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Meet the Innovators: T.K.V. Desikachar

Immersed in the yoga tradition by his father Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, Desikachar went on to develop Viniyoga, an approach that tailors the practice to each students unique condition.

By Jeanne Ricci

Class

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.

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Reader Comments

Piluca

Viniyoga is a"concept" (tasya bhumisu viniyogah YS III-6) not a yoga style.

Jan in Texas

I think it would be helpful to give a couple of examples of what Viniyoga looks like for say, a 70-year-old grandparent experienced in yoga, and for instance a new practitioner of the same age.

Rowan

Yes, Desikachar does not use the term viniyoga to refer to his teaching. He teaches yoga.

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