Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, is an Indian yogi, mystic, philanthropist and author of over 100 titles in 8 different languages. He founded the Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation which offers yoga programs around the world, including India, United States, England, Lebanon, Singapore, Canada, Malaysia, Uganda and Australia. The Foundation is also involved in various social and community development activities, which have resulted in the Foundation being granted special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Born into a Telugu family in Mysore, Karnataka on Tuesday 3 September 1957 to Susheela and Dr. Vasudev, Jagadish was the youngest of the Vasudev's four children – two boys and two girls. Sadhguru's father was an ophthalmologist with the Indian Railways and as a result, the family moved frequently. At a young age, Jagadish, or Jaggi as he came to be known, developed an interest in nature and would frequently make trips into nearby forests which would sometimes last up to three days at a time. At the age of 11, Jaggi came in contact with Malladihalli Sri Raghavendra Swamiji who taught him a set of simple yoga asanas, the practice of which he regularly maintained. Sadhguru states that "without a single day's break, this simple yoga that was taught to him kept happening and led to a much deeper experience later."
After finishing his schooling, he graduated from the University of Mysore with a bachelor's degree in English Literature, standing second in his class. During his college years, he developed an interest in travel and motorcycles. A frequent haunt of his and his friends was the Chamundi Hill near Mysore, where they often had get-togethers and nocturnal drives. He also travelled to various places in the country on his motorcycle. When he reached the Indo-Nepal border, he was stopped from entering Nepal because he did not possess a passport. This experience made him resolve "to earn some quick money," and just ride off somewhere where people couldn't stop him. This led him to open several successful businesses after graduation, including a poultry farm, a brickworks and a construction business
At the age of twenty-five on 23 September 1981, he rode up Chamundi Hill and sat on a rock, when he had a spiritual experience. Sadhguru describes his experience, "Till that moment in my life I always thought this is me and that's somebody else and something else. But for the first time I did not know which is me and which is not me. Suddenly, what was me was just all over the place. The very rock on which I was sitting, the air that I breathe, the very atmosphere around me, I had just exploded into everything. That sounds like utter insanity. This, I thought it lasted for ten to fifteen minutes but when I came back to my normal consciousness, I was about four-and-a-half-hours I was sitting there, fully conscious, eyes open, but time had just flipped."Six weeks after this experience, he left his business to his friend and travelled extensively in an effort to gain insight into his 'mystical' experience. After a year of meditation and travel, Sadhguru decided to teach yoga to share his inner experience.
In 1983, he conducted his first yoga class with seven participants in Mysore. Over time, he began conducting yoga classes across Karnataka and Hyderabad travelling from class to class on his motorcycle. He lived off the proceeds of his poultry farm rental and refused payment for the classes. A usual practice of his was to donate the collections received from participants to a local charity on the last day of the class. These initial programs were the basic format on which the Isha Yoga classes were later built.