The approach Gary and Zoë practice and teach is inspired and informed by the teachings of the legendary yogi Śrī T Krishmacharya and his son TKV Desikachar as taught to her teacher Paul Harvey.
TKV Desikachar made it clear to his students that he did not want to ‘brand’ this method of yoga. However, the term ‘viniyoga’ has become associated with TKV Desikachar’s approach. The term ‘viniyoga’ means application. Viniyoga is not a style or brand of yoga, but rather an approach to utilising the various tools of yoga according to an individual’s health, lifestyle, needs and interests.
People come to yoga for various reasons, and from different starting points. For example, a person with severe back pain may come to yoga to develop a practice for relief and recovery, a pregnant woman may come to yoga to prepare for birth, whilst an old person might use yoga practice to refresh and energise. Yoga accommodates everyone and the the right tools have to be chosen and applied based on the goal of each individual.
Owing to the differences in body structure, all the tools of yoga are not meant for everyone. For in reality some are stout, some lean, some crooked and some others lame.
Yoga Rahasya of Nāthamuni Ⅰ.31
Śrī Tirumalai Krishnamacharya
Śrī Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was born in 1888 in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka. He was one of India’s most respected authorities on the Vedic tradition and intricacies of yoga teachings and practice.
T Krishnamacharya devoted his life to preserving and modernising yoga. He was an innovator, developing therapeutic treatments for a wide range of physical and mental debilities. He worked to sweep aside constraints against certain practices for women. And over his long life time (which spanned more than one hundred years), he searched for ways to make yoga available to humankind, regardless of age, gender, race, culture or religion. He helped people to enjoy greater wellness through the practice of yoga.
“Teach what is inside you.
Not as it applies to you, to yourself,
but as it applies to the other.”
Śrī T Krishnamacharya
A civil engineer by training, TKV Desikachar was the son of T Krishnamacharya who he studied with for nearly three decades. A renowned authority on the full spectrum of T Krishnamacharya’s yoga, Desikachar’s method preserves his father’s primary teaching, that yoga practices require continual adaptation in order to meet individual’s specific circumstances, whilst respecting their unique needs and interests.
In 1976 Desikachar founded The Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM). The focus at the KYM is to offer people the tools and techniques of yoga as taught by T krishnamacharya as a means to reach physical and mental health. TKV Desikachar has authored numerous books including The Heart of Yoga, Religiousness in Yoga, What are we seeking? and Health, Healing and Beyond. He lives in Chennai with his wife Menaka.
“How to respect the tradition and at the same time, to live and teach in the present situation?”
TKV Desikachar speaking at a ten day meeting with his 16 senior Western students from eight countries in London, June 8th 1998. This quote was kindly shared by Paul Harvey who was one of the students at the meeting.
Paul Harvey is based in Gloucestershire, England. He has been a student and teacher of the viniyoga of yoga for over three decades. In 1979, Paul began individual lessons with TKV Desikachar. Paul studied with Desikachar for over 20 years and in that time explored many aspects of Yoga practice, as well as important Yoga and Hindu Texts.
Paul’s deep knowledge and understanding of this ancient philosophy is demonstrated through the various study programmes he offers, which range from Āyurveda, Gītā Philosophy, Haṭha Energetics, Sāṃkhya, Sūtra Psychology and Vedic chant. Paul is adept at transmitting the ancient yoga teachings for todays yoga students. He has trained many teachers and continues to inspire practitioners nationally and internationally.
” Yoga is a means to know yourself deeply”
Paul Harvey, Yoga Practitioner Training 2010