The success of yoga does not lie in the ability to perform posturse, but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.
– TKV Desikachar
The legendary yoga therapy master and son of Krishnamacharya passed on at age 78 on August 8.
Desikachar’s father and teacher Krishnamacharya, commonly deemed as ‘the father of modern yoga', was also a great teacher and influencer himself. Initially studied engineering, he started learning from his father at age 30 when he realized the therapeutic aspects of the practice. He continued to learn from Krishnamacharya the next thirty years until his father’s death in 1989. Desikachar’s therapeutic yoga program, called Vinyoga, focuses on the student’s individual condition. In a Viniyoga practice, you can expect asana, pranayama, meditation and chanting. The practice is so adaptable that it makes yoga available to those with physical limitations, including injuries, illness or age.
In 1966, when yoga was not a serious profession, the popularity of yoga turned when Desikachar began teaching J. Krishnamurti. He was a famous French philosopher whose health improved significantly under the guidance of Desikachar. Eventually, many of Krishnamurti’s followers like Gerald Blitz and Rukimini Devi Arundale also became Desikachar’s student.
Desikachar did not impress the world with fanciful philosophies or impressive feats of yogasana, but rather, his method encouraged individuals to attune inward with childlike curiosity. In spite of his link to one of the most illustrious yoga lineages, Desikachar did not advocate in preserving any ancient doctrines. If there was a doctrine, to him it was that of human suffering and the human quest to happiness. Thus his unique yoga method remained undogmatic, secular and inquisitorial.
In 1976, Desikachar founded Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) in Chennai where, today, almost 1000 students visit monthly. In keeping with Patanjali’s philosophy, the KYM has played a significant role in propagating yoga as a holistic method with a strong theoretical basis. There are many great projects continuing at the center one of which is KYM- Mitra, a commitment to offering yoga training to socially and economically underprivileged as a means to empower the recipient with tools for improving health, vitality and confidence.
Desikachar had also written many great books including The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice, which is quoted by Indra Devi ‘an invaluable source of yoga practice and theory for teachers and students alike.’
Goodbye to a great master in yoga, yoga therapy and spirituality.