What I learned from T K V Desikchar by Michael de Manincor

After 15 years of my own yoga practice, completion of teacher training and yoga therapy training programmes, and many years as a yoga teacher, including running our own yoga studio, I went to India to study at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM). My first trip was January 2001, when I met Mr TKV Desikachar.

We soon established a great connection, and he accepted our invitation to come to Sydney to teach at our centre later that year. As we walked Sydney’s botanical gardens, he agreed to accept me as a student, and be my teacher. I visited India many times in the following years, and continued my studies and practice under his guidance, which included the development of my own personal practice.

Here are some of those key learnings:

“Yoga is all about the breath” T.V.K. Desikachar

I’d been practicing Yoga for many years before I understood the significance of this. Through a deeper connection with and discovery of the importance of the breath, I realise it’s much more than co-ordinating breathing with movements and postures. It has led me into a deeper experience of my mind, my emotions, my health and vitality, consciousness and the meaning of my own existence. And these discoveries have been profound.

“Yoga must be made to suit the individual, rather than the individual adapting him or her self to the style of Yoga” T.V.K. Desikachar

When we are beginning in Yoga, we often find ourselves trying to do what everyone else is doing in the yoga class.  This is very natural and understandable way of learning something new. However, Yoga is and always has been, about discovering what works for us and what doesn’t, and we generally won’t discover that if we are adapting ourselves to what other people are doing. It is a very personal experience, to be discovered in our own individual way.


“As change occurs in our lives, our Yoga practice needs to change, evolve and adapt”

T.V.K. Desikachar

When we start out in Yoga, we generally do anything that works for us. e.g. somewhere local, and practical. As we continue the journey of Yoga practice, we find that our needs change and if we keep doing the same Yoga practice, it may no longer be helpful us.

“The success of Yoga does not rely on our ability to perform postures but on how it positively changes our lives and our relationships” T.V.K Desikachar

The practice of asana (postures) is an important, but small aspect of Yoga. A broader understanding and experience of Yoga is best understood in an exploration of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras: the heart of all Yoga teachings. This can lead us through truly transformative experiences in our lives, and the most important part of which, is in our relationships, including our relationship with ourselves.

I have often felt that I was just in the right place at the right time, to have been blessed with this opportunity. My relationship with Mr Desikachar has been one of the greatest blessings of my life, both personally and professionally, and I am forever grateful. 

by Michael de Manincor

Read more about Michael’s time with TKV Desikachar here 

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