas, CA 1982 (from Betamax tape)

Titled Ashtanga Yoga with Guruji Series 3 (1989)
from Maui - from the Sewell Archive.
led by Pattabhi jois and including Tim Miller, Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty and Richard Freeman
Advanced A - Ashtanga 3rd series and part of 4th

The complete Primary series 1993 from Yoga Works
Led by Pattabhi Jois and including Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Karen Haberman, Chuck Miller, Eddie Stern, Maty Ezraty

The complete Ashtanga Intermediate series 1993 from Yoga Works 
Led by Pattabhi Jois and including Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Karen Haberman, Chuck Miller, Eddie Stern, Maty Ezraty

Interview with Pattabhi Jois with subtitles (1983 maybe 1986), 'One Yoga One method,Yoga is Self-Knowledge'

Pattabhi Jois teaching Chuck Miller and Ray Rosenthal (demo 1983 maybe 1986)
Utthita hasta Padangusthasna and Ardha pada padmottanasana

Pattabhi Jois leading Sharath through a demonstration in Sydney (Yoga Moves)

Theory class  with Pattabhi Jois parts 1 and 2 
Filmed at Tim Miller's school in Encinitas, CA, 1987, October
Go to this channel on Youtube for the rest of this series of videos which includes Practitioners: Chuck Miller, Gary Lopedota, Clifford Sweatte and Tim Miller
Filmed at Tims school in Encinitas, CA, Oct1987.

Pattabhi Jois teaching Richard Freeman the Pranayama chant. 

Guruji Led Advanced A (with assists)
Pattabhi Jois aged 78. Tim, Eddie, Chuck, Dominic

Late interview with pattabhi Jois

Pattabhi Jois Assisting with drop backs - old Shala

Home video- Pattabhi Jois assisting sharath with Chakra bhandhasana

Pattabhi Jois Aged 87 on World Tour London 2002

Part of a series of Videos documenting a Full Led primary in France with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath.

The old Shala
Titled- A day in the life of a Yoga Student
 from the Tom Sewell archive Maui

Here's mention of that 10 second Inhalation/10 second exhalation again. (6:00)

48 Suryanamaskaras every day (7.00)

finishing sequence (11:30)

150 breaths in Shoulderstand (12.35)

also the three hour headstand and where to place the head or not

Pattabhi Jois Led Ashtanga Advanced series


Documentaries about Pattabhi Jois



"Pattabhi Jois’ philosophy was simple: yoga is experiential not theoretical. As those of us fortunate enough to study with him often heard him say “Yoga is 99 per cent practice and one per cent theory.” He believed that one should simply “Do your practice and all is coming.” Practice alone would quieten our “monkey minds” and allow us to progress along the path of yoga outlined by the great seers of the past. He was deeply committed to the Advaita Vedanta darsana (philosophy) of Sankaracharya. Pattabhi Jois’ other favourite saying came from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. “Sa tu dirgha-kala-nairantarya-satkarasevito drdha-bhumih” – yoga practice, to be successful, should be undertaken for a long time, without a pause, with an attitude of devotion.
When I remember Pattabhi Jois I will always remember his long-term commitment and devotion to his teaching, a teaching I will be eternally grateful to have received. Jois believed in the necessity of having a teacher or Guru who could show you the true depth of the yoga method, just as Krishnamachrya had taught him. Guruji was often saddened that people in the west were teaching what he considered to be his yoga method without ever studying with him. He felt that to be a teacher you first had to be a student and that to teach the Ashtanga Vinyasa method that he worked so hard to share you should study with him and learn from the source, thus keeping the guru parampara – the lineage of a guru passing on the teachings directly to the student. He believed that you could reliably pass on the Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga method only by showing him the type of dedication he demonstrated to his guru, Krishnamacharya". 
Charlie Taylor-Rugman
Memories of my Teacher Published in Yoga and Health Magazine
(this is my favourite, thank you to Rachel for passing it along)


“The photograph is literally an emanation of the referent. From a real body, which was there, proceed radiations which ultimately touch me, who am here; the duration of the transmission is insignificant; the photograph of the missing being, as Sontag says, will touch me like the delayed rays of a star.” 




Pattabhi Jois - Surya namaskara, 3rd and 7th vinyasa

Pattabhi Jois - Surya namaskara, 4th Vinyasa Chaturanga Dandasana
Pattabhi Jois - Surya namaskara, 5th vinyasa, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Pattabhi Jois - Surya namaskara, 6th Vinyasa, Adho Mukha Svanasana

Pattabhi Jois - 2nd Surya Namaskara  1st Vinyasa, Uttkatasana
Pattabhi Jois - 2nd Surya namaskara 7th Vinyasa Virabhadrasana
Pattabhi Jois - Ardha baddha Padma Paschimattanasana
Pattabhi Jois - Garbha Pindasana
Pattabhi Jois - Setu Bandhasana
Pattabhi Jois - Sarvangasana
Pattabhi Jois - Sirsasana
Pattabhi Jois - Baddha Padmasana


Pattabhi Jois - Mayurasana

Pattabhi Jois -  Vasisthasana
Pattabhi Jois - Visvamitrasana
Pattabhi Jois - Galavasana
Pattabhi Jois - Astavakrasana
Pattabhi Jois - Purna Matsyendrasana
Pattabhi Jois - Viranchyasana A
Pattabhi Jois - Viparita Salabhasana


Pattabhi Jois - Padma Mayurasana

Pattabhi Jois - Adhomukhavrkasana
Pattabhi Jois - Adhomukhavrkasana

Pattabhi Jois - Durvasana, Galavasana, Viranchyasana







In my posts this week I've been looking at Pattabhi Jois' early asana photos and speculating on what if anything they can perhaps tell us about Pattabhi Jois' own early practice.

In the first post I raise the suggestion that Pattabhi Jois himself may not have practiced the different Ashtanga series as series in the manner in which he taught them for that long a period.

In the second post I take a closer look at his early advanced asana postures and question if he ever practiced Advanced series asana daily as series

In the third post I ask if the above matters and conclude that it doesn't, that what was most important was the example of his teaching.

In this final post in the series I'm just going to post early photos of Pattabhi Jois in asana. I feel like I'm worrying a bone, that there is a truth here that I can't quite get a grip on.

Most of these pictures seem to have been taken in the early to mid 1940s, around the time that Pattabhi Jois seems to have first written out the Ashtanga Syllabus based on his teacher Krishnamacharya's asana table ( the demonstration and teaching photos being the exception, most likely from the early 50s, I include them because for me they display a dignity and the suggestion to me of a deep and profound practice).

It strikes me that there is such poise and facility in the Primary asana that is lacking in the advanced postures. I watch the demonstration by Pattabhi Jois' peer BKS Iynegar in 1938 ( see post 2.), just a couple of years before these photos are taken and am in awe of Iyengar's technique in his Advanced asana. 

How do we explain this when Pattabhi Jois practiced asana with Krishnamacharya for so many more years.

The only conclusion I come to is that Pattabhi Jois personally was perhaps never that concerned with Advanced asana, that he saw them mainly for demonstration as he was to tell his later students. I'm reminded of Pattabhi Jois's son Manju telling me that the memories he had of his father practicing was of long stays in asana, seeking to master them completely.

Why bother too much with Visvamitrasana when there is Samastithi to truly master, the key asana of Paschimattanasana, Maha mudra/Janu sirsasana, Mayurasana, Baddha Konasana, Sarvangasana, Sirsasana.....  Padmasana

.... let alone the other neglected limbs.


On Pattabhi jois and Inappropriate adjustments

It's a little saddening, depressing in fact, how quiet so many teachers and long term Ashtanga practitioners are being with regard to the latest revelations regarding Pattabhi Jois and his 'inappropriate adjustments' (abuse). Pictures and videos have been floating around for several years that may or may not have been photoshopped to some degree or at least taken out of context but Mary Taylor's article indicates that this was recurring, addictive, behaviour that Pattabhi Jois was aware he was committing and that he as well as his family tried but failed to stop on several occasions. 


Extended quotes below from


This post from Mary Taylor and Richard Freemen, while timely, feels long overdue. I was always hoping that somebody who was actually there would write about this, one reason I've held off on it for so long. After two thousand blog posts on Ashtanga I don't see how I can justify not sharing these articles.
Apologies for the long quotes but I think we need as much of the context as possible here. I recommend if anyone feels like commenting they do so on the actual articles linked to below, after reading them carefully, rather than on an fb feed.

"In fact, it is well documented that my own teacher, Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, (whom I love dearly) had certain “adjustments” that he gave to female students that were sexually invasive and inappropriate. One in particular that some have dismissed as an attempt to teach mula bandha was especially bad. I can say unequivocally that he never gave me that adjustment, but that I know he did give it to other women. I will also say that he did adjust me (and other students, both male and female) in Ubhaya Padangusthasana, elevating the student’s chest in such a way that with female students he had hands on their breasts.
These adjustments were sexually inappropriate and I wish he had never done them. On some level, I wish also that I had spoken publicly about them before now, but they were confusing and so much not in alignment with all of the other aspects of Pattabhi Jois that I knew, that I didn’t really know how to talk about them without disparaging the entire system. I can say that my experience was that he began doing these adjustments after foreign female students came to practice with him wearing very revealing Western-style clothing. To a provincial, orthodox Brahmin from a tiny village, who knows what these women looked like? Certainly they probably didn’t appear to be chaste or well bred. Around the same time, Western students stopped bowing to his feet in appreciation for class and instead began hugging and kissing him as a demonstration of gratitude. I am certain both of these things were mixed messages to him culturally.
Not to say that the scantily clad or overly effusive women were at fault for the sexually inappropriate adjustments. He was the teacher; even if he did misconstrue their message due to cultural differences, he should have seen through his own mind and through them. His behavior was wrong and it caused damage to many women, for which I, as one of his students, feel deep regret (as does Richard)."


But see too this Response from Karen Rain (Nee Haberman), one of the six in the famous Pattabhi jois Led Primary, who picks on something then made me too wince in Mary's article.

"Kudos to Mary Taylor for publicly acknowledging the corrupt adjustments of Pattabhi Jois and thus validating my claims and the claims of other women. It takes bravery, I’m sure.
However, if she truly doesn’t want to blame ‘scantily clad or overly effusive women,’ for his behavior, she really shouldn’t mention them in an apology. By doing so, it says that either on some level she accepts it as an excuse and does blame the women or is hoping that other people will accept it as excuse. After all it is a classic, easy to use excuse. It’s the one that the most people buy into. Plus, it takes the focus off of the behavior of the perpetrator, which is a relief when you don’t want to talk or think about it.
Taylor describes Jois’ behaviour as a “flaw”. Committing sexual assault is not a “flaw.” It is a heinous crime.
Often when people find out about someone committing sexual abuse/assault, they have trouble reconciling that with other experiences they have of the person. This is not unique to Pattabhi Jois at all. However, he was supposedly a Yoga master. He abused his power. His adjustments were egotistical and cruel. Sexual abuse and assault are cruel!
The master of ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ did not cultivate the yamas. His behaviour, and the negligence of any of his students who minimized, rationalized or justified it in the past (myself included) or continues to do so now, demonstrates significant flaws in Jois’ system, as well as the deep hypocrisy that the yoga world can harbour."


I hesitate to quote from this excellent article on the issue, context is everything, the quote/section below comes from around two thirds of the way in.

from Panic and Emptiness

"Should we shun the art because of the sometimes deeply flawed humans who create it?

I still don’t know the answer yet. It begs the question: How do we separate the man/monster from the art, or things of beauty, grace or meaning which extremely flawed men may have created or helped produce or share with the world? Can we even do that? And what if these flawed men are people that we love and revere, who have blessed us with learning, beauty and grace by their very presence in our lives? Is that possible to hold both feelings simultaneously - love tempered with deep anger and disappointment - and still help survivors find healing? A white haired old man now, and a grandfather, I am certain my abuser’s family and their community loves, respects and reveres him, and doesn’t suspect about his toxicity. If they do, I’m sure they don’t know how to handle their ambivalence about him, either. I hope he seeks their forgiveness.
I am really wrestling with this question right now, especially as an old, well-discussed story about the many transgressions of the Indian progenitor of the yoga that has been my life’s practice, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, has resurfaced these past few weeks. Jois died in 2009, but the story and the images arise on social media again every year or so. Recently, it’s been further whipped to a frenzy with some purposefully orchestrated Facebook “justice” - a mob mentality fomented by agenda-driven folks aligned with the American-based bureaucracy, the Yoga Alliance, who desire to destroy the Indian-based Ashtanga Yoga lineage, out of commodification, spite and most likely for self-aggrandizement and accolades. I suspect there is a hope that they can step into a power vacuum that might be created from its destruction or humiliation - and hence, loss of status, and money-paying yoga students. Always follow the money.
These folks are so hypocritical and manipulative, they sneeringly hurl the epithet of “cult” to incite anger and confusion amongst a community I've known for over two decades, that has sometimes felt a little dogmatic at times, but never has felt like a cult. (I stopped practicing Ashtanga for almost two years when I was injured by an IUD, and no one cared or came looking for me to "return.") What’s worse, they are actually using the stories of survivors, ostensibly to help their healing, but also to quietly further their own ends (see above) - a fact which disgusts me. More violence against women. Without belaboring the story, I’ve included a link, here in the words of one of his victims, that help explain how Pattabhi Jois behaved, and the attempts by his students and family at ending his behavior as well as the enabling that surrounded his behavior here.
Yes, it’s true, he touched people, men and women, on their genitals sometimes while adjusting them in asana. Some students were traumatized by this, some were not. Few who experienced it or saw it and knew it was wrong challenged him on it. Many enabled. This fact is deeply disappointing, but not criminal. Because, news flash, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months (or maybe if you’re a man, sorrynotsorry) we all now know that we live in a culture where pretty much everyone - every institution, workplace, family, and community - enables. To publicly humiliate enablers does nothing to help heal survivors. It’s just more abuse, albeit coming from a place that seems justified. It’s not.
I have seen nor heard of ANY evidence of actual collusion or aiding and abetting of the behavior - that is, “honeypotting” - in any of his family or students, and that’s encouraging. There is no excuse, however, in modern society to do the things he did. So, I am not excusing him. These grievous instances of a beloved, brilliant man’s deep flaws - of his own “panic and emptiness” and his refusal to change his behavior, his "relapses" - sadden, anger and upset me to this day. For this reason, I’ve chosen to remove his photo from Ashtanga Yoga Northampton, at least for now. It’s not respectful to his victims, nor is it healing having it up there, not only for myself, but for anyone of the students that practices with us who may also be sexual assault survivors, to see it every day.
Nevertheless, I believe in the inherent goodness of people, that they can rise above their flaws, rise above the panic and emptiness that haunts them to reveal the loving light of their true and essentially noblest being. Few things have convinced me more of this truth than Ashtanga Yoga. I love my Ashtanga sadhana; it has literally saved my life. I am dedicated to and believe wholly in the Ashtanga practice and what it has to offer the world - this beautiful eight-limbed practice to knowing who we are that Sri K. Pattabhi Jois shared lovingly - yes, lovingly and compassionately - with my teachers, and which they lovingly and compassionately shared with me. I practice it and teach it with reverence - not for the man who shared it with us, but for the students. It is a brilliant and wise system that has brought me great solace and beauty, and through it, I hope to continue to serve those who wish to find some solace and beauty in their lives to, too.
Finally, what can be done to help heal both the survivors and the shaken Ashtanga community".......see the article for more.



"A few days into the Ashthanga workshop with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in the Puck Building, with four hundred or so students curled up into halasana, I was suddenly groped by the guru.

In absolute shock, I rolled to sitting and found found myself staring across the room at Sharath, Jois’s grandson, who stared back looking just as horrified as I felt.

Pattabhi Jois remonstrated: “Bad lady!” and I heard the mild laughter of the crowd at the guru’s old joke. In disbelief, I crouched to find his eyes. He smiled as if he had no idea what had  transpired, and said:

“You no come out of pose.”

I sensed that if I were to respond in public, he would have experienced the humiliation he'd just made me feel. He would be angry, send me off. I thought I might be banned from my community that had come to feel like home. I was confused, felt helpless, and held my tongue".


I'll give the last word to Ashtanga yoga Northampton.... 

"Finally, what can be done to help heal both the survivors and the shaken Ashtanga community?

First, we need to believe the survivors and support them as they process and heal. That means listening to their stories, acknowledging their truth without defending Jois, and seeking compassionately to find justice for them in the way they need, if that is possible at this stage, because, after all, he is dead. 

(Which begs the question: Do we “visit the sins of the Father on the Son?” Do we malign or punish his family or his students? Maybe those that deny or refuse to believe the survivors should be taken to task - but those who freely admit error? Again, enabling is not criminal, it’s just deeply disappointing. I’ve observed a Facebook frenzy of self righteous anger against and shaming of those who have already bravely come forward to admit their enabling, and that’s wrong. Again, as a survivor, I don’t believe that’s the answer to finding personal healing surrounding sexual trauma means shaming enablers who show remorse, and shame on those who do.) 

Second, the Ashtanga community and its senior teachers need to continue to be absolutely transparent, forthcoming and honest about what happened, what they observed, and the parts they played in what happened, too. Come clean, and share your stories, please. Truth and reconciliation needs to happen for the survivors, and for the entire community to move forward in a healthy and positive way. 

Third, the KPJAYI must take active public steps immediately that ensure and safeguard the interests of victims before those of Ashtanga teachers, living or dead, no matter how “loved” or revered. If they do not already exist, clear and accessible protocols need to be developed and established to address any further allegations against transgressions by Ashtanga teachers. Obtaining the help of organizations that support survivors of sexual assault, both here and in Mysore, India, to help develop those protocols is key. 

Fourth, more stringent vetting and regular peer review of those who wish to teach Ashtanga should seriously be considered by all Ashtanga senior teachers who offer any kind of teacher training or authorization. If I have to do a CORI check here in the States to volunteer to sell cookies at a Bake Sale at my kids’ grammar school, I think we in the Ashtanga world can come up with at standard means of determining whether or not the teachers we are authorizing to teach are at the very least, not sexual predators. And we don't need the Yoga Alliance to show us how to do that. 

And, lastly, without question, there needs to be an established, International Ashtanga Code of Ethics, based on the tenets outlined in the first two limbs of Patanjali's Eight-Limbed path, Yama and Niyama - including compassion, nonstealing, nongreediness, austerity, self-inquiry, and wise use of our personal sexual lifeforce - for all who choose to teach this practice. "

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta


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