Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya

The father of modern hatha yoga

A modern exponent of Asana, Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (November 18, 1888 – February 28, 1989) was an Indian yoga teacher, ayurvedic healer and scholar. Often referred to as "the father of modern yoga," Krishnamacharya is widely regarded as one of the most influential yoga teachers of the 20th century and is credited with the revival of hatha yoga.

Krishnamacharya held degrees in all the six Vedic darśanas, or Indian philosophies. While under the patronage of the Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Krishnamacharya traveled around India giving lectures and demonstrations to promote yoga, including such feats as stopping his heartbeat. He is widely considered as the architect of vinyasa, in the sense of combining breathing with movement.

Underlying all of Krishnamacharya’s teachings was the principle “Teach what is appropriate for an individual.” While he is revered in other parts of the world as a yogi, in India Krishnamacharya is mainly known as a healer who drew from both ayurvedic and yogic traditions to restore health and well-being to those he treated. He authored four books on yoga—Yoga Makaranda, Yogaasangalu, Yoga Rahasya, and Yogavalli—as well as several essays and poetic compositions.

Some of Krishnamacharya's students include many of yoga’s most renowned teachers: his son T.K.V. Desikachar (b. 1938), Indra Devi (1900-2002), his brother-in-law B.K.S. Iyengar (b. 1918), K. Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009), and A. G. Mohan (b. 1945).

In response to a question that asana has almost no mention in the Hindu literature and that calisthenics or physical exercises were introduced to India by the British:
One could also reflect that the few basic poses mentioned in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika were to compliment the lifestyle of the (generally fit and flexible before occupation) people enabling them to find that comfortable position for prolonged meditations and it could also be argued that this was the Indian innovation of calisthenics, a reversal of the westernisation of yoga but it certainly set the stage for the yoga being propagated around the world today which is labelled as one of India's biggest exports along with the very concept of Dharma.
One must also remember that Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was not living in a vacuum, he and his most notable acolytes were drawing on the ancient wisdom of India through their network of peers in addition to accessing some of the latest science and technology, in particular knowledge of the human body which they expanded upon using meditative insight to create what is perhaps the most amazing system for self-knowledge and physical maintenance in accord with the wisdom that shaped Sanatana Dharma.

"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" ~ Krishnamacharya

Krisnamacharya Yoga Film 1938 (silent)
Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram is one of Chennai’s most well-known yoga landmarks is Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM). Established by TKV Desikachar in 1976 as a non-profit Public Charitable Trust, KYM is among the premier centres of yoga and yoga therapy in India. This is a resource and part of Krishnamacharya's great legacy.


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