R. Sharath Jois

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R. Sharath Jois
Rangaswamy Sharath

(1971-09-29)September 29, 1971
ResidenceMysore, India
Known forAshtanga yoga
Spouse(s)Shruthi Jois
RelativesK. Pattabhi Jois (grandfather)
Rangaswamy (father)
Saraswati Jois (mother)
Sharmila Mahesh (sister)

R. Sharath Jois (born September 29, 1971) is a teacher, practitioner and lineage holder (paramaguru) of Ashtanga Yoga, in the tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois. He is the director of the Shri K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), formerly Ashtanga Yoga Research Insttitue (AYRI)), in Mysore, India. He is an author, the subject of several documentaries, and is known for his expertise in Ashtanga yoga.


Jois was born on September 29, 1971 in Mysore India to Saraswati Rangaswamy, daughter of K. Pattabhi Jois.[1] Jois was born into a family dedicated to the practice, preservation and teaching of Ashtanga yoga as his grandfather had learned from his teacher, T. Krishnamacharya. Jois, being exposed to yoga since birth, began practicing asanas informally around seven years old and continued non-committally until age 14. At the age of 19, he began formal study of the Ashtanga yoga system with his grandfather and is the lineage holder of Ashtanga yoga today.[2]

Jois' grandfather, K. Pattabhi Jois, began studying yoga with T. Krishnamacharya at the age of 12, in 1927, and continued his formal study with his teacher until 1954.[1][2] Pattabhi Jois spent more than 70 years of his life dedicated to practicing and teaching Ashtanga yoga. He established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, his first yoga school, in his home in Lakshmipuram in 1948. To accommodate the increasing number of students coming to study, he opened a new school in Gokulam in 2002.[2]

Early Years - Childhood[edit]

Jois was beset by many illnesses when he was a child. When he was four years old, he contracted an infection while in Northern Karnataka, where his father was working. It turned out to be glandular fever, which required a one-year treatment. When he was seven, he fell down during the construction of Pattabhi Jois’s new yoga school, and broke his leg. The resulting bed-rest left him with low hemoglobin, which resulted in rheumatic fever. His mother, Saraswati Jois, said, "From ages four through fourteen, [it was] one thing after another."[2](p120) When Jois turned fourteen, he became focused on his scholastic education, earning a diploma in electronics from JSS in Mysore.

First Introduction to Yoga[edit]

Jois learned his first asanas at age seven.[2] His grandfather, K. Pattabhi Jois, used to say that young children could play with postures from the primary and intermediate series, as many of them are easy for children to do. Growing up in a house full of yoga practitioners and teachers, he was bound to do the same.

Becoming a Teacher[edit]

When he was 19 years old, his mother told him that he should begin assisting his grandfather in the yoga shala, as there were many students, and his grandfather was not a young man anymore. From that time, he became Pattabhi Jois’s full-time assistant.[3] It was during these years that Sharath’s devotion to the practice deepened and he began to intuit its transformative power.

Jois studied the experiential as well as the theoretical aspects of yoga with his grandfather for quite some time before he felt that he was ready to guide others through the method. Sharath notes that it is important for a practitioner to understand the asana and the associated vinyasa before teaching others. He spent countless hours observing his grandfather teach, working with students of various body types, and developing a sense of how to work with individual differences.

As a teacher, Jois reinforces the idea that practising Ashtanga yoga is a process and that asanas are simply one aspect of the practice, preparing individuals to incorporate the other limbs into their lives. There are many layers to the practice and although it may appear as a linear practice, marked by progression based on the addition of new asanas, it is in fact, much more nuanced. This is precisely why students are encouraged to focus on the physical practice because the experiential aspects of the practice are where the true learning occurs, not simply by reading about yoga theory; the practice is the foundation for the practical application of yoga theory. [4] He studied under his grandfather for twenty years.[5]

International Travels[edit]

Jois began traveling internationally with his grandfather in the 1990s to teach Ashtanga yoga. They felt it was imperative to travel and teach an authentic system of yoga in the West where yoga was becoming increasingly popular and being taught in non-traditional ways. In efforts to maintain the integrity and tradition of the practice, Sharath continues to travel and teach worldwide.

New Role as Director of KPJAYI[edit]

In 2007 when Pattabhi Jois was not in good health and unable to teach any longer, Jois became director of the Institute. Sharath has steadily grown into his role as director of KPJAYI and as the seniormost authority on the practice, having studied and practiced all six series with his grandfather. Jois' style of teaching and presence in the shala has been described by a senior student as a balance of strictness and compassion.[6]

In attempts to continue the parampara of yoga, Sharath holds a teachers' course in the summer for authorized and certified practitioners to ensure the Ashtanga method is being taught in the spirit of the tradition and with respect to the lineage of yoga gurus who have kept the practice alive - Rama Mohan Bramachari, T. Krishnamacharya, and K. Pattabhi Jois.[7] Jois was honoured at a celebration thrown following the completion of one of the teacher’s courses in 2014.[7] During this course, Sharath reminded his students of the importance of teaching "from the heart".

Following in the spirit of his late grandfather, Jois holds conferences on Saturdays after led classes to discuss important aspects of the practice, theory, and to address any questions or concerns that students may have concerning the practice. Jois reiterates, that to receive full benefits of the practice, one should practice intentionally with the 4 D’s in mind - devotion, dedication, determination, and discipline.

Experiments in Yoga Research[edit]

Jois has explored and highlighted different asanas for their therapeutic benefits in alleviating issues such respiratory problems,[8][9][10] back pain,[11][12] and digestive disorders.[13][14] Paschimottanasana, a forward folding posture, can alleviate digestive and respiratory issues while providing stress relief by stimulating digestive fire, removing toxins and removing excess fat in the waist.[15] Mayurasana aids digestive processes, assuages abdominal disorders, in addition to reducing phlegm, and inflammation.[15] In Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana,[16] Sharath demonstrates other asanas that can be practiced to aid in reducing distress caused from the aforementioned issues.

Sharath has also experimented with and utilized pranayama techniques to help people suffering from a range of maladies, including respiratory issues to stress. He has experimented with unique applications of Nadi Shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing, for helping to cure serious respiratory disorders such as allergies, asthma and dysfunctions of the trachea.

Awards, Honors, Charitable Work[edit]

  • Scholarships given to students
  • Sharath has communicated with schools and advocated for the inclusion of yoga into the curriculum. University of Virginia campus has a traditional Mysore program run by a KPJAYI authorized teacher.[17][18]
  • Yoga student blood donation drive
  • School bag distribution for disadvantaged school children
  • Prosthetic limb donations
  • Forest conservation - Bandipur, Nagarhole
  • Wildlife personnel equipment - Bandipur, Nagarhole
  • Uttarkashi honoree bestowed title of Mahayogi Guru [19]
  • Mysore Yoga honoree bestowed title of Paramaguru [3]


Jois published Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana which provides an introduction and overview to Ashtanga Yoga, delineating the eight limbs of the practice, the importance of Tristhana and Vinyasa, main asanas of the primary series, and supplemental asanas for therapy.

  • He wrote the forward to the 2010 edition of Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois [5]
  • Featured in LA Yoga [4]
  • Featured in Namarupa magazine in interviews and articles [19]
  • Written articles for Pushpam Magazine[20]
  • Featured in Yoga magazines and Indian newspapers [7]


  • Grandfather, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (deceased 1915-2009) [1][2]
  • Father, Rangaswamy (deceased ?) [2]
  • Mother, Saraswati Jois (Mysore, India 1941- ) [1][2]
  • Uncle, Manju Jois (Mysore, 1944-) [1][2]
  • Uncle, Ramesh Jois (Mysore, deceased) [1]
  • Sister, Sharmila Mahesh (1969-) [2]
  • Wife, Shruthi Jois (1981-)
  • Daughter, Shraddha (2002-)
  • Son, Sambhav (2007-)


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bajaj, Vikas. "Krishna Pattabhi Jois, Leading Expert in Yoga, Dies at 93".
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Donahaye, Guy; Stern, Edwin (September 18, 2012). Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students (First ed.). New York: North Point Press. ISBN 978-0374532833.
  3. ^ a b "Guruji, Sharath, Saraswati". Ashtanga Yoga New York.
  4. ^ a b "Ayurveda and Health". LA Yoga. 9 (3). April 2010.
  5. ^ a b Jois, Sri K. Pattabhi (July 6, 2010). Yoga Mala: The Original Teachings of Ashtanga Yoga Master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (Second ed.). New York: North Point Press. p. xiii. ISBN 978-0865477513.
  6. ^ MacGregor, Kino (January 9, 2016). "Ashtanga Yoga According to the Boss: An Inside Look at the Spiritual Heart of R. Sharath Jois". Yoga Digest: 42–43.
  7. ^ a b c "Yoga Guru Sharath Jois feted by 100 senior students". Star of Mysore. August 25, 2014.
  8. ^ Santaella, DF; Devesa, CR; Rojo, MR; Amato, MB; Drager, LF; Casali, KR; Montano, N; Lorenzi-Filho, G. "Yoga respiratory training improves respiratory function and cardiac sympathovagal balance in elderly subjects: a randomised controlled trial". BMJ Open. 1: e000085. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000085. PMC 3191432. PMID 22021757.
  9. ^ Zope, SA; Zope, RA. "Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health". Int J Yoga. 6: 4–10. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.105935. PMC 3573542. PMID 23440614.
  10. ^ Yadav, A; Singh, S; Singh, K; Pai, P. "Effect of yoga regimen on lung functions including diffusion capacity in coronary artery disease patients: A randomized controlled study". Int J Yoga. 8: 62–7. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.146067. PMC 4278137. PMID 25558135.
  11. ^ Chang, DG; Holt, JA; Sklar, M; Groessl, EJ. "Yoga as a treatment for chronic low back pain: A systematic review of the literature". J Orthop Rheumatol. 3: 1–8. PMC 4878447. PMID 27231715.
  12. ^ Tilbrook, HE; Cox, H; Hewitt, CE; et al. (November 2011). "Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial". Ann. Intern. Med. 155: 569–78. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-155-9-201111010-00003. PMID 22041945.
  13. ^ Kavuri, V; Raghuram, N; Malamud, A; Selvan, SR. "Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015: 398156. doi:10.1155/2015/398156. PMC 4438173. PMID 26064164.
  14. ^ Kaswala, D; Shah, S; Mishra, A; Patel, H; Patel, N; Sangwan, P; Chodos, A; Brelvi, Z. "Can yoga be used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease?". Int J Yoga. 6: 131–3. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.113416. PMC 3734640. PMID 23930033.
  15. ^ a b Svatmarama Yogi. "Hatha Yoga Pradipika" (PDF). Pranakriya.
  16. ^ Jois, R. Sharath (2014). Ashtanga Yoga Anusthana (Second ed.). Mysore: KPJAYI Mysore. ISBN 978-9351263029.
  17. ^ "Mysore Ashtanga Yoga". University of Virginia: Contemplative Sciences Center.
  18. ^ "University of Virginia starts Ashtanga Yoga Program". The Confluence Countdown.
  19. ^ a b "Ashtanga Yoga Sadhana Retreat". Namarupa: Categories of Indian Thought (Namarupa Yatra). 2015.
  20. ^ Jois, Sharath (2015). "A More Spiritual Life". pushpam. A/W (1).

External links[edit]