Patanjali holds a unique position in the line of great Indian sages and benefactors of mankind. He is venerated in Indian tradition as the author of classical treatises on medicine, grammar and Yoga. These three sciences effect the purification of the human body, speech and mind.
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was a yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and a scholar. He is often referred to as “The Father of Modern Yoga”. He taught many of the world’s most renowned yoga teachers, including Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois
1915 – 2009
Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, or Guruji as he was affectionately called by his students, was the guru of Ashtanga Yoga. In 1948, Guruji established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. Over the years he taught many students in Mysore and all over the world.
Patanjali and Ashtanga Yoga
Patanjali holds a unique position in the line of great Indian sages and benefactors of mankind. He is venerated in Indian tradition as the author of classical treatises on medicine, grammar and yoga. These three sciences effect the purification of the human body, speech and mind.
He is said to be an incarnation of the serpent Ananta (meaning “the Infinite One”) on whom Lord Vishnu, the preserver of the world, rests in slumber before the beginning of creation.
Patanjali was born to a saintly woman called Gonika who had spent her life in spiritual pursuits. He fell into her cupped hands in the form of a tiny snake as she was offering an oblation of water to the Sun. Hence he was named Patanjali, from pata, meaning snake of fallen, and anjalli, meaning hands folded in prayer. He is depicted iconographically with a man’s torso and the coiled tail of a serpent.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, also known as the Yoga of Eight Limbs (Ashtanga Yoga) is the authoritative text, recognized by all schools of yoga and is the source for all subsequent works. His composition is in principle a systematic treatise concerned with defining the most important elements of yoga theory and practice.
Astanga Yoga Mantram
vande I bow gurunam to the plurality of gurus caranaravinde two lotus feet
sandarsita to bring to sight svatma pure Being sukhava happiness
bodhe awakened nih sreyase refuge jangalikayamane jungle physician
samsara conditioned existence halahala poison moha delusion santyai peace
abahu down to the shoulders purusakaram assumes the form of man
sankha conch shell cakra wheel asi sword (of discrimination) dharinam the bearer
sahasra thousands sirasam heads svetam radiant, white
pranamami I prostrate patanjalim to the sage Patanjali
“I bow to patanjali, that greatest of sages who removed the imperfection of the mind by yoga and that of speech by grammar and that of the body by medicine.
I bow to patanjali whose upper body is of human form, who holds a conch, disc and sword, who is thousand-headed and white.”
The Eight Limbs of Yoga
Yamas: The practice of universal moral truths
Ni Yamas: The practice of the personal disciplines
Asana: The practice of physical postures
Pranayama: The practice of breath control
Pratyahara: The practice of the withdrawal of the senses
Dharana: The practice of focused attention
Dhyana: The practice of meditation
Samadhi: Self realization – Enlightenment