Homage to Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois

By Rodney Yee, June, 2009

I have always scratched my head in wonder at the mystery of how strongly my father affected me in every decision I have ever made without having an everyday contact with him.

This wonderment carries over to my feeling of Pattabhi Jois. Pattabhi Jois was not my teacher. Personally, I had only a handful of classes directly with him, and even if you count all the classes I have taken in his direct lineage, from teachers who are in his inner circle, the count is probably still under 100.

Pattabhi Jois is one of the giants of the yoga world in the last 100 years. He died May 18 and the yoga world for the moment has been turned upside down and has lost its compass. No matter what school of yoga you are involved with here in the United States, you have inevitably been touched by this great yogi.

Colleen and I were teaching at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York City when David Swenson, a long time friend and colleague, and his wife Shelley, came to our Urban Zen classroom to bear the news. How fortunate we felt to have David, who is one of Pattabhi Jois’s most devoted students, there with us to share wonderful stories and emotions. The week has continued with ceremonies around the globe, paying homage to Pattabhi Jois and the way he served the world.

Colleen and I feel like part of our foundation has been irreversibly shaken and we feel the heavy responsibility of helping to carry the torch of yoga without the manifested presence of Pattabhi Jois. Much like the death of a parent, there is a now a huge void that is daunting. Nonetheless, we carry on and continue to touch the joy that Pattabhi Jois so masterfully shared.

Rodney Yee

Rodney is a world-renowned yoga teacher who started practicing yoga in 1980. He has been in over thirty yoga videos, and is the author of two books, including Moving Toward Balance. Along with his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee, he is the co-director of Heath and Wellness Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan’s project to change the healthcare paradigm to include complementary healthcare practices. He has been teaching at Colleen's studio, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor, for several years, and is one of the founding members of Yoga Shanti New York.

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