Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya is the yoga teacher that is known not only for bringing hatha yoga practices to the forefront, but also of teaching the big hitters in the yoga world that helped make yoga the huge success and trend that it is today in the Western world. He taught B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, and even his own son, T.K.V. Desikachar. Many consider him the "father of modern yoga" and with the influence that his students have spread all over the world, that title is not surprising.
Krishnamacharya was also a scholar and was well versed in Sanskrit, vedic rituals, and philosophy. He was born in 1888 in a remote village in India. He spent seven years studying with his guru, Ramamohana Brahmacharya, who lived in a cave in a remote region of the Himalayas. From 1926 to 1946, Krishnamacharya ran a yoga studio at the palace of the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar in Mysore, India. He taught his students different techniques throughout his teaching years, which is reflected in how his students styles developed. Iyengar's style is more alignment strict without the flowing vinyasa of Jois' vigorous Ashtanga style. Indra Devi, who was also Krishnamacharya's first female student, taught with a more gentle style of yoga.
After closing the yoga school at the palace, Krishnamacharya continued to teach out of his home. It is here that he would teach his own son, T.K.V. Desikachar, a style of yoga that would help make yoga accessible to everyone and use it's therapeutic value to do so. This would later become the school of Viniyoga.
He also was the first to put sun salutations into writing, which he did in 1934 in the Yoga Makaranda.
There is no question that Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya had a huge influence on today's modern hatha yoga practices. He didn't see hatha yoga as only a physical practice because of his emphasis on the breath and finding mental clarity and devotion through the hatha yoga practices. Giving the practice up to God, allows the physical practice to become deeper for the yogi.
Sri T. Krishnamacharya lived to be 101 years old, leaving his physical body in 1989.