(November 18, 1888 – February 28, 1989)
The following words from T Krishnamacharaya are a reminder of what yoga can always be:
“Inhale, and God approaches you.
Hold the inhalation, and God remains with you.
Exhale, and you approach God.
Hold the exhalation, and surrender to God”
In our modern material world, a place which restricts all of us within this present cycle of procession known as the Kali-Yuga, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that, in general, yoga has lost its spiritual and philosophical content, to the extent that our practice is primarily restricted to the physical form of yoga – Asana; with an ever increasing preoccupation with being better within that physical practice. Or, the other side of the modern yoga coin, trying too hard at being “spiritual” – possibly because we may feel by virtue of practicing yoga, then we should ultimately become a more spiritual human being. However, within the Kali-Yuga, these acts may be nothing less than a poor imitation of what yoga is.
The above words by Tirumalai Krishnamacharya helps direct us to a deeper sense of what yoga truly is and can be throughout these ever changing times.
“The Father of Modern day Yoga”
“Just as music without proper pitch and rhythm will not give any pleasure, similarly asana practice done without vinyasa krama will not give good health. When that is so, what more is there to say about long life and strength in this context?” — Sri T. Krishnamacharya.
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya’s belief was that anyone who wishes to practice yoga, no matter what age or ability should be able to. He was an Indian Yoga Teacher, Ayurvedic Healer and scholar who has often been spoken of as “The Father of Modern day Yoga” and credited with the revival of Hatha Yoga. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the Twentieth century.
Krishnamacharya began his studies in Mysore – aged 6. Later, hearing of a sage in Nepal, he traveled there by foot. After finding the sage Ramomohan Brahmachari in a cave in Mount Kailash in Nepal (and being accepted by him) he studied with Ramomohan Brahmachari for seven years. After which, he became the Yoga teacher of the Maharaja of Mysore and a Yoga school was created for him in Mysore, which he ran. He had a dream of spreading yoga around the world, it was during this period that Krishnamacharya became the teacher of such world renowned names like B. K. S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga).
Both Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S Iyengar applied and adapted the ancient teaching Krishnamacharya past onto them into the formats that are now well known throughout the modern world of yoga. Both of these students have all commented on the fact – whether using props as in Iyengar yoga, or the Vinyasa routines of pattabhi Jois’s yoga – that they were directly influenced by the techniques of Hatha yoga as taught by their teacher Krishnamacharya. It comes as a surprise to many to find out that ropes and props as in Iyengar yoga and the Vinyasa style of Ashtanga yoga have been practiced for millenia.
Some of Krishnamacharya’s other students include many of yoga’s most renowned teachers, like his son T Desikachar, Srivatsa Ramaswami who is the only remaining teacher outside of Krishnamacharya’s family who passes on his masters teachings – Vinyasa Krama Yoga and Indra Devi – His female student who spread his teaching in the USA.
You can watch a film from the 1930’s showing Krishnamacharya practising a dynamic style of Vinyasa Yoga here: View Youtube Video Here: