Sharmila Desai was first introduced to Ashtanga yoga by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath when she visited Mysore in 1997. She has continued to study regularly at the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute and is Certified by the Institute to teach the Ashtanga yoga system. She is also a trained prenatal yoga teacher.
Sharmila comes from a matrilineal line of renowned Indian dancers, who raised her with the importance of spiritual discipline and ancient art in contemporary daily life. The book Sristi documents her dance lineage and chronicles her performances worldwide. On graduating from Columbia University, Sharmila was awarded the Henry Evans Fellowship to set up a dance program for street children in Mumbai, India.
She has also taught yoga therapy workshops to the Southall Black Sisters in the UK and to South Asian Youth Action in Queens, New York.Sharmila lives in New York City with her husband and two children. She returns yearly to study with R. Sharath and Saraswathi in Mysore with her family.