Yoga Master Moves ~ Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


My year has been full of celebrations and passages. There have been several meetings with amazing people – Aunty Mahealani Henry, Francene Hart, the Galaxy Garden creators, many leaders at the New Thought Center and Aloha Center for Spiritual Living in Kona. Parties, a TranscenDance to honor KayTee, the founder of SKEA, and another, a baby shower for Swati, Matesh’s wife who has come to Hawaii from India.

All of these people are spiritually significant, the people I meet in my everyday life, all are lineage holders in their own right, all of them emerging giants. It felt good to honor their lives, this present moment when the highest and brightest in humanity —- you — share my life.

And then came the news about Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the beloved Guruji of Ashtanga Yoga, who passed away at the great age of 94. He died at 2:30 pm, India time, on May 18. It was heavy news. I don’t teach Pattabhi’s Ashtanga Vinyasa, though I do practice the primary series, at least parts of it, quite often. But Ashtanga was the first vinyasa class I ever took, with Richard Freeman in Boulder, Colorado. After that, Kundalini, Iyengar, and Dance Meditations helped me figure out sequences and cues that tapped the inner self-generating nectar of life, prana, the fluid medium that we share through the breath, the land, water, our love for each other.

“Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it,” he said. “Yoga is universal. Yoga is not mine.”

That night I heard about the death, we saw a sunset over the Pacific Ocean that could take your breath away with its beauty and then put it right back in your chest, filling it with Alohaaaaaah. A river of neon mango light spread from a silvery orb and lay a cloak of beauty with wavy wings across the teal and purple sea.

It was especially nourishing because this simple man, Pattabhi Jois, had passed along the truth that there is one light and one love, a flame of perfection in each of us. His understanding of yoga helped to transform me, and showed me that I have a responsibility to help others. Yet yoga’s purest heart is in his simple words: “Do your practice and all is coming.”

“If we practice the science of yoga which is useful to the entire human community and which yields happiness both here and hereafter,” he said, “if we practice it without fail, we will then attain physical, mental, and spiritual happiness.”

Our minds will have clear roots in the earth and will be strong, so the True Self can fill you, like the sap rising up an 8-limbed tree – the tree of yoga – and as we move in unison with the ocean, the winds, the growth of plants and the flights of birds and eagles, we explore the subtle constellations of spirit. All of life’s movements are honored in the river of yoga, vasya, the flow of creative grace.

To all my family – ohana — in yoga around the world who have shared, studied, and learned from his teachings, as I learned from my teachers, Richard Freeman and Shiva Rea, I offer condolences and prayers. For Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his family, friends, and devoted students, I share this Aloha Sunset, and gratitude for yet another reminder of the one light that never dies and shines ever more brightly when we honor the One in another. Namaste!

Mahalo for your wisdom, Holy One. Aloha nui loa!

See how you can awaken prana now and move energy toward the highest and best good. Go to Yoga Dance

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