Around the 9th century, a teacher called Nathamuni was so struck by the beauty of a chant of ten verses composed by Nammalvar sung by a group of pilgrims that he wanted to lean more about. In fact, Nammalvar, the author of these chant, is considered as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself.He was born on the banks of the river Tâmraparani near Alvar Tirunagari. He never seemed to cry, play or feel hungry. His parents, then, surmised that he might be a divine child. Twelves days after his birth, pas per the tradition, the child was taken to the temple. He is said to have opened his eyes only then.
A divine voice told the parents to leave the child in the hollow of a tamarind tree in the temple. For the next sixteen years the child seated in padmâsana was absorbed in meditation, until he was found by a sage named Madhurakavi. Nammalvar is considered one of the greatest teacher in the Indian tradition. The chant heard by Nathamuni was a part of the composition of Nammalvar on the divine consciousness. This chant is called Divyaprabandham. Unfortunately, only the ten verses heard by Nathamuni were remaining amoung the 4000 original verse.
Nathamuni went then to the same tamarind tree where Madhurakavi had seen Nammalvar and sat there to chant. While his meditative state, he had the vision of Nammalvar and he received the lost verses ans numerous teachings. Later, he composed a text called Yoga-Rahasya which is a summary of the teachings he received. The Yoga-Rahasya is the first book where Yoga is adapted to the practitionner, where Therapeutic Yoga is explicitely spoken about and where woman are given great significance in the practice of Yoga and in the maintenance of Dharma. C’est le premier traité de Viniyoga.
Again, the teachings became lost over time. Then, early in the twentieth century, Krishnamacharya, a direct descendant of Nathamuni and a very young student of Yoga decided to make a pilgrimage to Alvar Tirunagari. As he entered inside the temple, he met an old man sitting at the entrance and asked him where he could find Nathamuni. The old man pointed to a mango grove and instructed Krishnamacharya to go there after he had had a dip in the river. As he came out of the river, he collapsed on the bank of the river where he fell asleep and received the Yoga-Rahasya for Nathamuni himself in the dream.
This is why this tradition of Yoga is so old and so authentic. It takes its roots to the foundation of the Indian teaching with Nammalvar himself. The essence of the Indian culture is then embodied in this beautiful tradition.
Professor Tirumalai Krishnamacharya around the world as the father of modern Yoga. He revolutionized Yoga in the twentieth century by making it accessible to all. He was an amazing Vedic scholar who knew the six great Indian thoughts, but also other Vedic disciplines such as Ayurveda and astrology. Later in his life, he opened the doors of Vedic singing that were previously restricted only to Brahmin man to any sincere student regardless of age, religion, nationality, caste or gender.
He advocated a deep but practical approach to Yoga, in which all the tools of Yoga are put in place and wisely adapted to meet the needs, abilities, goals and necessities of each individual. He understood the body as not just a physical construct, but a part of a holistic entity. He propagated the idea that Yoga is not just superficial work, but works with and on the subtle energetic aspects that Yogis have called Prana. He showed during his life that Yoga can be used as a holistic practice, a way of life connecting the body, mind and spirit, a spiritual path, but also as an extremely powerful healing tool. Apart from being a Yoga Teacher, Krishnamacharya was known as a powerful healer and helped many people with ailments in body, mind and spirit.
His students, including Indra Devi, Pattabhi Jois, BKS Iyengar and his son TKV Desikachar, testify to the importance of his life’s work and the breadth of the teachings he represented. They emphasize her position as one of the most important yoga masters, a yoga teacher and therapist of our time.
T.K.V. Desikachar studied civil engineering before he decided to dedicate his life to Yoga. Being impeccably precise yet practical, he was always interested in making Yoga more accessible to every practitioner. He knew that the knowledge of his father was extraordinary, but that it needed to be explained in a way that every student of Yoga could understand. He wrote “The Heart of Yoga”, a worldwide bestseller and one of the most cherished books on Yoga, as an attempt to explain Yoga’s philosophy and foundations to a a broad audience. He designed the first stick figures, so that asana practices could be easily grasped and remembered by students. He broke the Sanskrit sentences of the Yoga Sutras into smaller parts, so people from all over the world could learn to recite and memorize them. His main focus was always to present the profundity of Yoga in a simple, modern and practical way. When Desikachar explained even difficult concepts of Yoga in workshops or seminars around the world, he was able to present them in a manner that modern students could understand, embrace and relate to.
Living in the same household as his father and teacher, Desikachar was introduced to the full range of Krishnamacharya’s teachings and was able to witness how his father’s teachings developed over the decades. Krishnamacharya shared as much of his knowledge with his son as he could and never stopped teaching him. For example, Desikachar studied the Yoga Sutras nine times in three decades with his father, a process that revealed even deeper layers of the text to him As the most important lesson, Krishnamacharya stressed how the tools of Yoga must always be applied to respect a person’s constitution, his goals, lifestyle, as well as his emotional, energetical, mental and psychological state. Desikachar was particularly impressed and attracted by the healing capacities of his father’s Yoga and became an outstanding pulse reader and Yoga Therapist himself. He also had an outstanding ability to read people and knew what they needed from him. He became instrumental in expounding the role of Yoga Therapy in the world and founded the first Yoga Therapy clinic in Chennai in dedication to his father. In 2006, he cofounded the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation with his son Kausthub in order to spread the Yoga teachings internationally.
He continued the teaching legacy of his father and always taught his students one-to-one with personalizing their practices, stressing that Yoga always has to be taught individually and not in groups. Throughout his career, T.K.V. Desikachar has helped and healed numerous people with Yoga Therapy and is known as one of the most respected and famous Yoga Teachers as well as the most significant Yoga Therapist of our times.
Dr. Kausthub Desikachar is the successor and current lineage holder of the classical Yoga tradition of T Krishnamacharya & TKV Desikachar. He is an acclaimed yoga teacher, yoga therapist, healer and spiritual adviser. His objectives include the sharing of the authentic teachings of Yoga to the modern era, as well as building bridges between different healing modalities to promote physical, emotional social and spiritual health.
For more than fifteen years, Kausthub has taught a multitude of students and teachers around the globe, and has conducted numerous teacher and therapist training programs.
Dr. Kausthub Desikachar began studying yoga when he was 9 years old under the guidance of his teacher and father TKV Desikachar and started teaching at the age of 13. After completing his dual Masters degree from the renowned Birla Institute of Technology & Sciences, Pilani, he committed himself to becoming a full-time student and teacher of Yoga. Later in 2011, he concluded his doctoral studies from Psychology Department at the University of Madras, where his topic of research was “Effect of Individualised Yoga Training on Quality of Life.”
Dr. Kausthub Desikachar also works as a Yoga Therapist and offers clients astute and effective solutions for all sorts of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual illnesses. He combines his classical training in Yoga and Ayurveda, his modern education of psychology, and his interactions with traditional healers worldwide, to offer optimum and effective synergetic solutions to alleviate a wide range of problems. His approach to healing includes a wide range of Yoga Therapy tools including postures (asana), breath regulation (pranayama), meditation (dhyanam), dietary recommendations (ahara niyama), lifestyle suggestions (vihara niyama), chanting (mantra), visualisations / affirmations (bhavana), special energetic seals (mudra), symbolic gestures (nyasa) and guided self-inquiry (svadhyaya).
As a Yoga educator, Dr. Kausthub Desikachar is known for his remarkable, deep and well versed knowledge and his ability to present the ancient teachings in a way that is profound as well as applicable for modern day practitioners. He treats each student with respect, compassion and dignity, and honours their capacity for growth and transformation. His teachings are especially beneficial for yoga teachers and yoga therapists as he helps them grasp the fullness and deep insights of the ancient teachings so that they are able to apply them in a competent and sincere way.
Dr. Kausthub Desikachar is currently an advisor to the Korean Yoga Alliance, Pranamanasyoga (a Yoga Therapy School in Spain), Be Yoga Norway and also the Yoga Therapy Advisor to Platinum Hospital, Mumbai. He is also an Adjunct Faculty for Yoga Therapy at Council For Yoga Therapy Education and Research (CYTER)at the Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth University, Pondicherry. He is also in the Editorial Board of Annals of Yoga and Physical Therapy, a newly initiated peer-reviewed open access journal based in the USA, with an aim to develop a platform for innovative researchers working in the areas of Yoga and Physical Therapy.
In the past, he has also been an advisor to the International Association of Yoga Therapists and also a Patron to the British Wheel of Yoga.
He has also authored and co-authored numerous books on yoga, such as “The Heart of Asana: A comprehensive manual on Classical Yoga Postures” and a biography on his grandfather, the great yoga acharya T. Krishnamacharya, called “The Yoga of the Yogi”.
Apart from Yoga Teaching, Kausthub is also an avid photographer, inspirational writer and poet. He is the co-founder of “Synergies in Healing”, an online journal that focuses on bridging ancient wisdom and modern day science
Yoga was traditionally considered as, among other things, a system of health and care going much further than only addressing the body because of its multi-dimensional benefits. He was also a tool to connect to his spiritual center and to live in harmony with oneself and with the rest of the world. Unfortunately the current trend of our modern society tends to focus almost exclusively on the physical aspects of Yoga and therefore limits its value. The spiritual and cultural teachings of Yoga, as well as the holistic interconnections of emotions, psyche, mind and body are all too often forgotten in our highly materialistic society.
It is therefore a critical situation if one tries to bring the rich, broad and deep teachings of Yoga to the next generation of practitioners throughout the world while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the Yoga tradition.
The classical Yoga tradition, as taught by Sri T Krishnamacharya Yogacarya, is represented through the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation (KHYF). The KHYF was founded in India in 2000 by TKV Desikachar and Dr. Kausthub Desikachar to represent the living tradition of Professor T Krishnamacharya, and thus give continuity to this wonderful and valuable lineage.
The KHYF struggles to represent the authentic teachings of Yoga, to create a synergy with other spiritual paradigms of care so that it is both culturally appropriate and always consistent with the core values of the deep tradition of Yoga.
In order to broaden its appeal and global reach, a non-profit organization called KHYF International is created with the following objectives:
- Increase the knowledge of Yoga and its many applications;
- Create and supervise the highest standards of education in Yoga and Therapeutic Yoga;
- Support schools to become and remain affiliated as Yoga Teacher Schools in this tradition;
- Offer certification to graduate students from affiliated schools;
- Offer non-certified membership to anyone wishing to be a supporter of the tradition;
- Collaborate with professionals from other therapeutic modalities to promote new and appropriate paradigms of care;
- Collaborate with cultural and spiritual ambassadors of different traditions to explore alternative traditional methods of care and spirituality;
- Create and share resources that help to understand and study Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga and Yoga as a spiritual process;
- Assist teachers and professional therapists through mentoring and continuing education;
- Maintain the authenticity of Yoga while keeping it appropriate to society.
KHYF International was founded by Dr. Kausthub Desikachar with two of his long-term students, Evelyn Einhauser and Philip Rigo.