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                                                  guruji (sri k. pattabhi jois) and grandson sharath

monday - thursday, teacher from 6:30 - 9:15am, doors open at 6am

friday, led class 6:30am

sunday, teacher from 7 - 9:15am, doors open at 6:30am

drop in classes are only for students with an existing mysore ashtanga practice 

complete beginners to mysore ashtanga yoga are welcome to join us at any time.  

however, it is recommended that you come and observe a class before beginning 

practice. it is important to note that the time duration of the class is not indicative of 

the length of your practice.  for someone new to the practice, allow 30-45 minutes 

your first day. this should include 5-10 minutes for rest at the end. students arrive at 

the time most suitable for them.  you do not have to know the order of the poses to 

begin. the practice is offered from teacher to student one pose at a time…slowly 

mysore oakland offers a supportive non-competitive environment for practitioners 

of all experience levels, ages, and abilities. guidance is offered in a traditional 

manner in the lineage of the late sri k. pattabhi jois, his daughter saraswati, and 

grandson sharath jois who  both continue to teach. sharath is the director of the k. 

pattabhi jois ashtanga yoga institute in mysore, india. “traditional” in this case 

means that each student is taught according to their needs as the teacher sees fit. it 

is my understanding that this is how it was taught by sri k. pattabhi jois as opposed 

to the common modern day misconception that ashtanga yoga is a one size fits all 

“ashtanga yoga is a breathing practice, the rest is just bending”.

- sri k. pattabhi jois

one unlimited month (6 days a week) $150

3 classes a week (12 a month) $125

drop in fee $20 for one class

ashtanga yoga as it refers to the physical practice (asana; seat or pose), is a 

dynamic set of postures in a fixed series. there are six series in all but everyone who 

begins the journey of an ashtanga practice begins with the primary series (yoga 

chikitsa; yoga therapy).  the first series is designed to purify the body, both subtle 

and gross. when practiced with consistency over a period of time the body becomes 

strong, light, and the mind gains clarity. the three focal points of an ashtanga 

practice are referred to as tristhana (asana; posture, breath, and drsthi; gaze point).  

these are the tools we use to turn the attention inward for research of the self.

ashtanga yoga as taught by the late sri k. pattabhi jois (the man most known for 

spreading ashtanga yoga worldwide) is taught in two forms; mysore style and led.

mysore is the name of a large city in south india and is known as the birthplace of 

ashtanga yoga. it continues to draw people year after year from around the world to 

study at the k. pattabhi jois ashtanga yoga institute where sharath jois (grandson to 

pattabhi jois) currently teaches.  

mysore style is a self practice under the guidance of a qualified teacher. the student 

is given small bits of the primary series to work on while committing the sequence 

of poses to memory. this allows time for the body and nervous system to acclimate 

to the practice. once the order of poses is memorized, the movements linked with 

proper breathing, become meditative.  a mysore room is a quiet peaceful place to 

develop a self practice. the teacher is a guide only, there to assist when 

she/he sees fit, to answer questions as they come up, and to offer support. a 

minimum commitment of three days a week is necessary to have a mysore ashtanga 

practice. a strong foundation for any relationship needs time, patience, and 

commitment.  a six day a week practice is highly recommended, taking one day for 

rest. typically a practice week consists of five days of mysore practice and one led 

led class is recommended only for students with a regular mysore practice, or those 

with at least six months of a consistent rigorous yoga practice. it is not 

recommended for complete beginners. in led class a teacher guides students 

through the primary series of ashtanga yoga (in some cases just a portion of the 

series is taught). taking led class is an integral part of having an ashtanga 

practice and has many benefits. one of which is to keep us in line with the correct 

vinyasa count and clear up any confusion. led classes also build strength, provide 

clarity in the mind, and help to keep us from adding extra movements (fidgeting), 

allowing the mind to stay steady on the breath.  

what to bring and recommendations

please bring a yoga mat and a small towel to practice. if you don’t have a mat, you 

can borrow one from the studio. it is recommended not to eat before practice, and 

not to drink water during practice.

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a little philosophical background 

the term ashtanga yoga means 8 limbs (astau; 8, anga; limb). eight limbs refer to the 

eightfold path as described by master patanjali in yoga sutras of patanjali. briefly 

and without getting into much detail, the eight limbs are;

yamas; self restraint (ahimsa; non violence, satya; truthfulness, asteya; not stealing, 

bramacharya; moderation, aparigraha; non grasping) 

niyamas; personal observances (sauca; cleanliness, santosha; contentment, tapas; 

heat/energy use, svadhyaya; self study, isvara pranidhana; celebration of the 

asana, the physical postures  

pranayama; simply put, breath control

pratyahara; withdrawal or control of the senses 

dharana; concentration 

dhyana; meditation or deeper absorption   

samadhi; complete absorption or union with the divine.

the first four limbs keep us in contact with how we relate to the palpable, external 

world. with steady practice these limbs are preparation for the next four limbs 

which begin to direct the attention and absorption inward. in other words, when we 

begin to re-shape the way we handle our external (tangible) circumstances, we are 

in preparation for drawing our attention into the inner landscape as well, and 

shifting how we function on a deeper more subtle level. even within ashtanga 

vinyasa itself we are incorporating all eight limbs. how cool is that?!

“Inhale, and God approaches you. Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you. 

Exhale, and you approach God. Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God”.

- tirumalai krishnamacharya

                                                                   image here

                                                                                                            saraswati jois

that time of the month, otherwise known as “lady’s holiday” from jois yoga:

“It is recommended that women take three days of rest – often referred to as ‘ladies’ 

holiday’ – during their menstrual period. Though taking rest is recommended, 

it remains an individual choice. As the external and internal practice changes over 

time, the physical and spiritual importance of taking rest for a particular woman 

may change as well. If a woman decides to observe ladies’ holiday, she is still very 

much practicing yoga during this time, as yoga is far more than just asana.”

                                                     moon phase image here

moon days 2015

jan 4 full           jan 20 new

feb 3 full           feb 18 new

mar 5 full          mar 20 new

april 4 full         april 18 new

may 3 full         may 17 new

june 2 full         june 16 new

july 1 full           july 15 new

july 31 full         aug 14 new

aug 29 full        sept 12 new

sept 27 full       oct 12 new

oct 27 full         nov 11 new

nov 25 full        dec 11 new

it is a traditional observance in the ashtanga lineage to take off new moon, and 

full moon days. why, you ask? well, one simple reason is to give the body rest in 

accordance with the energy shifts during full and new moon. to participate in a 

pranic practice, when energy due to the moons' positioning and relationship to 

gravity is already off balance, could cause practitioners to become more susceptible 

also, and perhaps more importantly for our purposes, observance of this tradition is 

a way to soften ones attachment to practice. it's an opportunity to submit to 

something outside of ones own self prescribed routine. in practice we work hard 

(tapas; sanskrit word meaning heat, effort, shining, burning, inner energy), and we 

submit these efforts as an offering, yielding the results. when we take rest on moon 

days we make an offering of ourselves in a different way, by not doing.  

for a more detailed reading that references sri k. pattabhi jois, and how not 

practicing on moon days came to pass, here's what eddie stern, senior ashtanga 

teacher, had to say…this letter was written by eddie in response to a student asking 

another teacher about moon days. i particularly love the story i put in bold below:

"It is possible that the student who asked you about any prohibition of practicing 

yoga on the full or new moon days was doing so because of the observances of 

Pattabhi Jois. Much has been made of this observance, with all sorts of ideas about 

why he does this, and what significance it may have. However, the reason for 

Pattabhi Jois’s observance of these days is quite simple. As you know, the 

Maharaja’s Pathashala (Sankrit College) was closed each month for classes on the 

moon days, and the day before and after. Studies were continued by the students, 

but no new lessons taught. One reason for this was that on amavasya and purnima, 

certain rituals had to be performed by the teachers and students alike, who are all 

brahmins – for example, the pitr tarpana which needs to be performed on amavasya, 

and the ritual bathing the day after the moons – all these things take time 

to be performed. As well, though I have never been able to find the reference, 

Pattabhi Jois used to quote to us – and I also heard this from my Bhagavad Gita 

teacher in Mysore,Professor Narayanacharya, – that if a teacher teaches new 

subjects on the moon days, his knowledge will decline, and on the day before or 

after, the knowledge of the student will decline. Perhaps you might know where this 

reference comes from?

When I spoke to Pattabhi Jois’s astrologer while interviewing him for the “Guruji” 

book, he concurred with the idea that it has something to do with the idea of ‘as 

above, so below': in the Vedic tradition our mind is the like the moon, and waxes, 

wanes, and retains information following the same cycle as the moon in the sky 

exerts a gravitational pull on the earth.

Since Pattabhi Jois was a student at the Maharaja’s Pathashala, and was the 

Professor of Yoga at the college from 1937 to 1973, taking those days off from 

teaching became a habit and observance for him. Since he held the view that yoga 

was a practice of Vedic origin, and that the knowledge of the Upanishads was to be 

accessed through the doorway of asanas and pranayama, he ascribed the 

same observances to teaching yoga as he did to teaching Veda. He further used to 

say that on the full and new moon days, there was a particular conjunction of 

nakshatras that made it easier to get injured, and that the injury would take longer 

to heal. I have never been able to verify this through jyotish; perhaps this is 

something that he learned from his father, who was an accomplished jyotishi.

Pattabhi Jois knew quite a bit about astrology, too – the name Jois is a South Indian 

corruption of Jyotish, and astrology was in his family tradition. I say all this to make 

the simple point that Pattabhi Jois had certain habits from the time he was 14. Why 

he had these habits is interesting, and though we may not be brahmins, or even 

Indian, as his students it is good to understand why certain things were done by 

him, and accept that if he felt them important enough to follow, that they are 

applicable to us too. But we should not go making a big thing of it and creating all 

sorts of fantastical ideas!

Below is a funny story to illustrate what happens when we (for example, Ashtanga 

Yoga students!) do not take the time to investigate simple things in a rational 

A saintly scholar used to give a class on Bhagavad Gita each evening beneath a 

tree near a village. He had a pet cat, and this cat would sometimes run through 

the crowd, making a disturbance. As a result the sage began to tie the cat to 

the tree during the class. After some time the speaker shuffled off his mortal 

coil. One of his disciples continued to give the Bhagavad Gita class under the 

tree, and continued to tie the cat to the tree during the class. After some time 

the cat passed away, and the 

disciple bought another cat. After three generations a disciple wrote a paper 

on the sacred tradition of tying a cat to the tree while giving a class on 

Bhagavad Gita.

So, all that being said, I think that out of respect for Pattabhi Jois, his methods and 

teachings, it is good for his students to follow the moon day observance, if they can. 

The purpose of following these things, and submitting oneself to a lineage, is to 

create humility, thoughtfulness and a certain type of discipline in the student. We 

will (most likely) not go to Hell if we practice on these days; Pattabhi Jois’s daughter, 

Saraswati (who was the first and only woman to practice yoga with him at the 

Sanskrit College) used to teach her students Monday thru Friday and take weekends 

off, and said that on moon days she simply did not teach new poses. Also, she noted 

that her students did not practice everyday of the week, but for those of us who do, 

an occasional rest day is good for the body.

Surrendering oneself to a lineage has its own charm and effect on our character, so 

why should we not try it? I do not believe that all yoga students should refrain from 

practice on these days – they too should follow the observances of their teachers, 

and hopefully by aligning our minds with higherprinciples, we will all find 

happiness in our practices. On moon days or not!" Eddie Stern Director: Ashtanga 

Yoga New York & Broome Street Temple

about timothy

timothy is the director of mysore oakland. he is grateful and honored to have been 

given the blessing to teach ashtanga yoga in the tradition of the late sri k. pattabhi 

jois by sharath jois. he offers many thanks for the humility, patience, and guidance of 

his teachers, most notably;  eddie stern, sharath jois, rolf and marci naujokat, and 

professor nagaraja rao.

more information including recommended reading and links:

   shiva image centered here and b&w image of altar photos centered below it