Health, Healing and Beyond is the title of a wonderful book by T.K.V. Desikachar about the life and teachings of his father.
Desikachar tell’s us that Krishnamacharya believed Yoga was India’s greatest gift to the world. Krishnamacharya dedicated his life to placing the benefits of Yoga at the service of humanity. He was deeply grounded in the ancient Yogic wisdom and at the same time was a great innovator.
I am going to start a training programme in June this year and have had many questions on the theme of ‘What kind of Yoga is it?’ So I wanted to reiterate the importance of understanding the tools of Yoga, developing a personal practice and individual application of Yoga.
Desikachar said that, ‘To Krishnamacharya, Yoga was a means to improved health; to restored well-being in the face of illness; and to emotional balance and enhanced mental clarity. It was the accessible path of progression toward union with the Absolute – whether conceived as a named God or nameless truth.’
In Srivatsa Ramaswami’s book, Yoga for the Three Stages of Life, Yoga is presented as an art form, a physical therapy and a guiding philosophy. These approaches of practice are traditionally applied to the three stages of life; art form in youth, therapy in mid life and guiding philosophy in old age. Although this model and the approaches are ideally applied to the appropriate stage of life, Yoga can always serve us to maintain and improve our health, to use as a therapy, and to support, uplift and inspire us spiritually. We only need to apply the appropriate practices, accepting and respecting our current situation.
The unique tools of Yoga; asana, pranayama, pratyahara, meditation, mantra, prayer and ritual, need to be used according to the situation. Diet, lifestyle, environment and activity are also important considerations. Ayurveda has much to offer here for health and healing. Krishnamacharaya himself was well versed in Ayurveda, having studied with a teacher named Krishna Kumar.
So although Yoga has a paradigm and methodology, a fixed practice of Yoga diverges markedly from Krishnamacharya’s style of tailoring what he taught to each student. Krishnamacharya was an adaptable teacher giving every student what was appropriate for his or her individual needs. This personal application of Yoga is the hallmark of Krishnamacharya’s teachings.
So I invite you to explore the possibilities that Yoga offers for health, healing and beyond in your own life.
If you do not have a teacher and wish to find one in this tradition I have included a few links.
AYS-teachers trained in Desikachars tradition. Mainly UK based.
Wishing you health, happiness and peace.