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Heart Of Yoga [Paperback]

T K Desikacher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 1 1999
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.


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Review

. . . a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world. -- Bodhi Tree Book Review, Winter 1999 / Spring 2000

. . . a milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world. -- Bodhi Tree Book Review, Winter 1999 / Spring 2000

A milestone in the transmission of yoga from the ancient masters to the modern world. -- Bodhi Tree Book Review, Winter 2000 / Spring 2001

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

About the Author

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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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book, for me, has been wonderful. The author's tone of voice is fully inclusive, non-judgemental, and open. It invites all people to come to know the eternal meanings through study of self through yoga. He emphasizes that the most effective way to know what is the right action for yourself, in any situation, is to follow the paths of yoga to learn more about yourself and your inherent motivations.
He sees yoga as being approachable from unlimited directions. Some people will prefer pranayama (breathing) or mediation over asanas (postures) and he believes that yoga can be as unique as the yogi. In the end, all the paths of yoga lead to awareness, so it doesn't matter how you begin.
As for being non-judegmental, if you smoke, for example, he would never condemn or judge you. If that is what arises truly from within you, then so it is. He would add, i'm sure, that yoga would likely make it less necessary to smoke, but that preoccupation is not his. He is razor focused on helping the reader clarify his or her own place in the universe through yoga.
This book will likely help anyone take their yoga practice to a higher level.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich with information Aug. 15 2003
Format:Paperback
I have read many books on developing a serious yoga practice. However, this book is the most realistic, down-to-earth, and comprehensible out there. Desikachar believes that the practictioner of yoga should "start from where he stands." Rather than getting caught up in doctrines and dogma, cleansing rituals, and rules... Desikachar helps the modern yoga practictioner integrate their spiritual life with their mundane existence, so that the mundane becomes infused with the spiritual. It is truly a rich and inspiring book that has deepended my practice and encouraged me during my moments of doubt.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Book for Serious Yogis and Yoginis April 22 2004
Format:Paperback
This book is outstanding in its presentation of yoga. The book gives outstanding and in depth detail of every aspect of yoga from asana to pranayama and lifestyle to mantra. This book is not one you read from cover to cover at one sitting but rather read, digest, intregrate into your practice and reflect/journal about what you have learned before returning for more. I recommend this book to all my serious students and to fellow practioners as well. Broaden and deepen your practice with this book. You will be rewarded for your efforts. Namaste!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forget the rest, this is the best! Dec 21 2002
By Nika
Format:Paperback
Many yoga books and classes these days overly emphasise the asana, the postures. As a consequence the idea of achieving perfect postures has become synonomous with Yoga. Desikachar lays out in simple and easy to follow writing, the idea that the postures are but one of the many tools of yoga. Furthermore he emphasises the concept of adapting the yoga to suit the individual, rather than the individual attempting to force themselves to suit the yoga. An absolutely brilliant book that demystifies asana, pranayama, and bandha, and gives an excellent account of what yoga actually is. Desikachar's approach applies to everyone no matter what 'style' of yoga you are doing. The concepts he discusses are universally applicable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to understand yoga? July 10 2002
Format:Paperback
No introduction is needed for the author (son of famous yogacharya Sri T Krishnamacharya). I got interested in yoga after reading his series of articles in Indian magazines in late 1980s. First of all, this book is not an explanation of yoga poses (I recommend Light on Yoga for that). I first bought the book thinking its another book about yoga poses. But I was wrong. This book is exactly what the title says - how to develop a personal practice. The emphasise of the book is for the practitioner to observe himself/herself and see how he/she can augment the benefits of the poses. This is an invaluable and a very important step in learning yoga.
Now, everytime I read it I find it throws more light on understanding yoga. I used to do yogic poses mechanically, but now I have a different perspective. The book really makes you think about an asana and how to improve yourself to benefit from it (the term for this is viniyoga). The emphasis is on gradually learning and enjoying each pose instead of hurrying to accomplish some asana. There are several tips for maximizing the benefits of asanas - for eg counterposes, developing breathing techniques by observing oneself etc. The explanation is lucid, the writing is so simple and effective. Several common questions are answered in Q&A format which is very helpful.
The second part of the book contains Patanjali's yoga sutras in Sanskrit and followed by explanations in English. (Yoga sutras are the foundations of yogas in other words - the heart of yoga). The explanations are very simple and easy to understand.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have Jan. 29 2003
Format:Paperback
With the possible exception of McAfee, no-one alive today understands more about the heart and soul of yoga than Desikachar.
If you have reached the point in your yoga practice where asanas alone have not provided yoga's promise of self-completeness, then get this book, find a quiet corner and indulge yourself. You will not be disappointed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This book is a great starting point for an understanding of yoga and what it really is.
Yoga is more then just poses to get skinny. Yoga is a way to make you happier, healthy, and strong.
If you start yoga in a class at a gym you will not learn as much as you could if read his book. Most yoga in the US is the non threatining version. An ex-aerobics instructor who took 20 hours of yoga teaching classes is not fit to teach the real yoga.
This book is not trying to change your religion. Hindus are not expected to do yoga. Any god of your choice (or no god) will do.
Yoga is a philosophy not a religion. This book gives you the why and the how. Holding poses is not yoga. You need this book to know why you do things in yoga. If you read this, your practice of yoga will be better and you will get 100 times more out of it.
Buy the book before you buy any other yoga book.
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