Yoga guru T.K.V. Desikachar no more

Updated - November 17, 2021 02:32 am IST

Published - August 08, 2016 09:22 am IST - Chennai

Desikachar practicing yoga, while his teacher and father T. Krishnamacharya looks on.

Desikachar practicing yoga, while his teacher and father T. Krishnamacharya looks on.

T.K.V. Desikachar, who transformed the way yoga was practised and turned it into both a wellness concept and a therapy, died early on Monday.

The yoga master who died aged 78 had been ailing for a while.

Mr. Desikachar, who had made the city his home, moved from Mysore in the early 1960s.

The son of T. Krishnamacharya, popularly acknowledged as the ‘father of modern yoga’, he dabbled with engineering before he learnt yoga from his father.

He was so struck by what yoga could do that he decided to persist and help others with tailor-made yoga programmes. He called this style viniyoga.

In an article Mr. Desikachar wrote for The Hindu five years ago, he reminisced how yoga gained popularity when he started teaching famous philosopher J. Krishnamurti in January 1966.

Exactly 10 years later, he founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram where, today, about 1,000 students visit every month to learn yoga.

His sense of humour, simplicity and sincerity define him, his disciples say. N. Kumar, vice chairman of the Sanmar Group, says, “He knew what problems each of disciples came for and the kind of therapy that was needed. For instance, I had a severe back problem and didn’t get any relief from medicines. Then, when I met him, he taught some simple exercises that greatly helped.”

Padmini Narendran, another disciple of Mr. Desikachar, says he was sharp in diagnosis and knew how to deal with each one’s ailment. Mr. Desikachar firmly believed that Vedic chanting could cure any ailment. S. Sridharan, trustee, The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, recollects when his guru visited his residence to chant when he was bedridden.

‘A surreal experience’

“It happened eight years back. I was down with high fever and body ache just before my 60{+t}{+h}birthday. Just when I decided to call off the celebrations, my guru came to visit. For three days, he would chant for about an hour and the third day I was back on my feet. It was remarkable and surreal,” he adds.

He felt yoga should be taught according to the individual needs of each person, Mr. Sridharan says. “His father Krishnamacharya’s (referred to as “the father of modern yoga”) teachings were based on Vedas; they are tough to decipher. This changed when Mr. Desikachar came; he demystified and interpreted them with a practical approach,” he adds.

“His father was his Guru and God. He treated his values as religion,” he says.

> Also read: When T.K.V. Desikachar spoke to The Hindu about teaching yoga to J. Krishnamurti, popularising the discipline, and making the city of Chennai his own

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