That is why in Yoga the word for earning confidence is ‘Atha’……


Question from Paul Harvey

Would you say that this response is true for the West, because I know in India the role of relationship, especially with the teacher, is much more pronounced, much more prominent, much more an accepted part of society, whereas in the West we tend to live in a more remote way and therefore using books, using videos is much more acceptable for us in terms of relationships.

Do you feel that your words, which have come out of another culture in our society, can have the same impact for us in the West where we are much more used to going to the bookshop, much more used to being able to do it ourselves.

Also, it is almost for us in the West to be seen as a failure if I have to go to somebody. Sometimes when people go into therapy they regard it as a failure that they have to go to a therapist and talk to someone because I am not able to do it myself.

Response from TKV Desikachar

You know Paul I am not just of India, I am also of South India and there people like you come to see me in India. Once there is some confidence I do not see much difference between East and West, it is a question earning the confidence.

That is why in Yoga the word for earning confidence is ‘Atha’, now I am ready. It is the first word in the Yoga Sūtra, so I as a teacher have to put in more effort to understand that, in a society where relationships are breaking, people are more comfortable with a video than a human being.

With all due respect, in India we have the opposite problem, we have confidence in too many people so that is really why people are sometimes confused, so we have to do something else there.

So it is not Indians basically, but earning confidence is the first step in this type of work. This confidence may come because of how I am with the person or even sometimes when you consider me as an authority, confidence may be there.

Extract from Interview with TKV Desikachar by Paul Harvey in 2000
on ‘Science, Medical Conditions and Yoga as a Therapy’.

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