Monday, May 18, 2009

RIP K. Pattabhi Jois

Pattabhi Jois, affectionately known as Guruji, is dead at age 93 or 94.  Jois studied in his youth with yoga legend Krishnamacharya, and from some of his teaching developed the asana system known as Ashtanga yoga.  Here is Jois talking about the practice.

I've studied Ashtanga only indirectly; the only formal Ashtanga classes I took really didn't agree with my body.  But I am very grateful to Guruji nonetheless.  The Ashtanga yoga format, and indeed some of the energy that makes it go, comes directly from the Ashtanga practice, and since the power practice is where I really developed, no Guruji, I'm still just playing music and probably in severe physical pain most hours of the day.

When I took a class with Indian music teacher George Ruckert, he talked about the importance of lineage in Indian music- you were my (George's) student, who was Ali Akbar Khan's student, who was x's student, etc.   While I think a lot of my thoughts here in talking about jazz are critical of the limits of worshiping lineage, I think you also lose a lot when you fail to acknowledge it at all.  So I am personally blessed by Guruji's life and teaching, and wish him great things on his next journey.

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