Sri Dharma Mittra: Biography & Teachings Of Modern Luminary And Dharma Yoga Creator


As practicing yogis, we can learn so much from the teachers and gurus who have paved the path for many yoga students. They can be considered luminaries shining their wisdom of yoga upon aspirational practitioners like ourselves.

One such guiding light is Sri Dharma Mittra, the founder and creator of Dharma Yoga. This article will take you on a journey to learn more about this influential yoga teacher. We will explore the following:

  • Who is Sri Dharma Mittra?
  • What is Dharma Yoga?
  • The Dharma Yoga Teachings
  • Explanation of the Dharma Flow
  • The Benefits of Dharma Yoga
  • Overview of the Dharma Yoga Center

Who is Sri Dharma Mittra?

Sri Dharma Mittra was born as Dharma Prabhu Mittra in 1939 in Brazil. He had an early introduction to yoga at the age of 13 while living in Rio de Janeiro. He happened upon a book that depicted images of various yoga poses. He experimented with some of the postures shown in the book and thus began this young man’s yoga journey.

Dharma Mittra’s early intrigue for yoga eventually led him to explore more knowledge about his latest fascination. He began an adventure of guidance and understanding that resulted in journeying to the United States. He landed in New York City in 1964 which became his spiritual home.

While in New York, he had the privilege to study under the wisdom and guidance of Sri Swami Kailashananada (also known as Yogi Gupta). Under Yogi Gupta’s instruction, Dharma Mittra deepened his practice and delved into the more spiritual aspects of yoga.

His studies and intensive training included asana (physical yoga postures), deep meditation, and philosophy. This led to a deep wisdom of yoga and the establishment of Dharma Yoga.

Profoundly dedicated to the practice of yoga, Sri Dharma Mittra established the Dharma Yoga Center in 1967. Because of his devotion, he became known as a living legend in the world of yoga. He and his center inspired many individuals to embark on their yoga journeys.

As a side note, “Sri” (pronounced as “shree”) is a Sanskrit honorific title and an expression of respect and reverence. It is often used as a prefix before a person’s name, similar to titles like “Mr.” or “Ms.” in English.

In the context of yoga, “Sri” carries a deeper connotation, signifying a sense of sacredness, divinity, or auspiciousness. When used before the name of a yoga teacher or guru, as in “Sri Dharma Mittra,” it acknowledges their elevated spiritual status and the respect and reverence they command within the yoga community.

What is Dharma Yoga?

Dharma Yoga is a path of yoga that not only strengthens the physical body but is designed to nourish the soul and align one with their true purpose.

Inspired and developed by Sri Dharma Mittra, Dharma Yoga embodies the profound concept of ‘dharma’. This is a Sanskrit word that means ‘duty,’ ‘righteous path,’ or ‘law.’

In the context of Dharma Yoga, this concept goes beyond the mundane duties of daily life; it encompasses the spiritual duty or calling of an individual. Dharma is often described as the path we are meant to follow. It is the purpose that gives our life meaning and direction.

Central to the philosophy of Dharma Yoga is the idea of selfless service, or ‘seva,’ and compassion. Practitioners are encouraged to not only focus on their personal growth but also to contribute positively to the well-being of others. This, in essence, is the dharma of Dharma Yoga–living with a compassionate heart, striving for self-realization, and serving others.

The practice also emphasizes the importance of devotion and surrender. A fundamental part of Dharma Yoga is surrendering to a higher power, whether you define it as the universe, a divine force, or your inner self. It’s about letting go of ego and embracing humility, acknowledging that there’s something greater than ourselves guiding our journey.

The Dharma Yoga Teachings

Dharma Mittra’s teachings align with the Eight Limbs of Yoga, as outlined by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. These limbs offer a holistic framework for a balanced and fulfilling life.

From ethical guidelines (yamas and niyamas) to meditation, Dharma Yoga encourages practitioners to explore each limb, recognizing their interconnectedness.

The Eight Limbs of Yoga in Dharma Yoga

  • Ethical Guidelines (Yamas and Niyamas)

In the journey of self-realization, ethical conduct is of utmost importance. The yamas (restraints) and niyamas (observances) serve as a moral compass in Dharma Yoga.

Practitioners are encouraged to practice non-violence (ahimsa), truthfulness (satya), non-stealing (asteya), moderation (brahmacharya), and non-possessiveness (aparigraha). These guidelines help create a harmonious inner and outer environment.

  • Integration of Meditation and Mindfulness

Dharma Yoga places a strong emphasis on meditation and mindfulness practices. Regular meditation helps still the mind, leading to greater self-awareness and clarity. It’s a way to connect with your inner self and explore the depths of your consciousness.

  • Role of Asana Practice in Spiritual Growth

While Dharma Yoga encompasses a holistic approach to yoga, asana (physical postures) practice remains a vital component. These postures not only promote physical health but also prepare the body for meditation and spiritual exploration. Dharma Mittra’s teachings on asana encourage practitioners to embrace challenges with grace and develop unwavering focus.

Explanation of the Dharma Flow

Dharma Yoga also includes asana and the movement of the body. The Dharma Flow practice is a blend of dynamic sequences, pranayama (breathwork), meditation, and relaxation techniques. The Dharma Flow is a moving meditation that synchronizes the breath with the asanas, creating a seamless and profound experience on the mat.

The asana sequences in Dharma Flow are intelligently designed to challenge practitioners physically and mentally while emphasizing the importance of alignment and safety.

Each practice is a journey, guiding you through a range of postures, from invigorating backbends to calming forward folds.

Breathwork, or pranayama, plays a pivotal role in Dharma Flow. Conscious control of the breath not only energizes the body but also helps to steady the mind. As you move through the practice, you’ll learn to synchronize your breath with movement, enhancing your focus and presence on the mat.

Meditation and relaxation techniques in Dharma Flow serve as a bridge between the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. These moments of stillness allow you to delve deep within, connecting with your inner self and experiencing the peace that lies within you.

Benefits of Dharma Yoga

The practice of Dharma Yoga offers a multitude of benefits, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of well-being.

Physical Benefits

  1. Increased Flexibility and Strength: Dharma Flow’s dynamic asana sequences gradually increase flexibility and build strength, allowing you to explore your body’s full potential.
  2. Improved Posture and Balance: Regular practice helps correct poor posture habits and enhances balance, promoting a healthy, pain-free body.
  3. Enhanced Physical and Mental Resilience: The challenges presented in Dharma Flow build physical and mental resilience, helping you face life’s ups and downs with grace.

Mental and Emotional Benefits

  1. Stress Reduction and Emotional Balance: The meditative aspect of Dharma Yoga promotes stress reduction and emotional balance, helping you navigate life’s challenges with a sense of calm and steadiness.
  2. Increased Self-Awareness and Mindfulness: Through meditation and self-reflection, Dharma Yoga deepens self-awareness, fostering mindfulness in daily life.
  3. Cultivation of Inner Peace and Tranquility: The practice encourages inner peace, providing a sanctuary of calm in our often chaotic world.

Spiritual Benefits

  1. Deepening of the Spiritual Connection: Dharma Yoga’s emphasis on devotion and surrender strengthens your connection to the divine.
  2. Pursuit of Self-Realization and Inner Wisdom: As you progress in your practice, you’ll find yourself on a path of self-realization and inner wisdom, uncovering the depths of your true self.

Overview of the Dharma Yoga Center

The heart of Dharma Yoga beats within the Dharma Yoga Center, located in New York City. Founded by Sri Dharma Mittra in 1967, the Dharma Yoga Center has become a haven for yoga enthusiasts, spiritual seekers, and those looking to deepen their practice.

This vibrant and welcoming community serves as a testament to Dharma Mittra’s vision of making yoga accessible to all.

Programs and Classes Offered

The Dharma Yoga Center offers a diverse range of programs and classes tailored to practitioners of all levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced yogi, you’ll find classes that resonate with your needs and aspirations.

From gentle and restorative sessions to challenging Dharma Flow classes, the center provides a space for every practitioner to grow and evolve.

While Dharma Yoga may not be as widespread as some other yoga styles, you might still find Dharma-inspired classes at local yoga studios, especially in larger cities or regions with a strong yoga community.

  1. Certified Dharma Yoga Studios: Sri Dharma Mittra has trained numerous instructors who have gone on to open their own Dharma Yoga studios around the world. These certified studios offer classes and workshops based on the Dharma Yoga tradition. You can check the Dharma Yoga website or contact the center in New York for a list of certified studios in your area.
  2. Online Classes: In the digital age, many yoga instructors and studios offer online classes, including Dharma Yoga sessions. You can explore online platforms and websites associated with Dharma Yoga to find virtual classes and guided practices. These online resources make it convenient for practitioners to access Dharma Yoga from anywhere in the world.
  3. Yoga Retreats and Workshops: Sri Dharma Mittra and certified Dharma Yoga teachers often host yoga retreats and workshops in various locations. These events provide an immersive experience and an opportunity to deepen your practice while surrounded by like-minded individuals.

Teacher Training and Workshops

If you’re seeking to learn more about the wisdom of Dharma Yoga with the opportunity to share it with others, the center offers comprehensive teacher training programs.

These training programs are designed to equip aspiring yoga instructors with the knowledge and skills necessary to guide students on their yoga journeys.

Additionally, the center hosts workshops and retreats led by Sri Dharma Mittra and other renowned instructors. These immersive experiences provide an opportunity to delve deeper into various aspects of yoga, meditation, and self-realization.


If you’re seeking to deepen your yoga practice, Sri Dharma Mittra’s teachings, and the Dharma Yoga Center are available to guide you on your path. Embrace its offerings as you embark on your journey of self-discovery, compassion, and spiritual awakening.

For more readings about yoga history and yoga visionaries like Sri Dharma Mittra, take a look at our catalog of articles.

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John Cottrell is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist residing in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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