TKV Desikachar – Our Cherished Bridge To The Source

TKV Desikachar

If the name TKV Desikachar is new to you, we feel privileged to provide you an introduction to this cherished beacon of yoga’s wisdoms, who helped sow the seeds of global modern yoga outside of India.

TKV Desikachar (1938 – 2016) is a well-known and respected figure in the history of modern yoga. The son of legendary Tirumalai Krishnamacharya  – referred to as the father of modern yoga – Desikachar was part of a group of students under the tutelage of Krishnamacharya in his home country of India. 

Krishnamacharya had left an evolutionary footprint on postural yoga, cementing the concepts of an intelligent and sequential flow of movements for individualised and therapeutic benefit, and linking movement to breath.

Desikachar & Krishnamacharya with Indra Devi

Krishnamacharya is the source of our teachings here at The Yoga Institute, thanks to Desikachar, whose English language skills & travels, combined with his extraordinary understanding of his father’s deep reservoir of knowledge and his disarming & loving ways, enabled him to live as an embodied bridge between the ancient wisdom derived from his father, and the peoples of westernised nations like Australia and New Zealand.

In the latter part of the 20th century, Desikachar and his fellow students took his father’s teachings to every corner of the globe like seedlings in the wind and cemented the basis of modern yoga as we know it globally today. 

He was particularly instrumental in securing movement linked with breath and proliferating the teaching approach developed by his father, known as viniyoga. That is, that yoga is most effective when the teacher has the skills and care to adapt yoga to the unique needs, conditions and interests of the individual in question, rather than making the individual adapt to a certain style of yoga.   

And just as his father had sought to unify different branches of yoga, Desikachar was also a force for unity: he wanted this beautiful teaching approach to flourish, but was happy for it to lose any attachment to a name or ‘brand’, knowing that labels would only lead to separateness in yoga.  For Desikachar, it was simply Yoga, with a capital Y, tailored for each person’s needs.

Our Connection to Desikachar

Founder and director of The Yoga Institute, Michael de Manincor, was so inspired by Desikachar’s book, The Heart of Yoga, that he sought Desikachar out to take his already long-established yoga practice and knowledge, to a new and deeper level. Michael had the great fortune to be taught and mentored by TKV Desikachar, both in India and Australia, over an expanse of years in the new millennium, and credits their connection with forever changing his life. Their student-mentor relationship (and friendship) endured until Desikachar’s passing in 2016.

Here Michael shares some of his favourite illuminations from Desikachar

Their connection has lead to the transmission of yoga’s wisdom to countless people here in Australia, who have sought out The Yoga Institute to take their yoga deeper, and bring about a shift in their own lives.  

During a visit to Australia many years ago, when Michael asked Desikachar how to thank him, he replied, “Keep the river flowing”, and to this day, that is our mission here at The Yoga Institute, to help more and more people access the authentic, transformative and healing powers of yoga. 

Here at The Yoga Institute, each 21st day of June, we joyfully celebrate the birthday of TKV Desikachar in conjunction with the International Day of Yoga!

Hear Desikachar Share His Wisdom

Watch the gentle and wise Desikachar discuss yogic concepts in this video here (with gratitude to fellow student and friend of Desikachar, Mark Whitwell)

Written by Nicole Small, The Yoga Institute

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