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Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of T. Krishnamacharya Paperback – September 13, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Health, Healing, and Beyond is a beautifully crafted tribute to the life and teachings of Krishnamacharya, epic in scope yet intimate in nature. Desikachar speaks with quiet wisdom and a profound sense of purpose that keeps our interest continually engaged. He introduces us to the basic texts and concepts of yoga, gives insight into a variety of yogic practices, presents a yogic theory of health and healing, and explores the nature of the student-teacher relationship. Through Desikachar's affectionate humor and sensitive writing, we learn as much from the lives of father and son as from their teachings."--Donald Moyer, Director of The Yoga Room in Berkeley, CA

"My father's teaching first and foremost was based on the truth that each student must be taught according to his or her individual capacity at any given time. And each step is to be experienced for what the Bhagavad-Gita shows it to be: an episode in the greatest of all adventures, the eternal journey of the soul."--T. K. V. Desikachar.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

T.K.V. Desikachar, Krishnamacharya's son and longtime student, is one of the world's foremost teachers of yoga. A renowned authority on the therapeutic uses of yoga, he is the founder of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram and the cofounder of the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation, both of which are based in Chennai.

R.H. Cravens was born in Salinas, Kansas, in 1940. His early career included stints at the Associated Press and Time/Life Books, as well as speechwriting for the United Nations. He had a long affiliation with the fine art photography publisher Aperture, as both a writer and a contributing editor. Cravens died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in April 2009.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Reprint edition (September 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865477523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865477520
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Unlike "Autobiography of a Yogi," this work is not about magic but about the living tradition of yoga, and of a yogi skilled in all six Ways of Viewing, a wanderer, who journeyed for years on end learning the Vedic teachings, finally settling in south India to live yoga and raise a family. Not quite a biography, this book is a mixture of reminiscences, teachings and photographs of the author's father, Sri Krishnamacharya. One of my favorite stories describes Krishnamacharya's journey to a temple known long ago for its learned teachers. When he arrived by foot, exhausted, the gateskeeper suggested he first nap outside the grounds. Later, inside, he met a great teacher "seated beneath a banyan tree granting knowledge to all his disciples" and promptly memorized all his words upon recitation---only to awaken outside to the self-same gateskeeper, who slyly asked if he had found what he was looking for. The lost teachings had been transmitted in a dream. There is much more than this, of course, including many practical aspects and insights on all 8 limbs of classical yoga. There are two related shortcomings in this otherwise superb book. First, look at the fine "Essence of Yoga" by Desikachar's student, B. Bouanchaud. The frontispiece is a drawing by Krishnamacharya depicting Patanjali surrounded by his four students. These students represent the four books of the Yoga Sutras, the same teachings having been presented differently and with different emphases for each student. This skill-in-means is fundamental to Krishnamacharya's whole approach to yoga. While three of his students (B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, T.K.V. Desikachar) are mentioned here, I was surprised to read all 211 pages and find that A.G.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I have just read this book. It is destined to become a classic book about yoga. It is more than just a biography of Krishnamacharya's life, it is a very straightforward account of Hindu theology and one of the best summaries of Patanjali"s writings I have ever read. So many things in the book are skillfully examined, such as the role of Sanskrit language in yoga, and how yoga fits in historically with eastern religious life. I have come to view Krishnamacharya as a reformer bringing yoga into the modern world, and more important to the west. I compare _Health, Healing and Beyond : The Living Tradition of Krishnamacharya_ with the yoga classic, _Autobiography of a Yogi_ and the latter is found wanting in terms of providing any real illumination about the system of yoga.
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Format: Paperback
When TKV Desikachar was a kid he refused to do asanas (yoga poses) so Krishnamacharya tied him up in the lotus position for a while, with ropes: "and left me for a while to think about it". The kind of thing a yogi does to his child. Hm.

I was taken back by the book, left breathless at points. It is not everyday you get such a presence in the account of the life of Krishnamacharya as it is here, by his son, and written with full presence..

Here are things that I didn't know/surprised me:

- Defying Our Common Assumptions

Let me ask you: What is the one organ within the human body on which all others depend? Tell me. Did you answer the "heart" by any chance? I did.

"To give you just one example: It is axiomatic Western physiology that the heart pumps blood that enables other organs to perform their function.... In Krishnamahcaryas system, the lungs are the pump that makes the heart work. It defies all we know"

Game changer how Krishnamacharya saw the center of the body. No wonder his emphasis was so much in pranayama (breathing extension, breathing slowly, counting lifetimes in amount of breaths rather than years)

- Vinyasa

Not only does Krishnamacharya have the unique vision of vinyasa as being the effort that accompanies asana through the breathing, which is how he interprets Yoga Sutra 2.47 (unlike ALL other teachers), he goes further in the eyes of his son:

Desikachar:
"My father's students were often amazed that he would greet them at the gate when they arrived, conduct the lessons, and then escort them back to the gate and bid them farewell. It is a practice that I continue. Often a student considers it a somewhat elaborate courtesy, but it is actually vinyasa...
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Format: Hardcover
You do not have to be a serious practitioner of Yoga to appreciate the warmth that Desichakar brings forth in this tribute to his father. This is a story told from the heart, of a sons admiration and love of one of the foremost Yogis to have lived. I found myself finishing the book in less than a day. For those not familiar with the essence of Yoga as art, philosophy and science, this book offers an easy to comprhend overview of this timeless tradition which offers an incomparable richness to anyone who begins the journey. Krishnamacharya's devotion, compassion, and uncompromising discipline are an inspiration. This is Yoga beyond the commercialization and dilution of the art that is now so prevalent in the West.
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Format: Hardcover
Eloquent and accessible, Desikachar's tribute to his father not only accomplishes it's aim, but also illuminates the origins of indian philosophy and offers insight into the Hindu culture. Easily read, this is a wonderful source of information for not only practioners, but for everyone interested in this ancient science, and the man, who in all humility could be called the father of modern yoga.
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