Celebrity yoga guru dies at 93

Yoga practitioners perform sun salutations in Sydney October 10, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Krishna Pattabhi Jois, the modern guru of ashtanga yoga popularized by celebrities such as Sting and Madonna, has died, according to his institute’s website.

Jois, who studied ashtanga yoga from the age of 12, is credited with popularizing in the West one of the most rigorous forms of yoga. He died on Monday.

Jois, whose grandson Sharath is co-director of the yoga institute in Mysore, taught ashtanga yoga to his first western student in 1964.

He visited the United States first in 1975, and also took his brand of yoga -- which focuses on synchronizing postures with breathing and claims to cleanse the body by heating the blood -- to Europe.

Reporting by Rina Chandranl Editing by David Fox