Breath of the Gods

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A journey to the origins of modern yoga A Jan Schmidt-Garre film

T. Krishnamacharya

Born around 1888 in Muchukunte, South India, died in 1989 in Madras. He founded the Yogashala, the world’s most influential Yoga school.


B. K. S. Iyengar

Born in 1918 in Bellur, South India. As a child he suffered from Malaria, Typhus and Tuberculosis. Krishnamacharya, who is married to Iyengar’s sister, succeeds in healing him. Iyengar studies Yoga with Krishnamacharya and teaches Yoga himself in Pune from 1937 onwards. In the 1950s the violinist Yehudi Menhuin becomes his student and brings him to the West. Iyengar becomes the most famous Yoga teacher of his days. He published 25 books, among them the classic Light on Yoga, and spreads his teaching through severals hundred Iyengar schools around the world. In 1996 Time Magazine included B. K. S. Iyengar in the list of the “100 most influential people of the 20th century”.


Pattabhi Jois

Born in 1915 in Kowshika, South India. At the age of twelve he witnesses one of Krishnamacharya’s public demonstrations. He is so fascinated by it that he resolves to dedicate his life to Yoga. He studies with Krishnamacharya at the Yogashala in Mysore. In 1949 he founds the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore. He continues teaching at the Institute to the very end of his life in 2009, the time when Breath of the Gods was being filmed.