Meet the Innovators: T.K.V. Desikachar

T.K.V. Desikachar, born in 1938, son of the great yoga master Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, grew up immersed in the yoga tradition. Although as a child he apparently found hatha yoga so boring he once climbed a coconut tree to avoid practicing, he enthusiastically began formal training with his father in his 20s, shortly after completing his bachelor’s degree in engineering. In 1976 he founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, a yoga center in Madras, India. Drawing on his father’s teachings, Desikachar went on to develop Viniyoga, a highly individualized approach to yoga that tailors the practice to each student’s specific physical condition, emotional state, age, cultural background, and interests. In addition to offering teacher training and individual instruction in asana, Pranayama, meditation, yoga philosophy, and Vedic chanting, Yoga Mandiram has pioneered research into the impact of yoga on people suffering from schizophrenia, diabetes, asthma, and depression. “Yoga is basically a program for the spine at every level—physical, respiratory, mental, and spiritual,” says Desikachar.