Letter from Guruji, Mysore, 11 August, 2008

Letter from Guruji,

Mysore, 11 August, 2008


Beloved Students,

As you all know, I have devoted 70 years of my life to sharing ashtanga yoga with dedicated practitioners like yourselves. After receiving my gurus blessing, I committed to teaching this practice precisely as it was taught to me, as it had been taught to my guru, Sri Tirumala Krishnamacharya, who in turn learnt this practice from his guru, Sri Ramamohan Brahmachari. This type of lineage is called parampara and is obtained only from long, dedicated study with your guru. In each succession, it is the obligation of the new teacher to pass on this method undiluted and unaltered to their students. We all must honor this tradition, not only with our past gurus but also with our current teachers, those we here at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI) have chosen to authorize and certify.

In keeping with the parampara, Sharath and I will be doing some maintenance to the authorization/ certification processes and to our online list. We will move the list of approved teachers from ashtanga.com to ayri.org. Being on this list signifies that you have received our blessing to pass on this method to others, are an experienced practitioner, and a dedicated student. Moving the list will give us more immediate and proper control. While it has always been a rule that you may be removed from the list of approved teachers for failing to honor the tradition, it is going to be more rigorously enforced now. We will regularly review those teachers listed to make sure they are teaching this method correctly and we will remove those who are not. No one will be exempt from this process of review and possible removal.

Being on the KPJAYI list requires that you teach ashtanga yoga as it is taught here in Mysore, India. You should maintain a yoga room or shala to allow for daily Mysore-style practice. Saturdays and the full/new moon days should be honored as rest days. Authorized teachers are limited to teaching the primary series, while Certified teachers are qualified to teach as the directors of the KPJAYI have guided them. In addition to these general guidelines, some specific issues need addressing.

First, it is important to teach in one primary location as that is the method we follow here in Mysore. While Certified teachers may travel and provide some workshops, Authorized teachers should be working in one location only. Additionally, Authorized teachers should not be teaching beyond the primary series. If you have students with the desire to learn more than the primary series, they should be encouraged to come and study here at the KPJAYI. No one, Authorized or Certified, should be advancing students beyond an asana they cannot safely and proficiently complete.

As there is no teacher-training program approved by this Institute, no one wishing to be on this list should be providing any such programs under any variety of names. Too often, our stance on this matter has been ignored by changing the title of such programs from « Teacher Training Program » to « Ashtanga Yoga for Teachers » to « Ashtanga Yoga Intensive. » This must stop if you wish to continue being on the list of approved teachers. This is not the correct method. This is not how we have taught you and it is not how our gurus instructed us.

We will offer a grace period of one year for the cessation of general workshops. After August of 2009, teachers listed here providing such programs will be removed from the list at our discretion. However, teacher training programs under any name must stop at once. Those continuing to offer such programs under any designation will be removed from the list immediately.

The renewal process for your authorization or certification will also be more faithfully followed. Teachers wishing to sustain their status should return approximately every 18 months for a period of at least two months. Please remember, being given an authorization or certification does not mean you are finished with your studies.

These are only some specific guidelines I offer to address particular problems that I have witnessed proliferate in recent years. In general, you should simply teach as I taught you, as we continue to teach here at the KPJAYI, and as our gurus taught us. Honoring this parampara is the clearest guideline we can provide you. I am eager to see all of you back here in Mysore.


K. Pattabhi Jois & R. Sharath

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