We Ride on the Backs of Giants

By Rodney Yee, August, 2016

T.K.V. Desikachar died on Monday, the 8th of August, 2016. He was one of the great influencers of Yoga in the 20th century.  Desikachar was the son (and student) of the great yoga master T. Krishnamacharya.  Krishnamacharya was also the teacher of Patabois Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and Indira Devi.  Desikachar completed a lineage that is largely responsible for how we practice yoga today in the 21st century.

One of the indicators of the extensiveness of T. Krishnamacharya’s Yoga knowledge is the diversity and profundity of his four main students. Any person who has had the honor and privilege to study with one of his students realized that there was no cookie-cutter methodology. Each one of these four had the thread of devotion and refined inquiry, but much to T. Krishnamacharya’s credit, they each expressed it in radically different teachings and styles. Each one of these masters showed us a different facet of the practice and let the wisdom and light shine through the window of different personalities and perspectives.

How will YOU express the teachings as you ride this river of Yoga? Your special and unique boat is important and is not duplicated by anyone else.  We are trained and influenced by our teachers, colleagues, students and by the world at large but from where you float or swim in the river is a perspective that is occupied only by you. The ability to relax significantly into who we are and yet feel and listen to the whole is a magnificent gift of Yoga.

The story of the five blind people describing an elephant as they touch different parts (one on the trunk, one on the leg, etc.) is a way to remember that one’s truth may be relative to one’s perspective and that we must loosen our own point of view enough to listen and truly inquire about the whole.

Rodney Yee

Rodney is a world-renowned yoga teacher who started practicing yoga in 1980. He has been in over thirty yoga videos, and is the author of two books, including Moving Toward Balance. Along with his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee, he is the co-director of Heath and Wellness Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan’s project to change the healthcare paradigm to include complementary healthcare practices. He has been teaching at Colleen's studio, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor, for several years, and is one of the founding members of Yoga Shanti New York.

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