Krishnamacharya & Desikachar and Yoga as a One to One Process

The Art of Yoga as an Individualised Process was a fundamental hallmark of Śrī T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar’s teaching, namely, transmission occurs through the personal involvement of the teacher with the student’s individual experience of Yoga practice and study through 121 Lessons.

Teaching students through individual lessons within a private context remained at the heart of Krishnamacharya’s and Desikachar’s priorities throughout their lives. To this day it still remains a vital element in appreciating what they actualised in terms of a systematic development, personalised according to the student’s progressive experience of Yoga practice and study.

“The spirit of Viniyoga is starting from where one finds oneself.
As everybody is different and changes from time to time,
there can be no common starting point,
and ready-made answers are useless.
The present situation must be examined and the
habitually established status must be re-examined.”

– TKV Desikachar

Thus according to T Krishnamacharya Yoga for adults needed to be taught within a 121 collaborative relationship between teacher and student, as one might work with an Osteopath, Medical Herbalist, Homeopath, Physiotherapist, Psychotherapist, Acupuncturist, or even a Personal Coach. This is what Desikachar intended when he introduced the term Viniyoga in 1983 as a collective description for this process.

“Yoga is a mystery.
It does not mean the same thing to each and everyone.
In spite of the vast field it covers curing
chronic ailments, extra-sensory perception, etc,
hardly anyone is able to define it in simple terms.
Where is then the hope of experiencing its true significance?

What about the risks of inappropriate use of Yoga methods and practices?
Why are so many people all over the world taking the word and
the substance of Yoga so lightly, so ridiculously?
Like everything, Yoga must be presented intelligently.
It should be spoken of carefully and offered according to
the aspiration, requirement and the culture of the individual.

This should be done in stages.
Systematic application of Yoga,
be it concerned with physical exercises, deep breathing,
relaxation, meditation, lifestyle, food, studies,
is the need of the day.

This I believe – is what the word Viniyoga represents.”
– TKV Desikachar

Principles behind why Krishnamacharya only taught adults 121……

Care has been taken to preserve the spirit of this transmission which emphasises:

  • The Adaptation of personal practice, to our starting point and potential, in the fields of Āsana or general postures, Mudrā or special postures, Prāṇāyāma or seated breathing,
    Dhyānam or seated meditation and Adhyayanam or chanting and sound practice.
  • The Integration of Yoga Āsana with slow meditative movement blended with profound breathing, mindful attention and in certain situations chanting processes.
  • The Transition of Yoga Āsana from movement with stillness towards stillness without movement through the refinement of Mudrā, Prāṇāyāma, Dhyānam and Adhyayanam.
  • Our Yoga practice is a personalised process that moves from a short-term practice adapted to our outer limitations toward a longer-term practice that explores our inner potentials.
  • The individualised and progressively developmental priorities around the importance of the breath as a primary practice tool to influence our emotional, mental, energetic and physical states.
  • The integration of Lifestyle Skill Strategies according to an individual’s constitution, living rhythms and dietary patterns to support and optimise health, energy and psychological vitality.
  • The value of an ongoing, personalised and collaborative 121 relationship between the teacher and the teachings and the student and their practice.

“Teach what is inside you, not as it applies to you yourself,
but as it applies to the other.”
– T Krishnamacharya