T.K.V. Desikachar is not doing well. According to reports from those close to him, Desikachar’s condition has worsened and he is “near comatose.”
Desikachar has been battling a decline in his mental health for the past several years, and it seems his physical health is worsening as well.
Via Paul Harvey of the Centre For Yoga Studies in the UK in a facebook update:
It is with great sadness I hear that TKV Desikachar’s condition is noticeably worsening and he is now confined to bed.
He is said to be in a near comatose state and increasingly unresponsive to his surroundings.
We can but continue to dedicate Prayers and offer Mantra.
Perhaps you’re wondering who? And why should I care?
Desikachar, who just turned 78 (appropriately on June 21, International Yoga Day) is the son and student of T. Krishnamacharya, often referred to as the father of modern yoga, making Desikachar the child of modern yoga, so to speak. Desikachar also happens to be the nephew of B.K.S. Iyengar who married Krishnamacharya’s sister, and who was also, as we know, a student of Krishnamacharya and known as one of the biggest proponents of modern yoga particularly in the west. Iyengar passed away in 2014.
However, Desikachar didn’t exactly follow in his father’s yogi footsteps, not right away. Instead, he attended college and got a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. But, so the story goes, by age 30 he began to immerse himself in his father’s teachings and ended up studying with him until Krishnamacharya’s death in 1989.
Within that time Desikachar helped to found The Krishmacharya Yoga Mandiram in 1976 to continue his father’s teachings, an institute which is still functioning today. He’s authored several books including The Heart Of Yoga and Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krishnamacharya, and fine-tuned his father’s teachings into his own therapeutic approach he referred to as viniyoga (which was adopted and adapted by Gary Kraftsow who founded the American Viniyoga Institute).
The spreading of Krishnamarchya’s teachings was further expanded by Desikachar’s son, Kausthaub, who established the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation in 2006, which took a hiatus in 2013 when multiple allegations of heinous sexual abuse and abuse of power were lobbed at Kausthaub. There were no formal charges so Kausthaub picked right back up with it in 2015 despite the shock and alarm from many closely involved and aware of the extent of the allegations.
T.K.V. Desikachar has been distanced from much of the day to day of the foundations and he has no longer been teaching due to his declining health, but his work lives on through the KYM, his books and teachings, and his worldwide influence. However, some of his students and members of the yoga community are concerned for his legacy. As one facebook commenter noted:
“Perhaps his duty is completed now and we only have to hope that his legacy is in good hands.” – Chiara Ghiron
Our thoughts are with T.K.V. Desikachar and his family at this time. We’ll keep you updated on any news.