Sri Tirumali Krishnamacharya was one of the most influential and innovative yoga teachers of the twentieth Century. Not only was he a master of yoga, but he held the equivalent of doctorates in seven different fields including ayurveda, law and philosophy.

In the last century, the Ashtanga Yoga method was imparted to Krishnamacharya by a tibetan yogi called Sri Ramamohan Brahmachari.

Krishnamacharya heard of the yogi adept living in Tibet at the foot of Mt Kailash while he was studying in Varanasi in northern India. In 1915 he travelled on foot for several weeks looking for him. There, on the shores of lake Mansovar, he found Ramamohan Brahmachari living in a cave with his wife and children. On seeing Krishnamacharya's earnest desire to learn, Brahmachari agreed to take him on as a student.

Over a period of seven years Krishnamacharya received teaching on all aspects of yoga and learned many yogic texts by heart, including one important text called the Yoga Korunta. The Yoga Korunta integrated the philosophical teachings of Patanjali with instruction on pranayama and asana practice including instruction on the use of vinyasa (breathing system), drishti (gazing point) and bandhas (energetic locks). The Yoga Korunta also detailed a specific sequencing of postures which we know today as Yoga Chikitsa (Primary Series) Nadi Shodona (Intermediate Series) and Sthira Baga (Advanced Series). The Yoga Korunta was attributed to Rishi Vamana and was several thousand years old.

At the end of his studies with Mohan Brahmachari he promised his teacher to get married, raise children and teach yoga. In spite of the fact that he was asked several times to take up prestigious positions at various temples, Krishnamacharya honored his agreement.

krishnamacharya-on-kapotasa.gifThe Mysore Palace Yoga Shala

In 1924 Krishnamacharya moved to Mysore in southern India. By this time he had already become a legend in India due to his healing capabilities, his debating and yogic powers. The king of Mysore, the Maharaja, was a sick man, and hearing of Krishnamacharya skills asked him for help. Krishnamacharya cured the Maharaja using yoga and in return was offered a wing of one of the Mysore palaces to teach yoga classes.

Krishnamacharya travelled all over India giving demonstrations and lectures on yoga. He was a tireless proponent of the benefits of yoga and would use impressive techniques such as stopping his heartbeat or giving lectures while standing on top of one of his students performing a yogic posture to win his audience over.

< Prev   Next >