Chakra Discussions

Hatha-Yoga in South India

by Jayananda das

Posted January 13, 2007

This is a reply to Bhakta Shane who inquired about Hatha-yoga classes in South India. In Chennai there is the famous KYM (Krishnamacarya Yoga Mandir), dedicated to propagating the teachings of Tirumalai Krishnamacarya, who is considered by many the most influental Hatha-yoga-teacher of the last century. His students include Sri K.Pattabhi Jois (Astanga-vinyasa tradition), B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar-yoga), T.K.V. Desikachar (his son and leader of KYM), as well as Indra Devi, Krishnamurti etc.

Krishnamacarya was initiated in Sri Sampradaya. In all the pictures throughout his life he is always seen with his forehead decorated with vaishnava tilak. At one point he was offered leadership position in one Sri Vaishnava math, which in my mind indicates, that he was not a Sri Vaishnava in external appearance only. Also worth mentioning is that Desikachar, who is now running the place, has been teaching Bhagavad-gita based on Ramanuja's commentaries. All this considered, I would guess this place is pretty safe, at least as avoiding mayavada-philosophy is concerned.

I don't know about the role of ayurveda in their program, but they do a lot in the field of therapeutic yoga. You can check it out at

I visited shortly in 2002. There was no regular course going on at that time, but they give one-to-one classes all the time (that is their main method of teaching, trying to find a program specifically tailored to suit the particular student).

Kind regards
Jayananda das