Desikachar died on August 8, , in Chennai, India. He was 78 years old. I first met Desikachar and his father in , following extensive travels in India. I had met many famous and not-famous Gurus and Yogis, but I was struck by the fact that Desikachar and his family had no pomp and ceremony, no business agenda, and no need for name or fame around their scholarship. They shared family meals with me on their kitchen floor.
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Desikachar died on August 8, , in Chennai, India. He was 78 years old. I first met Desikachar and his father in , following extensive travels in India.
I had met many famous and not-famous Gurus and Yogis, but I was struck by the fact that Desikachar and his family had no pomp and ceremony, no business agenda, and no need for name or fame around their scholarship. They shared family meals with me on their kitchen floor. I soon realized that what they were teaching was logical and sound knowledge that was relevant to the entire tradition of India. It helped me make sense of everything that I had loved or felt confused by in the spiritual circus of India.
My experiences became understandable and useful to me in the context of their Vedic knowledge and Yoga practice. I am forever grateful to this family for their dedication, clarity, and honesty, and the practical Yoga education they gave me. No tribute to Desikachar is complete without acknowledging his wife, Menaka Desikachar, who has been a gracious tower of strength through these times.
She has nurtured her family in the midst of their ill health while at the same time strenuously upholding the continuity of teaching. Desikachar devoted his life to studying and teaching the Yoga that his father, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, brought forth from the Great Tradition.
Professor Krishnamacharya was a renowned scholar and Yogi known throughout India. He lived years and was a man of our own time — he died in He is a bridge between the wisdom of the ancient world and modern times. Desikachar understood Western mind and was able to interpret wisdom culture with clarity and precision for us all. Auspicious Meetings At the tender age of 27, Desikachar witnessed a Western woman run across the front yard to hug Krishnamacharya with unusually profuse gratitude, because Krishnamacharya had healed her from a lifelong debilitating illness.
To see a woman embrace an austere Brahman man in public was indeed a rare sight in India. That very day he gave up a bright engineering career with a German company and asked to begin studies with his father.
It was an auspicious meeting between dear friends. Desikachar attributed his ability to understand his Western students to the two Krishnamurtis — J. He also helped me understand everything about the West. He even helped me eat with a knife and fork! He was determined to communicate that in Yoga, one size does not fit all. Rather, Yoga is adapted carefully to individual needs according to body type, age, health and, very importantly, cultural background.
Then, and only then, Yoga is practiced as direct intimacy with life itself, reality itself — the power of this cosmos that brought us here in the first place and presently nurtures us. This power is pure intelligence and utter beauty, and Yoga practice reveals that we are in perfect and intrinsic harmony with everything in our cosmos and with any as-yet-unknown cause or origin of it.
Desikachar, like his father, was a humble man committed to the accurate delivery of the Great Tradition without the empire building that often clouds the picture in yoga and spirituality. He had a unique ability to truly respect all people and have each person actually feel respected and seen also an ancient tenet of Yoga.
He allowed each person to feel the truth or the answers to their questions come bubbling forth as their own experience and revelation, rather than confusing students with ideas and ideals that were not relevant or which would be out of their reach. Krishnamacharya and Desikachar were Yoga masters and never yoga entrepreneurs. Desikachar did not want his Yoga to be known as a particular brand. All people can now be given a relevant Yoga. The principles of practice should be included in all the styles that derived from Krishnamacharya and other systems.
Otherwise we have partial systems, and like a glossy pack of cards with five cards missing, the game never quite resolves for the player. He Lives On. In its right form, it is only about actual relationship: mutual affection and respect between actual people — teacher and student, and student and student — both in linear historical lines, and also spread out in present time among affinity groups of people with affection and goodwill for each other.
Sadly, civilization has been built upon this model. It is patriarchy, a power structure that arose using some of the principles of Vedic life, but perverting them. Seeking for future ideals with arbitrary methods sanctioned by social authorities in this way is the denial of the wonder of life already arising as each and every person. It has created dreadful damage to human life. Prior to the imposition of such patriarchy, God, deity, spouse, and the body — in its intrinsic harmony with the universe — were known to be all equal and arising in and as the one reality.
Intimate actual relationship with everything was the way of Vedic life. Yoga is the practical means of intimate connection to reality that is already given and arising as all of us. I know that Desikachar deeply understood this point, especially from his valued friendships with Jiddu and U.
Desikachar was fond of quoting J. Come and get it. And pay me for it. This was the spirit and specific message of Desikachar. It is very hard for teachers and their students even to see what the problem is here, because the patriarchal model is so ingrained in our thought structures. Or even to know that there is an alternative means for the transmission of Yoga and self-empowerment. As we move along, bringing actual Yoga to the world, let us represent our teachers with this clarity, teaching the principles generously, free of brands, styles, or power structures.
V Desikachar, and all those before them and all who follow them are no more than friends and no less than friends to all, in the beautiful way Desikachar showed us. In this relationship, it is essential that the teacher is not a social or personal identity, it is a function — a natural function of nurturing between people in local community. He clarified how the mutual affection between two actual people is the universal means of transmission of all wisdom traditions and how the teacher is no more than a friend, no less than a friend — this friendship is the main method!
Desikachar wanted this to spread throughout the world, but only in accordance with the ancient tenet that the best teacher is someone from your own culture, because he or she understands you the best. He did not see the worldwide effect of his work in his lifetime. But now he does from where he is. The Heart of Yoga has been translated into many languages and has become a source text for Yoga today.
Desikachar Conversations At the same time the book was published I worked with Desikachar to produce a short film called Desikachar Conversations.
Brar Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga—poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation, and philosophy—and shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health, age, occupation, and lifestyle. Inner Traditions March Length: There is a glossary of terms that are used throughout the book. Desikachar His desikachhar are presented simply and practically, so as to give confidence that he knows of what he speaks. Email required Address never made public. This is a revised edition of The Heart of Yoga. Developing a Personal Practice.
The Heart of Yoga : Developing Personal Practice
DESIKACHAR THE HEART OF YOGA PDF