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Learning Through Yoga

Learning Through Yoga
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Item Code: NAK042
Author: Raghu Ananthanarayanan
Publisher: Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8187847158
Pages: 200 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 12.0 inch x 9.0 inch
weight of the book: 855 gms
About the Book

This book is intended for the one who, with a beginner's mind, asks the question, "What is Yoga?" It is addressed to a young mind that can see with freshness, a mind that can comprehend without having to analyse.

It is an attempt to recreate the ambience of this ancient practice.

It is not an attempt to give a "complete idea" of yoga. It does, however, try to give an idea of its many facets

. It is written with a deep feeling that technological man is building a world that lacks poetry and warmth.

It is structured on the idea that yoga comprises practice, self-enquiry and the wisdom of ancient teachers.

It is based on what I have learnt from Shri Desikachar.


Every chapter is composed of three parts,

1. The methods used in the practice of asana and pranayama.
2. Concepts or questions you can think about.
3. Stories drawn from various cultures that will help you understand some of the concepts found in the first and second parts.

1. See that you understand the practice instructions properly. Every body has their own peculiarities and imbalances, so do not force yourself to take a posture. Do not start with the idea of an "ideal posture" that you will strive for - the process of discovering your body, not competing with it, is the basis of yoga.
2. The questions asked in the book are to be used as you would use a Zen parable. The answer or the intellectual and logical understanding is not important at all. You are "doing well" not when you get the answers right, but when you enquire into the concepts introduced and explore ways of action upon them.
3. The book should be gone through very slowly.
4. These suggestions apply equally to a child. A parent or teacher could use this book to introduce a child to yoga.
5. Going through" A Note on Diagrams" and "Pronunciation Guide", which are presented at the end of this book, will be a great help.

About the Author

Raghu Ananthanarayanan has been passionately attempting a convergence between traditional india wisdom and modernity. A graduate from IIT Madras, he took up an intensive study of yoga with T Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar after a few years of work as a manager During this period he completed his post graduation in Bio medical engineering based on the study of asana and pranayama in the therapy of back pain. He is a leading behavioural scientist and uses the yoga sutras as a basis for the inner work he is also a leading organization consultant and has published a book, "The Totally Aligned Organization", where he has elaborated upon some of the key ideas from yoga that he has used in a management context. He is actively involved with reviving craft Groups and theatre.

This book, containing over 500 pictures, will appeal to every level of yoga enthusiast, as it integrates the philosophy of yoga with our daily practice. Through a systematic and simple approach, it helps us see how yoga can be put into action. The book will particularly interest the inquisitive mind that is searching to discover these timeless truths in modern day lifestyles. It will indeed help us to begin learning ....learning through yoga.



As an Institution offering instruction in the different aspects of Yoga, we are often faced with the questions, "Do you teach only Asanas?", "Do you teach Hathayoga?", "What about Rajayoga?", "What do you have to offer for the mind?", "Why don't you give us a chart of yoga practice that everyone in our community can follow?", "Why do you give private classes?", etc.

. The Yoga that we studied under the guidance of Sri T. Krishnamacharya is based on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra. Yoga practice according to Patanjali consists of three elements: Tapas, the practice that removes impurities; Svadhyaya, the study that tells us systematically about the body, the mind and the other components of the human system; Isvara Pranidhana, our attitude towards actions we are called upon to do in life and the result that these actions produce. These three elements are essential to the practice of yoga in order to reduce the obstacles that prevent clear perception and bring the mind towards a state of attention. Only an individual with such perception can face life bravely. Our teacher always emphasized that learning which merely provides a means to earn a living but deprives the individual of the ability to reflect upon oneself, and find the means to improve one's behaviour and quality of being, falls short of complete learning. He goes as far as to say that even animals have the means for mere livelihood.

The Yoga of Patanjali as a complete process of learning provides the best instrument for helping the individual know that he can stand firmly on the four pedestals of human life: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha without compromising himself or his social responsibility.

It was my hope for quite some time that this comprehensive aspect of the teaching of Patanjali as given to us by our revered teacher be shared through an interesting presentation in a style written with a sense of seriousness but to cater to the present day audience. I asked Ananthanarayanan if he could undertake this very important but difficult task. This book is a result of four years of work, many times rewritten and redone. We are continuing to improve upon this work and welcome you to share your ideas on this book with us. This is an experiment based on timeless teaching. We are still learning, learning through yoga.

To all individuals and institutes who helped in this work, we say thank you. We are grateful to those students who came in large numbers to enrich us through Yoga. We offer our great respects to Shri T. Krishnamacharya. Finally we thank Mrs. Pupul Jayakar for her foreword and Sri Ravi, N.5.A. for his illustrations.



This is a unique book intended for the young mind. It introduces the main elements of Yoga interweaving into actual practices, legends, fables, attitudes of mind, questions, wise aphorisms and koans. It may at first reading be difficult to connect the commentary with Yogic Asanas but the more you ponder the clearer is the connection. It introduces into the physical elements of Yoga an awareness of mind and infinite ways to awaken intelligence. The teacher or the parent will learn along with the child. If the Asana and the legend are mastered, the body and mind of the student will be cleansed and the sensory perceptions unclogged. An attempt to extend the horizons of the outer and the inner environment appears to be an intelligent approach to the physical.

It is a bold experiment. I am sure the book will provide that sharpness and edge without which all exercises of body and mind are limited.




  About this Book  
1 Introducing Asana Practice 15
2 Introducing Breath in Asana 25
3 Introducing Vinyasa 31
4 Classifying Asanas 39
5 Variations in Asanas 51
6 Simplifying an Asana 61
7 More About Breath in Asana 71
8 Asana Practice and Sports 79
9 Asana Practice and the Arts 91
10 Asana Practice for Ailments 109
11 More About Vinyasa 119
12 Observing One's Body through Asana 135
13 Names of Asanas 149
14 Breath Control in Asana 165
15 Pranayama 169
  A note on the Diagrams 184
  Pronunciation guide 186

Sample Page

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