Ranged behind T.K.V. Desikachar, inheritor of a whole new service industry, yoga therapy could change the logistics of human body-mind-spirit repair forever
FATHER FIGUREThe sole access the world has to the Grand Seniorthe legend and progenitorof yoga therapy is through the Grand Junior, his son. You can rest assured that the image T.K.V Desikachar will paint for you of T.Krishnamacharya will be picture perfect and beyond the pale of criticism. One of his foreign students holds that over 90 percent of Desikachar's teachings are filial to a fault and loyal to his father almost up to the hour of his death in 1989. Even after his death the Gordian knot of duty locks father sand son, teacher and disciple, together.
In Desikachar's scheme of things, the genesis of "yoga therapy" centered on his father is of far greater import than any conceptual originality Desikachar might himself have shown through his long years of rigorous, unflinching apprenticeship. What he teaches today is in turn as much a yoga of temporal therapy as it is of prayer and genuflection to a life-enhancing concept that is eternal.
The teachings of the patriarch are like a generic raga pradhanto be sung or played strictly according to notations, originality limited only to choice of instrument or timbre of voice. In Krishnamacharya's arch traditional school of hard spiritual knocks, servitude was a sign of neither sin nor weakness but of right fully earned respect.
"We were," Desikachar said in an interview, "fifty years apart in age. His education and background were very different from mine, but what I remember most is that he always came to my level in working with me. I am a western-educated person and he was a traditional teacher".
Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was born on November 18, 1888 in a village in Mysore, India. Proud of its pedigree of piety, his family traced its lineage back to the sage Nathamuni, author of Krishnamacharya's and now Desikachar's Bible, the Yoga Rahasya. Enrolled at the clean - slate age of 12 years in Mysore's Brahmatantra Parakala Mutt and taught the thousands of nuances and niceties of the Vedas, he took a parallel course at the Royal College of Mysore. At 18, he sped to Banaras to study Sanskrit, logic and grammar, and returned to Mysore for the finishing touch.
Krishnamacharya then went on an extended peregrination for a decade: to North India to study Samkhya, the India's oldest and most venerated philosophical system and the roots of the yoga; then, in 1916, he traveled to the Himalayas and found his teacher, Ramamohan Brahmachari, who lived near Mansarovar. After seven hard years of learning the logistics of therapy and healing, he descended once again to the south to study ayurveda and the philosophy of nyaya. A Vedic school of logic. He returned to Mysore in 1924 and opened a school of yoga. With the local raja, or king, as his prize pupil and cash cow. For the next 22 years, Krishnamacharya dug in and taught at the school, and wrote his first book, Yoga Makarandam (Secrets of Yoga), at leisure.
It was in 1937 that he and his disciple and associate, K. Pattabhi Jois, had their first batch of foreign students. Two years later, his name had spread wide enough for a French medical team to make its way to him, intrigued by yoga's claim that it could help control heartbeat. It was his incontrovertible data that opened the sluicegates to the West, the hotbed of empiricism and cognitive proof. Yoga began to colonize the West.
In time, Krishnamacharya's native inventiveness made him draw up a template for yoga as therapy or service industrya function familiar to the West.
The foundation of yoga therapy was laid in 1976, when Desikachar and father decided to set up the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, literally a hospice of alternatives treatment, in Chennai, India. Krishnamacharya died in 1989, a centenarian with all faculties intact and at his beck and call till the last hour, satisfied that his sagacity would live on in his son, his teachings true to the tiniest decimal.
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