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The founder of Upstate Yoga Institute, Mary Louise Skelton, began her study of yoga in 1969 with world famous yoga master Sri T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989). Sri T. Krishnamacarya had mastery not only in yoga but also in various aspects of Indian philosophy, Ayurveda, and music. He was very influential in bringing yoga's remarkable healing potential into the 20th century and has left his mark on many forms of yoga taught in the West today. 

In 1974, Mary Louise became a student of Krishnamacharya's son, T.K.V. Desikachar (1938-2016), founder of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram.  In 1976, she brought T.K.V. Desikachar on his first teaching trip out of India for a month long course at Colgate University. Out of that course came the book "Religiousness in Yoga: theory and practice". If Krishnamacarya was among those great masters who pioneered a renaissance in the practice of yoga, his son TKV Desikachar was truly a pathbreaker in making the ideals of yoga comprehensible to Westerners. Their unique therapeutic approach continues to influence the way yoga is taught and practiced today.

Urged by TKV Desikachar to transmit the knowledge and methodology of the lineage, which at the time was known as "Viniyoga", Mary Louise founded Upstate Yoga Intitute in 1983. At that time, yoga was not always well received. She worked tirelessly to make the teachings of classical yoga known to Central New York and beyond. She passed away in 1995, leaving behind a large following of dedicated students who continue the work of sharing the precious teachings she received directly from Krishnamacarya and Desikachar.