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Yogic Masters Who Have Influenced Us All

Posted by on Jul 31, 2012

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois with His Son and Grandson

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We have all been to a yoga class that left us speechless, if not breathless. We leave with a sense of joyous overwhelm in a shiny-happy-people kind of way that reminds us exactlywhy we practice. There are countless unsung yoga teachers throughout the world, regular folks who found a love in the practice and decided to share it with us. . .people who enjoy no fame or it-scene endorsements for their yoga clothing line or studio, but just resonate a peace which we know has come from hours of their personal work on and off the mat. Many of these people have been touched by a true yoga guru. We owe the elevation of our pranic energy to them. We owe the opening of our minds to them, and most definitely, the courage to go further in our own practice to them. Following are just a few of the true modern yoga gurus we owe homage to:

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois – Jois is known as the founder of Ashtanga yoga as we know it in the west. He brought it to us from via California in 1964. He recently passed away at the age of 93, but he left a wake of yogic inspiration in his path. He taught yoga for over 65 years, all over the world. One of his students, Kino MacGregor, has established an Ashtanga yoga center in Miami, Florida and continues to offer the wisdom that comes form a true yoga practice. While she is a testament to the flexibility and strength which a yoga practice can build, it is clear that Jois imparted deeper wisdom in his student. We are lucky that his teachings survive and influence future generations of yogis. 

Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal. . .But don’t approach yoga with a business mind looking for worldly gain. – Sri K. Pattabhi Jois


A Young B.K.S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar – This yoga guru was born to his mother during an influenza epidemic in Karnataka State in India which left him sickly for much of his life – until he found yoga. Iyengar stands as a testament to the power of yoga to heal numerous physical ailments and to strengthen a weak body. His book, Light on Yoga has been read by millions and outlines specific yogic postures one can practice to rid the body of depression or arthritis, cancer or poor digestion. It was violinist Yehudi Menuhin which gave Iyengar notoriety in yoga in the US in 1952, but Iyengar’s dedicated teaching is grew his popularity from Menuhin’s introdcution. Both his children, Geeta and Prashant carry on Iyengar’s teachings at his yoga center in Pune, India. Iyengar, himself, is over 80 and still practices yoga. His legacy is legendary.

“Illuminated emancipation, freedom, unalloyed and untainted bliss await you, but you have to choose to embark on the Inward Journey to discover it.” – B.K.S. Iyengar 

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

No discussion of influential yogis is complete without mentioning Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This was the teacher of the Beatles, and outside of influencing the British rock stars of the 70s, he also popularized transcendental meditation, or TM. Maharishi in fact means, enlightened spiritual one, and he spread his light everywhere. TM is one of the most commonly practiced forms of meditation today. This form of meditation was passed down to Maharishi from his own teachers in the Indian Himalayas. In addition to mediation, Maharishi taught a form of Ayurvedic science that “aims to restore balance in the physiology, eliminate impurities, and awaken the body’s natural healing mechanisms.” There is now a global organization of over 1000 schools which teach the yogic tools which Maharishi Mahesh Yogi once shared with rock stars.

“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment, to sacrifice what we are for what we may become.” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

© 2012 Christina Sarich is a musician, India-trained yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of having studied Lao Tzu, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rob Brezny, Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is
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