Ashtanga Yoga is more than just the physical practice of the asanas. It encompasses an ancient philosphy and describes a way of life which is meant to keep the body and mind healthy.
This tradition has been rejuvenated in the 20th century in Mysore, India. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois - also called Guruji by his students - was so fascinated by the practice of yoga that he set out to be taught by the famous Sri T. Krichnamacharya at the place of Mysore at the age of 12. Studying yoga at the time meant daily practice of asanas and the study of the ancient Sanskrit texts, such as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the Bhagavad Gita.
In 1937 Sri K. Pattabhi Jois was announced Professor for Yoga at the Sanskrit-College of the Maharaja of Mysore. Later on in 1948 he founded the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore which has later become popular among people in the West. He dedicated himself to the practice of yoga and especially focused on the healing effect of the practice which happens when body and breath become aligned.
He passed his knowledge of the practice on to his daughter Saraswathi Rangaswamy and his grandchildren Sharmila Mahesh and Sharath Jois. Sharath, in particular, has stepped into the footsteps of his grandfather - he started practicing Ashtanga yoga by the age of 12 and has been passing on the knowledge of this ancient, healing method to thousands of students around the world after his grandfather died in 2008.
We here at Ashtanga Yoga Freiburg are very lucky to have found two teachers - Susanna Finocchi and Jens Bache from Copenhagen - who are deeply connected to this tradition and the whole Jois family. Since 2011 Susanna has been coming regularly to Freiburg and to pass the knowledge she acquired from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath on to us and our students here. We have had the chance to meet Sharath on his Europe Tour for three times now and we also spend time in Mysore, where ashtanga yoga originated, to deepen our own practice and to connect with the source. We were also happy to be honoured with the presence of Saraswathi Rangaswamy and her daughter Sharmila in Freiburg in 2015. We hope to deepen the conncetions to the roots and the tradition of Ashtanga yoga in the future so that we can develop a deeper sense of this fascinating practice and keep sharing our knowledge with our students.