Last Thursday, 18 May, marked eight years since Pattabhi Jois, known to his students as Guruji, passed away. Many of you will know all about Guruji and for those who don’t, he is responsible for so much of the ashtanga yoga that we practice today. Born in 1915, he began many years of study with his guru Sri T Krishnamacharya in 1927 and established the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore in 1948.

He taught growing numbers of students at the institute over some six decades as ashtanga’s popularity spread across the world. Hundreds of students continue to travel to the institute (now the K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute) each year to study with his grandson, Sharath Jois.

Many of Guruji’s famous quotes circulated on social media last week and one that stuck out for me was: Guruji points to his heart and said, “There is a small box sitting here. In that box is sitting Atman [your soul]. Turn your attention here. That is yoga.”

Guruji and Sharath both talk about internal purification, an important part of ashtanga, and the six poisons that surround the spiritual heart. The KPJAYI website has a great description:

“In the yoga shastra [scriptures] it is said that God dwells in our heart in the form of light, but this light is covered by six poisons: kama, krodha, moha, lobha, matsarya, and mada. These are desire, anger, delusion, greed, envy and sloth. When yoga practice is sustained with great diligence and dedication over a long period of time, the heat generated from it burns away these poisons, and the light of our inner nature shines forth.”

As always, it comes back to practice. It’s about getting on the mat regularly and continuing our practice beyond asana off the mat. As Gruruji’s most famous quote reminds us:

“Practice and all is coming.”

See you on the mat soon!


Don’t forget, our new evening classes are up and running in Hither Green (see below for details) and all classes are on as normal over the May bank holiday weekend.


Mysore-style self-practice classes in Hither Green

Sundays: 9.00-10.30am @ Ted Ray Scout Hall
Mondays: 6.00-8.30pm @ Lochaber Hall
Thursdays: 6.00-8.30pm @ Lochaber Hall

Traditional guided self-practice classes for all levels. Complete beginners always welcome. Please arrive anytime within the first half an hour of the class. See website for more details.

Lochaber Hall, Manor Lane Terrace, Hither Green, London SE13 5QL
Ted Ray Scout Hall, 127 Springbank Road, Hither Green, London SE13 6SS

Triyoga Chelsea beginners’ ashtanga course

Dates: 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd July
Time: 10-11am
Location: triyoga Chelsea

The course will introduce you to the fundamental elements of ashtanga yoga, including the breathing and asana series. I will provide individual guidance and encourage you to practice between classes so you can begin to establish your own personal practice, both on and off the mat. The course provides a strong and safe foundation so you can be confident about joining my regular led classes – or one of the ashtanga self-practice classes. Click here for details and to book.

Class schedule

10-11am: beginners ashtanga, four-week course from 1st July (triyoga Chelsea, SW3)
11.30am-12.45pm: led class (triyoga Chelsea, SW3)

9-10.30am (arrive by 9.30am): Mysore-style self-practice class (Ted Ray Scout Hall, SE13)
* Full details here *
3.30-5pm: Led class (triyoga Chelsea, SW3)

6.30-8pm (arrive by 7pm): Mysore-style self-practice class (Lochaber Hall, SE13)
* Full details here *

7.30-8.45pm: Led class (triyoga Chelsea, SW3)

6.30-8pm (arrive by 7pm): Mysore-style self-practice class (Lochaber Hall, SE13)
* Full details here *

A note on class styles

In ashtanga yoga, the asana practice (physical postures) is done 5-6 days a week. Students take rest one day a week (usually Saturday or Sunday) and moon days. Women also rest on the first three days of their monthly cycle (“ladies holiday”). The daily repetition of asanas is important to get the full therapeutic benefits of the practice – though some might find a daily practice challenging at first. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Self-practice classes:
you practice the postures you’ve learnt at your own speed but in a group setting. I give individual guidance and physical adjustments, gradually moving you through the asana series at a suitable pace. This is the traditional way that ashtanga yoga is taught at KPJAYI in Mysore, India – which is why these classes are often called “Mysore-style”.

Led classes: I guide all students through the asana series together, at the same pace. The focus is on the vinyasas (synchronised breath and movement) to help students understand the correct breathing and movement in and out of each posture. At KPJAYI, led classes are taught twice a week using the traditional Sanskrit vinyasa count.

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