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  • Writer's pictureSecond Opinion Magazine

The Father of Modern Yoga: Krishnamacharya

Yoga has been practiced for more than 4 millennia and could be up to 8,000 years old. However, until T. Krishnamacharya began studying and teaching it, it was mainly practiced by small groups of estranged men who were removed from society. Krishnamacharya is considered the father of modern yoga and the person who brought revived yoga into mainstream awareness.

It could be said that no yogi before him developed the physical practices so deliberately.

Krishnamacharya’s fundamental principle was that to gain the most from yoga, you must always adapt the yoga to each individual’s changing needs. A guru of peace and balance, he is considered one of the greatest yogis of all time. Living to be more than 100 years old, he left his imprint on the world that would change it for the better.

As a young man, Krishnamacharya immersed himself in this pursuit of yoga, learning many classical Indian disciplines, including Sanskrit, logic, ritual, law, and the basics of Indian medicine. In the end, he would meld all these ancient traditions into his study and teaching of hatha yoga. Krishnamacharya was a revolutionary innovator who developed and adapted yoga practices that would offer health, mental clarity, and spiritual growth to any individual in the modern-day world.

It is said that Krishnamacharya drew upon the six principles of Indian philosophy to become the teacher that each student needed. Notably, he rarely taught in groups, and the most famous students of his all studied under him individually.

Written best in Yoga Journal in 2001, Fernando Pages Ruiz said “You may have never heard of him, but Tirumalai Krishnamacharya influenced or perhaps even invented your yoga. Whether you practice the dynamic series of Pattabhi Jois, the refined alignments of BKS Iyengar, the classical postures of Indra Devi, or the customized vinyasa [of Desikachar], your practice stems from one source: a five-foot two-inch Brahmin, born more than one hundred years ago in a small south Indian Village”.

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