Recent Yoga History


Krishnamacharya (above 1888-1989) is the grand-daddy of  yoga today and has had a huge influence on most modern yoga classes, probably directly on the classes you frequent. He was the teacher of three incredible teachers; his son Deschikachar (b.1938), his brother in law B.K.S Iyengar (b.1918) and the late Pattabhi Jois (1915-2009) who passed away just this year, a sad time for the yoga community. For example; if you come to my classes; my first long term teacher, Helen Green, in Liverpool, visited Mr Iyengar every year, my first serious(!?) yoga book was Light On Yoga by Iyengar and many of my teachers have studied directly with Pattabhi Jois.

I have put all six videos in 1938 from Krishnamacharya (the younger man is Iyengar) in the playlist below:

Remember you can turn the sound down and move between the videos using the arrows at the side. The chanting in the videos is by Deschikachar and is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Sanskrit (this one of the oldest and most important yoga books). Check out the cute partner yoga at about 2.58mins into the third video that starts with Iyengar doing bow pose (dhanurasana). Find acroyoga  in Amsterdam at Studio Momo and Svaha Yoga.

Pattabhi Jois, Desikachar & Iyengar:


Pattabhi Jois (above talking about the yoga method), founder of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, precursor to power yoga and vinyasa flow. A sad time for many ashtangis and the yoga comunity as Pattabhi Jois the Daddy of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga died on Monday 18 May 2009. For those who returned to Mysore to practise with him year after year he will be sadly missed. Click here to read more. If you are practising any form of Vinyasa, flow or power yoga then it has origins in Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

In Amsterdam: pure Ashtanga at Delight Yoga with Kristin and Ashtanga based yoga with Joshua at GoYuMe. Many teachers in Amsterdam trained at Svaha with Gosta and Patrick, whose teachers were Sharon Gannon and David Life from Jivamukti yoga, who in turn spent time with Pattabhi Jois. This progression has led to a powerful style with music (modern and devotional) inspiring the practice.

Of the three teachers Desikachar’s methods are probably the least known but as so many people go to general yoga classes his theories about an individual yoga practice become more important. You can see his book above. Yoga Journal says; drawing on his father’s teachings, Desikachar developed Viniyoga, which tailors a yoga practice to the needs of the individual student. In 1995, Desikachar told Yoga Journal, “The way yoga is taught nowadays often gives the impression that there is one treatment for every illness. What makes my father’s yoga teachings unique is his insistence on attending to each individual and to his or her uniqueness.” Viniyoga is quite hard to find – if you want to know more check Desikachar’s book above, his Centre in Chennai, India or Gary Kraftsow (upper back or lower back). People often come to yoga with existing injuries or weaknesses and can injure themselves practising yoga and individual yoga therapy is then very important. Part of yoga is self empowerment through self study – take responsibility for your practice. Mukunda Stiles, an expert in yoga therapy and author can be found all over the world and sometimes does workshops near Amsterdam. I have had these workshops highly recommended to me by a few people.

Most yogis have heard of B.K.S  Iyengar whose attention to tiny details, and use of props, makes his style unique.


The first films above show more silent B.K.S Iyengar from 1938 and then 1991(for a bit of fun play them both at once); interesting if you have been to a modern Iyengar style class to see him doing vinyasa yoga in 1938 and very beautifully. Look at the control and fluidity. His book “Light On Yoga” is hugely popular, as are the other six he has written on different aspects of yoga. When asked why he taught yoga from a predominantly physical rather than a mental perspective he answered -who is sitting in that chair your body or your mind? A very practical teacher, a champion of alignment. Below you can see a short exert from an interview with Mr Iyengar recently. Click here for Iyengar Yoga Institute Amsterdam.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s