"The way Guruji teaches is not lazy in any way, shape, or form. He brings the same energy, or more, to every class every day. I would be dragging, it
would wear twenty of us out. I think it was the consistency and the genuine
love and desire to see you learn this practice and improve your health.
It took me four years in Mysore, off and on, to get into lotus. I remember
the day that he finally, after sitting in front of me, got me into
lotus. He stopped the whole class and almost started crying with laughter
and joy. I think he was more thrilled to see me in that posture than I
was. You know, that’s just one example. It goes on every day that you are
in there. Whatever posture is difficult for you, he never forgets, he always
makes you do it, even if you’ve gone by it. It’s his discipline and his
tenacity along with the love of the practice that make him unique."
"I would describe it as being one of the most sincere messages I’ve ever
received. When you are in there with him, you know he has totally dedicated
his heart and his soul to this teaching, so you want to give him the
same in return. I’ve had many teachers of all types throughout the years,
from English to basketball, and of course, you meet great teachers along
the way. I’ve never met anybody who loved to teach as much as Guruji.
In fact, it seems to me, as he is teaching he seems younger, he’s a different
person in the room. Out of the room, he’s such a beautiful wonderful
householder that the combination was overwhelming to me. To me, he is
one of the great humans."
"Guruji is tremendous, he is amazing at getting people to go beyond
where they think their limits are. It’s a little scary sometimes. I’ve seen
looks of panic and complete terror on people’s faces and also tremendous
breakthroughs. As a teacher—I’ve been teaching for thirteen years—
watching Guruji is amazing. I don’t feel confident to do the same thing
that he does. He’s got sixty years of experience teaching—he’s seen a lot
of bodies, he’s put a lot of bodies through this practice—and I feel like I
need to be much more conservative than him. I’ve seen him put people
in full lotus, and get them into garbha pindasana, kukkutasana that I
would have never believed possible. And what it gives them is tremendous
and you can take that and from that develop the discipline and love
for doing the practice, which is something that does happen through that
sense of accomplishment."
"One of Guruji’s real strengths as a teacher is that he obviously practiced
strong yoga. He was clearly challenged by Krishnamacharya, and at
the same time he was also a scholar and I think that is unique. A lot of
people were just yoga practitioners or they were scholars. Guruji has
been both, and he brings that into the room. He obviously embodies the
yoga teaching, the philosophy, the lifestyle, as well as having done thepractice."
"At the time I was very impressed by his energy because he was always attentive
to everyone. As soon as you tried to skip a posture, he would say,
“You there, you haven’t done that posture!”—like that. I was very amazed
that he was so attentive to reading everybody. And everybody had the impression
they were his favorite and he did that for everybody. It was afterward
that I understood that when he made us take the postures he
paid us special attention, so you got the impression that he liked you
a lot. We realized that we were each his favorite, his unique student.
And that was his manner of making us advance. I understood that much
later. But in the beginning I thought, “Oh, he likes me.” But he loved
"He’s like the whole orchestra. He doesn’t just have one way, he can find
a way for everyone. So he sees you and your spirit and the aspects of your
character that are competent and good and that may be lacking and
not so rounded, and he seems to be able to do that with everyone. He
doesn’t overcomplicate it, he keeps it really simple. There are three really
powerful techniques: the breathing method, coordinating the movement
with the breath; the drishti; and the squeezing, the bandhas. He doesn’t
get extremely technical, he doesn’t talk about anatomy, he doesn’t talk
about complicated energetic concepts. He keeps it incredibly simple. It
takes a brave person not to appeal to a person’s, particularly a Westerner’s,
need for information. You know, that kind of information, it’s incredibly
simple: “Breathe!” “You breathe!” “You do!” “No, no, no, don’t
think, you do!” And it’s so effective."
Do you see Guruji as a healer?
"Absolutely, absolutely. I don’t know if you want to talk about what kind of
healer, because yoga seems to be union between body and mind, but he
seems to get in there with you. Boy, he gets right in there, he’s right
there. And I think he heals himself every day with this teaching. I haven’t
met anybody who loves to teach as much."
(Extracted from, Guruji: A Portrait of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois Through the Eyes of His Students, by Guy Donahaye, Eddie Stern)