Sharmila Desai was first introduced to Ashtanga yoga by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath Jois when she visited Mysore in 1997. She has continued to study regularly at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute and is one of few worldwide to be Certified by the Institute to teach the Ashtanga yoga system. Her most recent book Yoga Sadhana for Mothers published by YogaWords and co written with Anna Wise is the first book on the subject of Ashtanga Yoga, pregnancy, birth and motherhood drawing from the oral tradition of her Guruji's family and shared experiences from many of his most devoted women students.
Sharmila comes from a matrilineal line of renowned Indian classical dancers and intellectuals who raised her with the importance of spiritual discipline and ancient art in contemporary daily life. The book Sristi published by Trolley Books in London documents her dance lineage and chronicles her performances worldwide with contributions from Karole Armitage, Olivier Berggruen, Jeffrey Deitch as well as Sting and Trudie Styler.
On graduating from Columbia University, Sharmila was awarded the Henry Evans Fellowship to set up a dance program for street children in Mumbai, India. Believing in the importance of Seva as part of spiritual practice, she has also taught yoga therapy workshops internationally and runs a community garden at her children's school. Sharmila continues to make yearly pilgrimages to study with her teacher Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois in Mysore, cherishing her time to be a student and to go deeper into the ocean that is yoga.