Today in Europe there is a going back to what is called alternative……


Viniyoga in Italia: Today in Europe there is a going back to what is called alternative medicines, like herbal treatment and the traditional dietary laws, thermal baths and other traditional treatments. Do you think these traditional approaches have a relevance in today’s world?

TKV Desikachar: Today these are even more relevant than before. Because we are becoming like machines. My mother used to give baths to my children. The love and care of the grandmother was there for the child. My father used to give baths to some of his students. He was giving oil-baths to his students, that is how he knew exactly what was happening to their body. He would massage and thus know. Today everything is mechanized. Today, when people take a bath, they have the phone, the radio, the television. Are they really bathing? Mostly it is just the bathtub that is having a bath.

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Do you think that a Yoga teacher in the West should go through some……


Question : Do you think that a Yoga teacher in the West should go through some therapy or analysis in order to be aware of the developments in this field and to meet the growing demand for psychological help?

Desikachar : The term “Yoga teacher in the West” seems to suggest that everyone has the same way of teaching. This is not so.

There are those who only give instructions about techniques, like explaining how to use a computer to someone. There is not a lot happening in this teaching situation and the awareness of psychological questions would seem relatively unimportant.

But there is another situation where techniques are not the only element involved. These Yoga teachers are personally concerned by the evolution of their students. They cannot be ignorant, otherwise it would be like the blind leading the blind.

In this second case, and I know many teachers in the West who do this, they look to have as comprehensive a knowledge as possible in many fields, including psychology. The way they go about it is up to them.

Interview with TKV Desikachar May 1999 during seminar on Yoga and the 21st Century.

In 1970, TKV Desikachar asked his father and guru, Shri T. Krishnamacharya……


In 1970, TKV Desikachar asked his father and Guru, Śrī T Krishnamacharya ten fundamental questions about Yoga. The following is an extract of one of the questions in the interview, which took place in the Kanada language.

“5A. Why are there so many different methods to hand down the teachings of a master? What are the reasons for this?
This situation comes from the absence of loyalty to only one master. The traditional method of teaching and of handing down the teaching is the Guru Paramparā. For a disciple, it consists of receiving the instructions of a master day after day, until there is enough knowledge. At the end of an assiduous study with the Teacher, the student progressively becomes a teacher himself and he starts teaching other disciples. This continuity, from teacher to student, in the same tradition, constitutes the Guru Paramparā. The high number of present methods is due to interruptions in the traditional system of handing down the teaching. It can also be due to the weakness of certain teachers.

5B. What are the consequences of these different methods?
The lowering of the average level and the weakening of the knowledge of the students of Yoga.

5C. What solutions can be proposed to mitigate this situation?
Nowadays, there is no solution to this problem.”

108 Chanting Practice Pointers – 1 – The practice of Bhakti Dhyānam outlined in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One……


The practice of Bhakti Dhyānam outlined in the Yoga Sūtra Chapter One
can utilise either Veda Mantra or Tantra Mantra.
The Veda focus is one of external harmony with the forces of nature (Tri Guṇa) and
the Tantra focus is one of internal empowerment within the forces of nature (Tri Guṇa).

Link to Series: 108 Chanting Practice Pointers

It is necessary to have a competent and accessible teacher.


“It is necessary to have a competent and accessible teacher.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

Prārthanā Ślokam – Patañjali Opening Dhyānaṃ Ślokam with Translation

This is a translation of part of the Opening Prayers as taught to TKV Desikachar by T Krishnamacharya and taught by TKV Desikachar to his personal students.

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Dhyānaṃ Ślokam relative to Patañjali.

योगेन चित्तस्य पदेन वाचां मलं शरीरस्य च वैद्यकेन ।
योऽपाकरोत् तं प्रवरं मुनीनां पतञ्जलिं प्राञ्जलिरानतोऽस्मि ॥

yogena cittasya padena vācāṃ malaṃ śarīrasya ca vaidyakena |
yo’pākarot taṃ pravaraṃ munīnāṃ patañjaliṃ prāñjalirānato’smi ||

  ‘Yoga for the psyche,
 grammar for speech and medicine for impurities of the body.
Coming from the lineage of teachers, to Patañjali I salute.’

आबाहु पुरुषाकारं शङ्खचक्रासि धारिणम् ।
सहस्र शिरसं श्वेतं प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिम् ॥

ābāhu puruṣākāraṃ śaṅkhacakrāsi dhāriṇam |
sahasra śirasaṃ śvetaṃ praṇamāmi patañjalim ||

 ‘Up to the shoulders human form, holding conch, disc, sword.
One thousand heads white to Patañjali I salute.’

श्रीमते अनन्ताय नागराय नमो नमः ॥

śrīmate anantāya nāgarājāya namo namaḥ ||

 ‘To venerable, eternal serpent king, Nāga, my reverences.’

It was learnt by heart as a Bhāvanam for Dhyānaṃ, to create a meditational mood linked to Patañjali prior to commencing either chanting practice or textual study of the Yoga Sūtra.

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Dhyānaṃ Ślokam for Patañjali with translation.

View or Download the Yoga Sūtra Full Opening Prayers with Chant Notations (without translation)

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Śuklām Opening Verse with Translation

View or Download the Prārthanā Ślokam (Request Prayer) – Gurubhyastad Opening Verse with Translation

Listen or Download the Yoga Sūtra Full Dhyānaṃ Ślokam for Patañjali by TKV Desikachar as a sound file.

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Although Krishnamacharya came from a strict Indian tradition……


T Krishnamacharya at 91

“Although Krishnamacharya came from a strict Indian tradition,
he liberated the restrictions.
He segregated his personal beliefs from his teaching
and his interest in the different texts on Yoga and Vedānta.

It isn’t necessary to be a Hindu to practice Yoga,
the Hindu text, the Brahma Sūtra refute Yoga.
In the Yoga Sūtra of Patañjali God is not emphasised.

Hindus have taken advantage of Yoga,
Brahmin rituals use Yoga breathing,
even if it is only symbolic and they use Mantra.

Krishnamacharya didn’t mix the different teachings,
he didn’t start a class with prayers when he worked with foreigners.”
From study notes with TKV Desikachar England 1992

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108 Teaching Path Pointers – 2 – viniyoga or application of Yoga according to……


TKV Desikachar taught the viniyoga of Yoga,
or application of Yoga according
to state of life, place, time and circumstance
to optimise the student’s potential within
that situation as seen from his
own, forever evolving, innovating and
maturing, developmental teaching thread.

Link to Series: 108 Teaching Path Pointers

Āyurveda & Yoga – Dravya and Rasa, Substance and Taste within Food – Part 9 of 12


“All food is medicine, all medicine is food.”

Āyurveda was the one of the first medical systems to realise the crucial importance of the kind of food we eat and to appreciate the interaction between health and disease, disease and food, and food and health. It will be from this point that this article will explore the question of diet by examining the concepts of elements and taste in food.

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Gāyatrī Mantra as taught by T Krishnamacharya – with translation


tat savitur vareṇiyaṃ
That sun most excellent

bhargo devasya dhīmahi |
on the radiance of the Divine I meditate |

dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||
wisdom may (that radiance) our impel |

“I meditate on the divine radiance

of the most excellent sun.

May it impel my wisdom.”

Gāyatrī is a particular ancient metre or rhythmic pattern of twenty-four syllables generally composed as a triplet of three lines with eight syllables in each line.
Hence T Krishnamacharya’s view that Om is not a component part of this Mantra, though it may be added as an accompaniment if appropriate, according to the students background, interest and understanding.

View or Download this post in Romanised Saṃskṛta with a translation and traditional chanting notations.

So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture……


So if certain Yoga Sādhana have a place in another culture we must consider whether this symbol (Om) has a place with people who don’t understand it.”

TKV Desikachar – Lecture on September 5th 1983 in Zinal, Switzerland (Fuller notes on this lecture yet to be posted)