A Reference list on teaching resources around Śrī T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar.
Today, my teachers 78th Birthday, is again one of mixed emotions and reflections on his life and although his mental and, I am led to believe, physical health is increasingly fragile these days, it’s hard to talk about honouring his birthday when I/we have no real idea as to how he actually is or even if he is in a condition to know about it, let alone appreciate birthday wishes and greetings from those around the world who care.
However within this poignant question of how or even where Desikachar is in himself, I remain eternally grateful for the intimacy and vitality of the years between 1979 and 2002 we shared together as teacher and pupil working within 121 lessons in his home, during my thirty plus study and practice stays in Madras
Whilst living in Madras from 1979-1981 I was at an event in Chennai in June 1980 where BKS Iyengar was invited to give a Yoga lecture and Āsana demonstration in a tribute to his Guru T Krishnamacharya.
Krishnamacharya consented to attend as the guest of honour and I was able to take a number of personal photos during this event, including Mr Iyengar demonstrating Āsana.
This particular picture shows T Krishnamacharya and BKS Iyengar sitting together during the salutary addresses.
This one is for aficionados of T Krishnamacharya’s personal and ancestral Sampradāya or Vaiṣṇavite tradition of Viśiṣṭādvaita, as well as interest in research into the lives of his forebears, in this case Śrī Yāmunācārya.
‘Did Yāmunācarya visit Kashmir’, is an article by V Varadachari first published in The Journal of Oriental Research Madras in 1992.
This possibility was also discussed by the renowned scholar and practitioner of Kashmir Shivaism, Mark Dyczkowski, in his book ‘The Doctrine of Vibration’ on Page 2 and expanded regarding Yāmunācarya and Kashmir in the footnotes on page 221.
All in all this serves to remind us of the eminent lineage and potent ancestry that fed Krishnamacharya’s lifelong relationship with the teachings of his forebears Śrī Nāthamuni and Yāmunācārya.
As well as his dedication to other important Viśiṣṭādvaita teachers within his Sampradāya, such as TKV Desikachar’s fourteenth century namesake Veṅkaṭanātha Deśika. Veṅkaṭanātha Deśika was an eminent Śrī Vaiṣnava Guru, a poet, devotee, philosopher and master-teacher.
Krishnamacharya named his son TKV Desikachar with the Tirumalai and Krishna relating to the village of origin and immediate family title and Veṅkaṭanātha Deśikachar after Veṅkaṭanātha Deśika, hence TKV Desikachar.
A collation of articles by Srivatsa Ramaswami around the teachings of
T Krishnamacharya published in the ‘Indian Review’ circa 1979-1981.
List of Articles and Indications of Content:
Downloadable film ‘100 Years of Beatitude’ digitalised from a video of a 1989 documentary honouring Śrī T Krishnamacharya at the time of his centennial celebrations.
The research and commentary for the film was by Sarah Dars, who also contributed several articles to the special December 1989 edition of the Viniyoga Journal on Krishnamacharya’s life.
The introduction to one of her articles, entitled ‘At the Foot of the Mountain’ read:
“Yogin, Āyurveda physician, teacher of the Mahārājah , master of Mīmāmsā, Nyāya, Sāṃkhya,…..
It is impossible to come to the end of the long list of areas in which Krishnamacharya excelled, as he was also an astrologer, multi lingual , Saṃskṛta scholar, poet, musician………
A totally exceptional person, wreathed in legend, to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain…”
Amongst my various meetings with Krishnamacharya I remember attending public lectures and the phrase ‘to whom one listens as if seated at the foot of the mountain’ captures the spirit of his understanding of Yoga.
A selection of Āsana from the book Yogāsanagalu by written by T Krishnamacharya in 1941. The third edition, published in 1972, contained Āsana demonstration pictures of Krishnamacharya then aged 84. Featured in this post are further examples of Seated Āsana, click to enlarge image or view as a slide show:
A short clip extracted from a video of T Krishnamacharya practising as part of his Yoga Cikitsā or Yoga therapeutics when recovering from a hip fracture from a fall in 1984 when aged 96. Apologies for the quality, the original cassette is a bit flakey.
In 2000 TKV Desikachar presented teachings around the evolution of T Krishnamacharya’s Yoga teaching.
The above summary is available as a Downloadable PDF.
Excerpts from an essay by T Krishnamacharya Downloadable as a PDF.
Summarised and translated from the Saṃskṛta essay of T Krishnamacharya composed in January 1981, by TKV Desikachar and Sujaya Sridhar.
Originally published in KYM Darśanam February 1991.
A selection of Āsana from the book Yogāsanagalu by written by T Krishnamacharya in 1941.
The third edition, published in 1972, contained Āsana demonstration pictures of Krishnamacharya then aged 84.
Featured in this post are examples of Seated Āsana, click to enlarge image or view as a slide show:
Released on the occasion of the Pāduka Pratiṣṭhā of Sri T Krishnamacharya on 15th March 1991 by the KYM.
A Prāṇāyāma Practice passed onto me many decades ago as a Pakkā (Pukka) teaching from Pattabhi Jois:
1. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
2. Inhale-Exhale Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
3. Inhale Hold 30″ Exhale – 3 Breaths
4. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
5. Inhale Hold 20″ Exhale Stop 20″ – 2 Rounds N.S.
6. Inhale R Hold 20″ Exhale R Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
7. Inhale L Hold 20″ Exhale L Stop 20″ – 3 Breaths
8. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
9. Bhastrika 50 breaths + 15″ Hold
10. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
11. Inhale R Hold 60″ Exhale L – 3 Breaths
12. Inhale L Hold 60″ Exhale R – 3 Breaths
13. Inhale Hold 60″ Exhale – 1 Round N.S.
14. Inhale-Exhale Deeply – 5 Breaths
15. Śītalī + 15″ Hold
16. Inhale-Exhale Deeply 5 Breaths
Certainly a practice that fulfils the meaning of Pakkā (cooked, ripe, fully formed) in terms of intensity and length.
Srivatsa Ramaswami (born 1939 in Madras, Tamil Nadu, India) was a student of Shri T Krishnamacharya and studied under him for 33 years, from 1955 until 1988 shortly before Krishnamacharya’s passing.
He is Krishnamacharya’s longest-standing student outside of Krishnamacharya’s immediate family.
Нe currently lives and teaches in the U.S.
This picture shows BKS Iyengar demonstrating Āsana at an event in Chennai in June 1980 where he was invited to give a Yoga lecture and Āsana demonstration in a tribute to his Guru T Krishnamacharya. I remember he introduced his presentation with the words “I am an artist and I am going to show you my art”.