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Govinda Kai

Astanga LedMysore Program

Govinda Kai is of Japanese-American descent, born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. His legal name is Russell Paul Yamaguchi. Govinda Kai is his spiritual and teaching name. From a very young age, Govinda took a passionate interest in meditation, yoga and spiritual philosophy.

 

Govinda’s father, Edward Yamaguchi, was a highly respected practitioner and teacher of martial arts (he held a high ranking in both Judo and Aikido) and like Govinda, nurtured a strong attraction to spirituality and philosophy from a very young age. Govinda began the practice of martial arts while in high school and began Yoga, Meditation and devotional chanting at age 18, studying with respected teachers such as Swami Muktananda and Sogyal Rimpoche. Govinda’s father died of colon cancer at the age of 49 years old, when Govinda was only 16. The passing of his father affected Govinda deeply and inspired him to begin reading books on spirituality and meditation at the age of 16.

 

After university, Govinda considered becoming a Buddhist monk but was advised by his teacher, Sogyal Rimpoche to enter into a more worldly career. Thus, Govinda became a practicing professional in the area of real estate, all the while still devoting much of his time to spiritual practice. At the age of 30, Govinda discovered the practice of Astanga Vinyasa Yoga and immediately fell in love with the practice.

 

In 1995, Govinda made his first trip to Mysore, India to practice with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. From 1995 to 2015, Govinda made over 20 trips to Mysore to practice Astanga with each trip lasting an average of 3-4 months. Govinda is one of a small number of teachers directly certified by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Govinda now spends a majority of his time travelling throughout the world to share his passion and experience in Astanga, devotional chanting and Yoga Philosophy.

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