Yoga is an ancient health practice uniting body, mind and spirit. Krishnamacharya, a brilliant teacher who died in 1989 at the age of 101, is perhaps the primary source of what we know as yoga today. Three of his many contributions stand out.
First, he separated yoga from Hinduism and Indian culture. Yoga has always been a health practice, but as part of the Indian culture it was practiced mainly by Hindus. Krishnamacharya, in his wisdom, realized how important it was to separate the two, focusing on the health benefits and thereby making yoga accessible to anyone.
His second contribution was to teach yoga to women. In ancient times both women and men practiced yoga, but through the years it developed into a practice only for priests (who were men). Krishnamacharya returned yoga to all people.
His third contribution was to individualize yoga, making its practice applicable to all types of people with various conditions.
Krishnamacharya's son Desikachar studied with his father for 30 years. He observed his father's individual approach, and the therapeutic benefit of developing a personal relationship with the teacher.