Who was Acharya T. Krishnamacharya?
Every era goes through a period of high and then the period of low and this influences the culture and the knowledge systems that are connected to that culture and time and again when things go very bad there comes a pioneer who revives such a tradition such a culture back to its glory days. This in a nutshell is Acharya Shri T. Krishnamacharya for the field of Yoga.
In the beginning of the 19th century Indian culture which includes traditions like Yoga, Ayurveda were facing a great challenge because of the great invasions from the West, particularly England. England ruled India for many years and slowly the culture that was native to India was on the decline. So in this dark era for Indian culture came this genius called Acharya T. Krishnamacharya who championed the case of Yoga and resurrected it for us to benefit from it all.
He was among the few great Yogi’s at this time put together brought back yoga to relevance and greatness. Acharya T. Krishnamacharya is a great pioneer because he combined the experience of his own wisdom to build bridges between the traditional teachings of Yoga with other related teachings such as:
- Vedanta philosophy and
- other schools of Indian knowledge systems
He beautifully brought together the holistic nature of Vedic teachings and presented it through the medium of yoga for everybody to benefit. It is through his inspiring work that we have yoga to enjoy today because he inspired great students such as Indra Devi, Sri BKS Iyengar, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and most importantly his own son Sri T.K.V Desikachar, who founded Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation to spread Viniyoga®, actually brought the entire spectrum of Acharya T.Krishnamacharya to the public domain.
So today the whole world is practicing yoga and a majority of it is coming from Acharya T. Krishnamacharya’s teachings. If you take the brave and most popular schools of yoga today and go one or two generations backwards you will have to come to Acharya T. Krishnamacharya. Such was his profound influence that is still so relevant even decades after his passing.
As yoga teachers, we all must take a moment to salute our Acharya T. Krishnamacharya for his contributions to this field and also remember some of his contemporaries who also worked very hard so that we today can enjoy the benefits of Yoga.