Mukunda Stiles Feb. 24, 1949 – Feb. 18, 2014

Mukunda Stiles

I just received this notice from Chinnamasta about the passing of her beloved, Mukunda Stiles.

Mukunda and I worked together on the board of Unity in Yoga, and kept in touch over the years.  I knew he had been quite ill recently, but had thought he made a recovery when I saw he was teaching again.

He will be missed.

If you have any remembrances of Mukunda you would like to share, please post them as comments below.

Comments (11)

I have fond memories of Mukunda. Always a smile and a laugh and a great guy. I was his room mate at one conference we did together and we got to know each other pretty well. I too thought he had recovered. He’ll be missed by the many who loved him.

I was at a workshop that Mukunda lead in Denver CO many years ago and he made me fall in love with the Warrior Series. His teaching was very inspired and loving. I will always hold him in my heart and I will think of him every time I strike a Warior Pose.

Deborah Quilter

Honoring Mukunda: Teacher, Spiritual Advisor, Mentor, Friend

I met Mukunda during an introduction to Structural Yoga Therapy in New York City probably in the early 2000’s. While I didn’t take the full training for various reasons that he fully understood, I studied with Mukunda as often as I could. We also had a long and deep correspondence .
What drew me to him was his satsang. He was clear about putting Spirit first. His words pierced the heart of this student. I hungered for such wisdom all my life. Whatever he said had much truth, insight and power behind it. I could ask about anything, and he always had the perfect reply. He saw into my true self. He showed enormous gentleness pointing out my foibles (and how to fix them going forward). “Kindness is my religion,” he once said, quoting the Dalai Lama. Mukunda personified this quality. He was the best friend anyone could want.
Mukunda mentored and encouraged my teaching, answered endless queries with lightning-like clarity. I loved receiving his e-mails; they were riddled with typos and haiku-like in their brevity. His wisdom revealed itself in layers and sometimes I had to read his missives over and over before I penetrated what he was trying to get across. I still haven’t completely plumbed the depths of his writings to me. In retrospect, he planted seeds he knew I would discover later. What genius. Mukunda seemed to see my future, and was always one or two steps ahead of me.
On one occasion, I bemoaned never being able to repay his generosity. I was drowning in debt to him. “Your sadhana is to accept what is given as my prana or spirit. Let it become you. That is how you honor this relationship,” he replied.
He always cared, he was always present. He gave priceless advice. Now he’s not around to answer the aching question: How do we get along without him?
In the last correspondence I received from him, he wrote: “Stop wanting what is not there. Want what is there and be glad for what is taken away.”

With great respect and love,

Deborah Devi Quilter

During my 40 years of practice, I can say Mukunda has one of the most influential masters I have had the privilege of experiencing.
With love and respect
Yolanda Olsen

Elizabeth Chandler Patric

I will never forget Mukunda Stiles. I was one of Shar Lee’s first group (there were 5 of us) of students to become certified. The lineage was that Shar’s teacher was Mukunda and he came several times to train us during our certification period with Shar. The first time I heard him chant I burst into tears and cried for several hours. I remember asking him (rather naively:) during a special one on one session with him that was part of our training, how far more advanced I had to be then my students. His answer “at least 2 weeks.” 🙂
Mukunda was a master of anatomy and so much of my training is based on his words and explanations. His counsel related to the yoga sutras is with me in every moment as a compass as to how to conduct and perceive my life. What a loss for our earthy dimension, but a huge gain for the heavens, and no doubt he is with each and everyone of those he touched in some way on other dimensions.

Learning from him in a Workshop in Tuscon, AZ after the release of Structural Yoga Therapy: Adapting to the Individual was a life changing experience for me. His gentle strength, acute eye and clear information were a blessing to all who listened. I refer to his teaching, my notes, his book and what I learned during those days with him more frequently than any other teacher. His translation of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras was a revelation to me. His wisdom has brought light that continues to shine.

I was blessed to learn from and work with Mukunda. His smile, compassion, and passion for sharing wisdom fill me with gratitude for the ever-present and inspiring effect of his presence.

Maria Valenzuela

I first Mukunda in Atlanta, Georgia, during my teacher training period at Kashi yoga studio.
I simply fell in love with his spirit, his strong gentleness and his unconventional way of teaching technique. He influenced me enormously to this day, and every time I am trying forcefully to get an asana ‘right’ I remember him saying that I could get it done however I felt was right for myself. He said to me, form is important but so is your happiness in a posture. I can be more gentle with myself, thanks to my beloved Mukunda!
I had been wanting to go to one of his workshops, anywhere, but I was too late. I will miss his existence on this plane.
Namaste, Mukunda Stiles.

TMS was my teacher in Brookline, Ma. during the mid nineties. I even managed to complete part of his YTT. He was a master of yoga even then. His ability to chant, ease in asana, and ability to sequence on the spot amazes me to this day. I have had many yoga teachers since TMS but he stands out as a true master. I will always be sorry I did not continue to study with him. Tom went on to develop and refine his structural yoga and this is a gift to the yoga community. You will be missed.

I spent time with Mukunda in Boston in the early 90s. He was a yogi through and through. He also really longed for his consort because that was his Path…I am so joyful knowing that he finally connected with his Beloved in an earthly form. I am sure his divine relationship with Chinnamasta completed him in a way that he was deeply deeply grateful for and completed by. What a beautiful last chapter to his earthly journey.

christine rodgers

What sad news.I attended JFS Workshop in Princeton,N.J. in 2002(not sure of date).He gave permission to everyone to use is JFS asanas I have done so for about 8 yrs.and I can’t express how great students feel.God Bless you, Thanks for sharing your kindness and genius !!!

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