We are honoured to host senior teachers from around the world who studied under Sir to join us for this dialogue series.
Chief Mentor - Ritambhara Ashram, Nilgiris, India
Three extraordinary teachers mentored Sri Raghu Ananthanarayanan when in very difficult phases of his life, namely; J Krishnamurti, Yogacharya Krishnamacharya and Pulin K Garg. He was intimately involved with them for more than a decade from his late twenties. This engagement not only transformed him, it evoked from him his service orientation, his sAdhana. His work revolves around helping individuals, groups and organizations discover their dharma, and become the best they can be. This he believes aligns with his own personal sAdhana.
Raghu has authored several books: Learning Through Yoga, The Totally Aligned Organization, Leadership Dharma, Arjuna the Timeless Metaphor, Organizational Development and Alignment: The Tensegrity Mandala (as co-author with Gagandeep Singh).
Currently his wife Sashi and he, donning their role as Chief Mentors are working on nurturing people on a Sacred Quest at Ritambara Ashram, situated in the beautiful Nilagiris.
www.sriram.de - Germany
Sriram started with private lessons from R. Prabhakar and group lessons from Desikachar, and ri. R. Sriram is a long term student of Sri. TKV. Desikachar and taught for several years under his personal guidance at Krishamacharya Yoga Mandiram.
Since 1988, Sriram has been active in Germany, where he has built a large community of yoga teachers trained in giving individualized lessons, published several books relating Yoga to subjects of his interest - therapy, sound, breath, mantra and emotions. Together with Sri Desikachar he has brought out CDs on Vedic Chanting.
Sriram now spends time in Germany and along with his wife, runs the Centre "Base Art Nature Yoga" in the Palani Hills.
American Viniyoga Institute - USA
Gary Kraftsow has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for health, healing and personal transformation for over 40 years. He began his study of yoga in India with T.K.V. Desikachar in 1974 and received a Viniyoga Special Diploma from Viniyoga International in Paris, France in 1988. In 1999, he founded the American Viniyoga Institute™, LLC. Since then, he has become a renowned speaker and teacher of the Viniyoga methodology at many conferences and schools nationally and internationally. Currently, he is the Director and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI®).
Gary has successfully developed protocol for two National Institutes of Health studies: “Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain” and “Yoga Therapy for Generalized Anxiety”, as well for the “Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace” clinical trial for Aetna Insurance Company.
Dr. Latha Satish is an M.A. Mphil, Phd in Psychology. Former UGC Research Scientist from Dept Of Psychology, University of Madras, has conducted many funded and non-funded Research Projects specializing In Health Psychology and Yoga.
She has 37 Research publications to her credit and constructed psychometrically valid measurement tools. She has guided 8 Ph.D. candidates and many MPhil dissertations.
Currently she is an active Research consultant to many projects and Co-Guiding research projects.
Lakshmi Ranganathan is a senior teacher in yoga, and was a student of Sri. TKV Desikachar from 1970 and has also learnt from Sri T.Krishnamacharya. She was one of the first teachers in Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram where she worked till 1986. In 1990, she helped found the Sanjeevani Ayurveda Yoga Centre where she taught therapeutic yoga extensively to patients. She has been a yoga teacher for 44 years and she is adept at the therapeutic use of yoga as a treatment and has led several seminars on Yoga for Women, Pranayama & Meditative techniques and Yoga Therapy.
She also trains teachers on the use of yoga as a means for therapy and practice. She was an honorary Yoga instructor at “The School” run by the Krishnamurthi Foundation of India. She has also taught leprosy patients in Ramakrishna Mission using yoga techniques. The teachings of Yogacharya Krishnamacharya and Sri TKV Desikachar has had an inestimable influence upon her study of yoga. Along with her daughter, Dr Nandini Ranganathan, she translated “Yoga Makarantham”, a treatise of Yogacharya T Krishnamacharya, into English.
Dr. Laurence Maman
Laurence Maman is a French yoga teacher and teachers’ trainer. She has been a student of T.K.V Desikachar since 1977 in Chennai. Before becoming a mother, which made travels more complicated, she used to come every year for several weeks or even months. She had private classes with him but also sat with him when he was receiving patients in the KYM and shared group classes with other students. She took part in many seminars in which he was involved in Europe and during which she often translated him into French.
According to his advice, she also settled a medical practice for which she had been trained in France and she pursued it for decades. She has stopped this practice now while she goes on teaching and training yoga teachers, with the very strong inspiration of what he gave and transmitted.
He encouraged her to do a lot of chanting, both in Indian and Western traditions, which she still practices and teaches nowadays. This very special occasion of paying tribute to him and of speaking about the spirit of his teaching is a gift. All the more nowadays, when yoga practice is sometimes becoming a little strange.
Sheela Shankar completed the 2-year Teacher Training Program at Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) and worked at that institute for a number of years. She was one of Sri T.K.V. Desikachar's foremost students of Vedic Chanting and is now a sought after teacher in this tradition. Sheela is a trained vocalist of both Carnatic and Hindustani music. In her classes, she integrates voice culture and singing with Vedic chanting.
With her husband, Ravi Shankar, she runs Yoga Nidhi in Chennai. She also conducts a two-year Vedic Chanting Certificate program out of the UK.
She has, for the past 20 years, also been involved in the field of education with a specific focus on Mathematics. She is currently a consultant with Tata Consultancy Services.
Dr. Latha Nithyanandam
Formerly she was the research director at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, where she studied and worked for almost 20 years. Her PhD in Applied Psychology was on an evaluation of yoga as a therapeutic tool for certain ailments. Latha Nithyanandam PhD is currently the General Manager of Kathleen York House, which supports women to overcome substance dependence.
Latha trained with Menaka and TKV Desikachar and in 1984 started teaching yoga at the KYM. After completing her PhD she became the Research Director and Senior Consultant at the KYM, which involved research and teacher training both at the KYM and throughout India.
Latha currently runs a number of Yoga sessions for staff and clients at Kathleen York House, where she is General Manager, a community-based service governed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation of NSW. Latha has presented at many international conferences in Australia and India on Intellectual Disability and special education.
Navtej Singh Johar
New Delhi, India
Navtej Singh Johar is a dancer-choreographer, yoga practitioner, scholar and social activist. His work—within all fields of his varied interests remains consistently body-centric. He trained in Bharatanatyam at Kalakshetra and in yoga at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai. His practice remains inspired by the teachings and beliefs of Sri Desikachar—namely his subtle methods of calibrating movement, breath, sound, attention and visualisation; the use of enquiry as a mode of meditation; and his position of being a “non-believer”.
Navtej is the founder director of Studio Abhyas, at New Delhi, a space devoted to dance, yoga and activism. Over the years he has devised two embodied practices, the BARPS Method (that acronymically denotes the progressive processes of bracing, aligning, rotating of joints, poising of breath and attention, and spaciously occupying the asana from the inside), as well as Abhyas Somatics that is informed by the concepts of rasa and sukha central to Indian poetics and yoga respectively. www.abhyastrust.org
Lalitha joined the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in 1981 and began her journey in yoga through private lessons with Sangeeta Prabhakar. A few months later, under the direction of Shri Desikachar, Lalitha began teaching children s group classes at the Mandiram. Lalitha cherishes most, the next 7 years she spent in the KYM until 1988. It was a period of intense learning and growth for Lalitha who came under the direct tutelage of Shri Desikachar under whom she learnt asana practice, including some difiicult postures, pranayama, vedic chanting and texts like the Yoga Sutra, Yoga Rahasya etc. During this period, she taught one on one classes to those who came to the KYM including some people with challenging psychological and physical conditions, working closely along with Shri Desikachar under his guidance and direction.
It was during this time that Shri Desikachar introduced her to Dr. Jayachandran and his work in special education. Lalitha spent many years teaching special children at the Vijay Human Services, sharing both her expertise in yoga as well as sculpture. (Lalitha by profession is a sculptor. She graduated from the Madras School of Fine Arts in 1986 and went on to do her Masters in sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, USA 1988-90)
Today Lalitha lives in Bangalore and along with persuing her work in the visual arts, she continues to teach asana, pranayama and chanting for those who seek it. For someone who is always been keen on understanding the philosophy of yoga, Lalitha today also spends much of her time studying texts on yoga. Through dialogues and discussion with her colleagues, Lalitha endeavors to further this learning that was initiated by Shri Desikachar.
Bernard Bouanchaud first became fascinated by Eastern wisdom when working as an architect and interior designer in Iran in the early 1960’s. Upon returning to France, in 1966, Bernard spent the next ten years immersed in the study of yoga in Paris. It was at this time that he first met T.K.V. DESIKACHAR.
This meeting became a defining moment of Bernard’s life and began a period of regularly study in Chennai, where he went to learn from Sir. These studies focused on the postures, the breathing techniques, the therapeutic application of the practices, and the fundamental texts of yoga. Upon becoming a yoga teacher, and then a teacher trainer and lecturer, Bernard continued his studies as closely as possible to their Indian sources.
An author of many books on yoga, he now spends his time between writing, private teaching, and the training of yoga teachers.
A. V. Balasubramanian
A.V.Balasubramanian (Balu) is a Biologist by training. He enrolled as a student at the KYM (Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram) in the early 1980s and was a student of Shri.R.Prabhakar. Soon he also started learning with Shri.Desikachar and for a brief period he was also teaching at the KYM.
He soon returned to his major interest which was research and involvement with Indian Knowledge Systems, specifically traditional agriculture. However, he continued his links with the KYM. He was the editor of the KYM journal Darsanam for the first few years and he continued to learn from Shri.Desikachar till the very end.
Currently, he is the Director of CIKS (Centre for Indian Knowledge Systems) (www.ciks.org ) an institution involved in promoting research and understanding on various aspects of Indian knowledge systems specifically with respect to sustainable agriculture.
François Lorin started studying yoga under Sir from 1966 onwards. He first reached India in 1963 by road and had an opportunity to listen Sri Jiddu Krishnamurti twice in New Delhi and Varanasi. He continued to be involved with his teachings even after returning to Brockwood Park in England, where he taught yoga āsana-s and prānāyāmā-s to staff and students of Krishnamurti's school staff and students for two years.
This unique experience gave him an opportunity to observe Krishna ji's influence on Desikachar during these years. It also allowed him to understand the true links between Krishna ji's revolutionary teachings and the no-less revolutionary ones of Patanjali. Some of his earlier talks are available on this YouTube channel.
She completed Bachelors in Electrical Engineering in India and Masters in Applied physics in the US. She started learning chanting and yoga at the age of 7 from her father and other senior teachers of the Krishnamacahrya Yoga Mandiram during which time she taught children asana and chanting.
After completing Masters, she trained under her father on applying yoga and chanting to individuals with therapeutic needs. Since then, she (with the permission of her teacher) has been teaching on a one-to-one basis.
Dr. Hellfried Krusche is a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst. He is a training analyst and supervisor for the International Psychoanalytical Association (IPA). He lectures in France, Germany and Great Britain on Yoga and Psychoanalysis. He met TKV Desikachar in 1995 in France and has worked with Sir for 17 years. He has published a book on the dialogue he had with TKV Desikachar on Yoga and Psychoanalysis. Born in Cologne (Germany) in 1951 he is married and has two children and two grandchildren. He works in his own office.