The Heart of Yoga
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The Heart of Yoga : Developing a Personal Practice

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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. 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 concept of viniyoga, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. In The Heart of YogaDesikachar offers a distillation of his father's system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as "a program for the spine at every level--physical, mental, and spiritual." This is the first yoga text to outline 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. This is a revised edition of The Heart of Yoga.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 244 pages
  • 200.66 x 256.54 x 20.32mm | 657.71g
  • Inner Traditions Bear and Company
  • Rochester, United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 100 b&w photographs and 200 b&w illustrations
  • 089281764X
  • 9780892817641
  • 1,092

Review quote

"Read this book from cover to cover and you will begin to understand what yoga is all about." The Sunday Times "Those who are interested in understanding what yoga is about, those who are looking for a larger context and focus for their hatha practice, those who look to the Yoga Su-tra for guidance, and all those who have loved and benefited from Krishnamacharya and/or Desikachar, directly or indirectly, will want this book." Yoga International "An invaluable source of information regarding the theory and practice of yoga. A must for students and teachers alike." Indra Devi, author of Yoga for You "Desikachar speaks from the heart with tenderness as well as an engineer's careful attention to details and individuality." LA Yoga, January 2011 "I can think of no better book to recommend to a friend beginning to be excited by yoga but bewildered by the plethora of different schools and their sometimes-conflicting teachings. In addition, I would be hard-pressed to think of a book I would recommend more highly to any yoga student seeking to deepen a yoga practice ... The great gift of The Heart of Yoga lies not simply in the depth of Desikachar's learning, but in the compassion, gentleness, practicality, and down-to-earth spirit that permeate the book." Yoga Journal " ... a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world." Bodhi Tree Book Review, Winter 1999 / Spring 2000

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About T. K. V. Desikachar

A structural engineer by training, T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father until Krishnamacharya's death in 1989. He has devoted his life to yoga instruction for people of all backgrounds and all levels of ability and 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.

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Back cover copy

YOGA "I can think of no better book to recommend to a friend beginning to be excited by yoga but bewildered by the plethora of different schools and their sometimes‑conflicting teachings. In addition, I would be hard‑pressed to think of a book I would recommend more highly to any yoga student seeking to deepen a yoga practice . . . The great gift of The Heart of Yoga lies not simply in the depth of Desikachar's learning, but in the compassion, gentleness, practicality, and down‑to‑earth spirit that permeate the book." --Yoga Journal "Read this book from cover to cover and you will begin to understand what yoga is all about." --The Sunday Times "Those who are interested in understanding what yoga is about, those who are looking for a larger context and focus for their hatha practice, those who look to the Yoga Su-tra for guidance, and all those who have loved and benefited from Krishnamacharya and/or Desikachar, directly or indirectly, will want this book." --Yoga International "An invaluable source of information regarding the theory and practice of yoga. A must for students and teachers alike." --Indra Devi, author of Yoga for You Śrī 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 teaching, which maintains that practices must be continually adapted to the individual's changing needs to achieve the maximum therapeutic value. In The Heart of Yoga Desikachar offers a distillation of his father's system as well as his own practical approach, which he describes as "a program for the spine at every level--physical, mental, and spiritual." This is the first yoga text to outline 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 placed the highest value on Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, which is included here in its entirety, with a translation and commentary by Desikachar. Added to this second edition of The Heart of Yoga is the Yogān͂jalisāram--thirty‑two poems composed by Krishnamacharya that capture the essence of his teachings and further make The Heart of Yoga a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world. A structural engineer by training, T. K. V. Desikachar lived and studied with his father until Krishnamacharya's death in 1989. He has devoted his life to yoga instruction for people of all backgrounds and all levels of ability, and 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.

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Table of contents

Heart of Yoga Developing a Personal Practice A Blessing from Indra Devi Forword by Vanda Scaravelli Introduction by Mark Whitwell Part I The Practice of Yoga 1. Yoga: Concept and Meaning 2. The Foundations of Yoga Practice 3. The Principles of Asana Practice 4. The Careful Construction of a Yoga Practice 5. Asana Variations 6. Pranayama 7. The Bandhas Part II The Understanding of Yoga 8. The Things That Darken the Heart 9. Actions Leave Traces 10. The World Exists to Be Seen and Discovered 11. Living in the World 12. The World Exists to Set Us Free 13. The Qualities of the Mind 14. Nine Obstacles on the Yoga Way 15. The Many Paths of Yoga Part III The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali Part IV Yoganjalisaram Appendix 1 The Texts Mentioned in This Book Appendix 2 Four General Practice Sequences Glossary

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Review Text

The first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according

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