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The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice
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The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice
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About the Book

 

Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya in their early years. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental principle: the practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs in order to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. This is viniyoga=yoga adapted to the needs of the individual.

 

In The Heart of Yoga T. K. V. Desikachar offers a distillation of his father's system as well as the essence of his own practical approach, which he describes as "basically a program for the spine at every level-s-physical, mental, and spiritual." This is the first yoga text that outlines a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to the age-old principles of yoga. Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga-poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation. and philosophy-and shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health age, occupation and lifestyle.

 

Krishnamacharya based his teachings on a number of scriptural sources. but he placed the highest value on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. Part three of The Heart of Yoga includes the complete text of the Sutra-including the Sanskrit-with a translation and commentary by Desikachar that includes insights and tradition passed to him by his father. Combining a clear logical presentation of practical yoga techniques with a profound exposition of the roots of yoga philosophy, this book is sure to be a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world the path to what Patanjali called kairalya- freedom. Accompanying the text are more than ninety photos-many never before published-of Krishnamacharva and his family and students that provide an extraordinary glimpse into authentic yoga practice.

 

I n addition to years of yoga training from his father. T.KV. Desikachar holds a degree in structural engineering. Since the 1960s he has devoted himself to yoga instruction for people of from all walks of life and with all kinds abilities: among his students was the renowned philosopher J. Krishnamurti. Desikachar continued to live and study with his father until Krishnamacharya's death in 1959. Once of the world's foremost teachers of yoga. Desikachar currently teaches at the school founded in his father's memory in Madras as well as in Europe the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Foreword

 

I am grateful to have the opportunity to write about Sri Desikachar, an exceptional yoga teacher, and it is with great pleasure that I write these few words to underline the importance of Sri Desikachars teaching.

 

What a nice person Desikachar is One feels attracted to him-to be with him is a pleasure. His simplicity is one of the exceptional characteristics of his personality. He does not pretend in any way. In today's world it is refreshing to meet someone who knows so much and yet is so modest. Humility, from which simplicity follows, is a very precious quality. Desikachar is one of those few people who truly lives this quality.

 

The years Desikachar spent at university attaining his engineering degree have not been an impediment. On the contrary, once I asked what helped him most in the work he does now and he replied, "My engineering studies." It is likely that such training stimulated his sparkling intelligence, which later gave him the ability to transmit his teaching with clarity and precision. When Desikachar speaks he expresses himself in a natural and easy way, in a language that each one of us can understand and follow. He walks toward you with a light step, and his delightful smile lets you know that his heart is open.

 

I received a precious gift one day when he chanted for me and my friends. His clear sounds had a delicate and yet powerful flow, following the rhythm that arose from his lovely voice. The enchanting atmosphere created by the vibrations of that sound filled the room and remained a long time after he left.

 

Desikachar helps us realize that what is essential in the practice of yoga is the breath because each pose, each movement, originates from there. This balanced union brings harmony and order to our bodies and minds.

 

The way he can communicate these very special yoga teachings is extraordinary. He has great respect for the subject and for the person to whom he is conveying his knowledge. He does not push you into it, but very gently leads you to the door that eventually, and unexpectedly, may open to let you in.

 

Contents

 

A Blessing

from Indra Devi

ix

Foreword

by Vanda Scaravelli

xi

Introduction

The Life and Yoga of Sri T. Krishnamacharya

xv

PART I

THE PRACTICE OF YOGA

3

1

Yoga: Concept and Meaning

5

2

The Foundations of Yoga Practice

9

3

The Principles of Asana Practice

17

4

The Careful Construction of a Yoga Practice

25

5

Asana Variations

45

6

Pranayama

53

7

The Bandhas

71

PART II

THE UNDERSTANDING OF YOGA

77

8

The Things That Darken the Heart

79

9

Actions Leave Traces

87

10

The World Exists to Be Seen and Discovered

93

11

Living in the World

97

12

The World Exists to Set Us Free

107

13

The Qualities of the Mind

121

14

Nine Obstacles on the Yoga Way

125

15

The Many Paths of Yoga

135

PART III

THE YOGA SOTRA OF PATANJALI

143

PART IV

YOGANJALISARAM

217

Appendix 1

The Texts Mentioned in This Book

230

Appendix 2

Four General Practice Sequences

233

Glossary

238

Index

243

 

Sample Pages



The Heart of Yoga: Developing A Personal Practice

Item Code:
NAJ973
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1995
Publisher:
Inner Traditions India Home Office and Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
ISBN:
9780892816811
Language:
English
Size:
10.0 inch x 8.0 inch
Pages:
272 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 580 gms
Price:
$45.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 years old, was one of the greatest yogis of the modern era. Elements of Krishnamacharya's teaching have become well known around the world through the work of B. K. S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi, who all studied with Krishnamacharya in their early years. Krishnamacharya's son T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father all his life and now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Desikachar has based his method on Krishnamacharya's fundamental principle: the practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs in order to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. This is viniyoga=yoga adapted to the needs of the individual.

 

In The Heart of Yoga T. K. V. Desikachar offers a distillation of his father's system as well as the essence of his own practical approach, which he describes as "basically a program for the spine at every level-s-physical, mental, and spiritual." This is the first yoga text that outlines a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to the age-old principles of yoga. Desikachar discusses all the elements of yoga-poses and counterposes, conscious breathing, meditation. and philosophy-and shows how the yoga student may develop a practice tailored to his or her current state of health age, occupation and lifestyle.

 

Krishnamacharya based his teachings on a number of scriptural sources. but he placed the highest value on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. Part three of The Heart of Yoga includes the complete text of the Sutra-including the Sanskrit-with a translation and commentary by Desikachar that includes insights and tradition passed to him by his father. Combining a clear logical presentation of practical yoga techniques with a profound exposition of the roots of yoga philosophy, this book is sure to be a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world the path to what Patanjali called kairalya- freedom. Accompanying the text are more than ninety photos-many never before published-of Krishnamacharva and his family and students that provide an extraordinary glimpse into authentic yoga practice.

 

I n addition to years of yoga training from his father. T.KV. Desikachar holds a degree in structural engineering. Since the 1960s he has devoted himself to yoga instruction for people of from all walks of life and with all kinds abilities: among his students was the renowned philosopher J. Krishnamurti. Desikachar continued to live and study with his father until Krishnamacharya's death in 1959. Once of the world's foremost teachers of yoga. Desikachar currently teaches at the school founded in his father's memory in Madras as well as in Europe the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Foreword

 

I am grateful to have the opportunity to write about Sri Desikachar, an exceptional yoga teacher, and it is with great pleasure that I write these few words to underline the importance of Sri Desikachars teaching.

 

What a nice person Desikachar is One feels attracted to him-to be with him is a pleasure. His simplicity is one of the exceptional characteristics of his personality. He does not pretend in any way. In today's world it is refreshing to meet someone who knows so much and yet is so modest. Humility, from which simplicity follows, is a very precious quality. Desikachar is one of those few people who truly lives this quality.

 

The years Desikachar spent at university attaining his engineering degree have not been an impediment. On the contrary, once I asked what helped him most in the work he does now and he replied, "My engineering studies." It is likely that such training stimulated his sparkling intelligence, which later gave him the ability to transmit his teaching with clarity and precision. When Desikachar speaks he expresses himself in a natural and easy way, in a language that each one of us can understand and follow. He walks toward you with a light step, and his delightful smile lets you know that his heart is open.

 

I received a precious gift one day when he chanted for me and my friends. His clear sounds had a delicate and yet powerful flow, following the rhythm that arose from his lovely voice. The enchanting atmosphere created by the vibrations of that sound filled the room and remained a long time after he left.

 

Desikachar helps us realize that what is essential in the practice of yoga is the breath because each pose, each movement, originates from there. This balanced union brings harmony and order to our bodies and minds.

 

The way he can communicate these very special yoga teachings is extraordinary. He has great respect for the subject and for the person to whom he is conveying his knowledge. He does not push you into it, but very gently leads you to the door that eventually, and unexpectedly, may open to let you in.

 

Contents

 

A Blessing

from Indra Devi

ix

Foreword

by Vanda Scaravelli

xi

Introduction

The Life and Yoga of Sri T. Krishnamacharya

xv

PART I

THE PRACTICE OF YOGA

3

1

Yoga: Concept and Meaning

5

2

The Foundations of Yoga Practice

9

3

The Principles of Asana Practice

17

4

The Careful Construction of a Yoga Practice

25

5

Asana Variations

45

6

Pranayama

53

7

The Bandhas

71

PART II

THE UNDERSTANDING OF YOGA

77

8

The Things That Darken the Heart

79

9

Actions Leave Traces

87

10

The World Exists to Be Seen and Discovered

93

11

Living in the World

97

12

The World Exists to Set Us Free

107

13

The Qualities of the Mind

121

14

Nine Obstacles on the Yoga Way

125

15

The Many Paths of Yoga

135

PART III

THE YOGA SOTRA OF PATANJALI

143

PART IV

YOGANJALISARAM

217

Appendix 1

The Texts Mentioned in This Book

230

Appendix 2

Four General Practice Sequences

233

Glossary

238

Index

243

 

Sample Pages



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