Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s…..

Chatting with TKV Desikachar during a lesson in the early 1990’s I commented on an observation formed from discussions with my students within a study group I had brought to Madras (Chennai) for a two week programme at the KYM during my personal study stay that year.

As a part of this particular study group visit to the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram some of the students took up the option of 121 lessons with teachers at the KYM. Sharing the content of the practices with me revealed the introduction of a sequence that I had not come across before within, at that time, my nearly 20 years of studies within the work of T Krishnamacharya.

This was the the ‘other’ version of Sūrya Namaskāra as popularised by the Raja of Aundh or Yoga students such as those of Svāmi Śivananda in Rishikesh.

This sequence was quite different as compared to the version of Sūrya Namaskāra introduced by T Krishnamacharya as part of his Āsana sequencing developed for the youngsters at the Yogaśālā in Mysore in the 1930’s. So I asked Desikachar about the recent appearance of this ‘other’ version within the lesson plans of students at the KYM and his reply was revealing.

He told me that it was not part of his father’s original teachings and that they had only recently introduced it into the Āsana teaching repertoire at the KYM. The reason for this was as a response to the many requests from visiting Western students presuming it to be part of the Yoga taught at the KYM and thus asking for it to be part of their personal practice. An interesting aspect of the viniyoga of Yoga or application of Yoga according to the needs from the student.

On the other hand there is also the prediliction, both East and West though perhaps for different reasons, for recent innovations to become translated and as if historically authenticated by references such as ‘Classical’ Yoga Sequences and/or ‘in the Tradition of’.

For example I noticed on a web site a sample practice entitled “A Classical Yoga Sequence in the Krishnamacharya-Desikachar Tradition”. “With a Śikṣana Approach”. It started with the ‘other’ version of Sūrya Namaskāra repeat 3 times and then stay 1,2,3 breaths.

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