T. K. V. Desikachar

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T. K. V. Desikachar
Born(1938-06-21)21 June 1938
Died8 August 2016(2016-08-08) (aged 78)
OccupationYoga teacher, author
Known forViniyoga
Spouse(s)Menaka Desikachar
ChildrenSons Bushan (b1970) & Kausthub (b1975) and a daughter Mekhala (b1978)

Tirumalai Krishnamacharya Venkata Desikachar (21 June 1938 – 8 August 2016), better known as T. K. V. Desikachar, was a modern-day yoga teacher, whose father was the Indian yoga teacher, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. The style of Hatha Yoga that he teaches is called Viniyoga.

Early years[edit]

Desikachar was born in Mysore and moved to Madras (now Chennai) in the early 1960s. He had trained as an engineer, but, inspired by his father's teachings, he abandoned his engineering career and became a student of his father in 1960 even though it was at a time when the practice of yoga didn't have the respect it enjoys today. From the 1970s onwards he taught extensively in many parts of the world and published many books which became best sellers, especially The Heart of Yoga in 1995, with the result that his name and teachings became known worldwide.

Education in Yoga[edit]

Desikachar is known for his incomparable ability to demystify yoga teachings and also for his pioneering work in the area of wellness and yoga therapy. During his intensive thirty years of study with his teacher, he learned the practice and application of all the tools of Yoga, including chanting, so as to be able to help people therapeutically, live their everyday life better and more productively, and evolve spiritually. He also studied in depth many literary works including the Vishnu Sahasranama, Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu Purana, hymns of the great Vaisnavite saint Vedanta Desika, the Yoga Rahasya of Nathamuni, Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Yajnavalkya Samhita, Yoga Taravalli, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. This long period of study is why Desikachar’s teaching so closely represents the complete tradition of his father.[1][2][3]

Teaching career[edit]

Drawing on his father's teachings, Desikachar went on to develop Viniyoga,[4] a term from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This highly individualised approach tailors the practice to each student's specific physical and mental condition, emotional state, age, cultural background, and interests. It claims to be holistic, with all practice aspects aligned with the Yoga Sutras.[4]

The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM)[edit]

In 1976 TKV Desikachar with A. G. Mohan founded the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM), a yoga therapy clinic and yoga center in Madras, India, as a non-profit public charitable trust, teaching yoga inside India. Under Desikachar’s leadership, the KYM offered teacher training and individual instruction in asana, pranayama, meditation, yoga philosophy, and Vedic chanting, as well as pioneering research into the impact of yoga on people suffering from schizophrenia, diabetes, asthma, and depression. KYM also has the SIRO (Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) recognition awarded by the Department for Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. The institution is a public registered charity, identified by the Department of Family Health and Welfare, by the Government of Tamil Nadu.[3]

The Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation (KHYF)[edit]

Because the KYM had been primarily set up with legal and statutory provisions to operate only within India, barring it from any activity outside India, TKV Desikachar and his son and student, Dr. Kausthub Desikachar, in 2006 founded the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation (KHYF), a partnership firm located in India.[5] This was done to spread the teachings of Viniyoga globally, as the tradition by then had many international students all over the world. The Foundation currently claims to be the worldwide headquarters, the anchor and official umbrella organisation representing the Viniyoga tradition of Professor T Krishnamacharya and Desikachar globally. The Foundation has copyrighted Viniyoga in India and European Union.[6]


His wife, Menaka Desikachar, teaches yoga and Vedic chanting at KHYF. Bushan Desikachar, Dr. Kausthub Desikachar and Mekhala Desikachar are his three children. Dr. Kausthub Desikachar is also the Chief Executive and a senior teacher and yoga therapy consultant at KHYF. He was earlier also the Executive Trustree of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram till 2012. TKV Desikachar was one of the founders and directors of the institute.[7] In 2012, Kausthub Desikachar stepped down from Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation after sexual misconduct allegations.[8] These allegations were dropped by the authorities following the absence of any formal legal proceedings arising from the original allegations.


Desikachar died on 8 August 2016 in Chennai, India at the age of 78.[9]


  1. ^ "Poses and postures". The Hindu News. 2010. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Pioneering work in the area of wellness through Yoga". KYM. 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2016.
  3. ^ a b "A Residential Yoga Retreat at Swami Dayananda Ashram - Rishikesh". Dayanand.org. 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b Ricci, Jeanne (28 August 2007). "T.K.V. Desikachar Developed Viniyoga to Fit Each Individual Student". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Viniyoga". Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation. 2018. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  6. ^ Feuerstein, Georg (1998). "Yoga and Yoga Therapy". International Association of Yoga Therapists. Retrieved 4 May 2019.
  7. ^ "An Interview with T.K.V. Desikachar and his family following the Krishnamacharya Yoga Festival in San Francisco". Scott Peck. 2004. Retrieved 2 February 2004.
  8. ^ "Kausthub Desikachar Faces Abuse Allegations". Yoga Journal. 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Yoga guru T.K.V. Desikachar no more". The Hindu. 2016. Retrieved 9 August 2016.

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