THE LINEAGE OF T. KRISHNAMACHARYA

T. Krishnamacharya was a modern yogi who revived the practice of yoga in India in the 20th century as its popularity began to decline. Often considered the forefather of modern yoga he spent a lifetime as a devout student of yoga and teacher to many. He became a Vedic scholar and master of Indian philosophies such as Ayurvedic medicine, a poet and author. He taught many yoga teachers whose paths have influenced the West including BKS Iyengar, Patabhi Jois and his own son TKV Desikachar. He developed the sequencing we now refer to as Vinyasa yoga, a fluid movement from posture to posture utilising correct breath emphasis and gradual progression from easier to more difficult postures.

Krishnamachaya’s teaching principle was simple – “Teach not as it applies to you, but as it applies to the other.” In other words, respect the individual in front of you and what may be possible for them. For this reason his teachings incorporated what we now call Yoga Therapy and the ability to prioritise a practice for the changing needs of a student. His ability to vary and modify a practice ensured there was no ‘one size fits all’ recipe to yoga teaching.

Krishnamacharya has left a legacy of rich teachings utilising the whole tools of yoga, not just postures for the body (asana.) Breath technique (pranayama), gestures (mudra), chant (mantra) and visualisation (bhavana) were all aspects of his teachings that recognise the multi layered human system and acknowledge that disease on one layer may ultimately affect other parts of the system. His teachings are holistic and mulit-dimensional in their scope.

Krishnamcharya’s legacy has continued through his son TKV Desikachar who became a well respected teacher in to many students from the West during his lifetime.  He established the KYM (Krishnamancharya Yoga Mandarim) in Chennai, India in 1998. The KYM continues to be a prominent school of yoga education to both Indian and Western students today.