The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

T. K. V. Desikachar

Language: English

Pages: 244

ISBN: 089281764X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to viniyoga--yoga adapted to the needs of the individual.

• A contemporary classic by a world-renowned teacher.

• This new edition adds thirty-two poems by Krishnamacharya that capture the essence of his teachings.

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 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.

This is a revised edition of The Heart of Yoga.

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of prāṇāyāma work together to rid the body of apāna so that prāṇa can find more room within. In the moment when waste is released, prāṇa fills the space in the body where it really belongs. Prāṇa has its own movement; it cannot be controlled. What we can do is create the conditions in which prāṇa may enter the body and permeate it. The Yoga Sūtra describes the flow of prāṇa with this lovely image: If a farmer wants to water his terraced fields, he does not have to carry the water in buckets to

tomorrow in the same way that we saw them today. This concept is called pariṇāmavāda. If we follow yogic thinking further, we find that there is something that can perceive this constant change in things because it is itself not subject to change. This is puruṣa, something deep within us that is really able to see and recognize the true nature of all things, including the fact that they are in a state of constant change. But puruṣa is also cloaked with the same veil of avidyā that covers the

should have. Whether the king is puruṣa or Īśvara, rāja yoga refers to the kind of yoga where the king takes his rightful place. In the Yoga Sūtra it says that when there is no more restlessness in the mind, puruṣa will unfold and see. That is rāja yoga. Karma yoga Karma is action. The Bhagavad Gītā ascribes a central place to karma yoga, stating that in life we can only act, but we should not be affected by the results of our action. If the fruits of our efforts do not correspond to our

individual’s cultural background and capability. 1.23 Patañjali recognizes that attempts to change our state of mind to Yoga are fraught with obstacles that vary in potency. But for those who have either an inborn faith in God or are able to develop it over the years, Offering regular prayers to God with a feeling of submission to his power, surely enables the state of Yoga to be achieved. In the following sūtra, Patañjali gives his definition of God. 1.24 God is the Supreme Being whose

niyamas and a component of kriyā yoga trāṭaka: gazing at a static object to invite meditation trikonāsana: triangle pose udāna-vāyu: the aspect of prāṇa responsible for speech and upward movement uddāyīna bandha: abdominal lock ujjāyī: breathing technique in which one inhales with a sound in the throat urdhvamukha śvānāsana: upwardfacing dog pose uṭrāsana: camel pose utkaṭāsana: squatting pose uttānāsana: standing forward bend vairāgya: detachment, letting go vajrāsana: thunderbolt

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