Yoga Journal Interview with Desikachar

T.K.V. Desikachar brings to the practice a full spectrum of yoga therapy, philosophy, and Ayurveda learned from his father, T. Krishnamacharya. By Diane Anderson

YJ: What distinguishes your teaching from other yoga?

Desikachar: The practice is adapted to suit the needs, abilities, and interests of each individual. Unfortunately, today's standardization is a one-size-fits-all approach. This can impose great risk. This is why my father chose the sutra Heyam duhkham anagatam as the motto for our institute: Pain in any form must be anticipated and avoided. I never compromise by standardizing yoga practices for different people. Adapting yoga to suit the needs of every unique individual is where the true greatness of yoga lies.

What do you wish yoga students might experience?

Desikachar: My wish is that more students experience the vastness of yoga, not simply asana. Increased attention to the concept of body consciousness has become very popular. Yoga was primarily evolved for inner limbs such as mind, senses, emotions. Unfortunately, many yoga teachers themselves are not aware of these techniques to be able to guide students in these domains. It is my sincere wish that both teachers and students of yoga move beyond their obsession with the body level, to actually experience these subtle and more powerful dimensions of this ancient wisdom. This requires patience and commitment and a serious search to look at oneself.

Yoga Journal

heyam = avoided, prevented
duhkham = pain, suffering, sorrow
anagatam = which has not yet come

“avoidable is the suffering which has not yet come.”

Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, 2.16