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Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings Paperback – Illustrated, July 13, 2010
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“Krishnamacharya is absolutely delightful. It gives us an intimate window into the devotion, intensity, and clarity of the true source of modern yoga, Sri Krishnamacharya. A. G. Mohan gives us urgently needed lessons on the inner subtlety and depth of yoga.”—Richard Freeman, author of The Mirror of Yoga
"A. G. Mohan's book about the life and teachings of Krishnamacharya is an important link in the chain of yogic knowledge, handed down from past to present via teacher to student. We gain double benefit with Mohan's book. We not only benefit from greater insight into the teachings of Krishnamacharya but we also experience the wisdom of A. G. Mohan as well."—David Swenson, author of Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual
“Very few students actually stayed with Krishnamacharya to study and carefully practice what he was offering; A. G. Mohan is one who did. Read this book because it is a fascinating window into a deeply personal relationship in the age old practice of yoga transmission and learning.”—Mark Whitwell, author of Yoga of Heart
"This book is a great addition to the growing number of books documenting the history of modern yoga, and is a must read for the serious yoga practitioner.”—YogaBasics.com
About the Author
- Item Weight : 10.1 ounces
- Paperback : 176 pages
- ISBN-10 : 159030800X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1590308004
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.55 x 8.98 inches
- Publisher : Shambhala; Illustrated edition (July 13, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #838,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This is why a book like Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings by A.G.Mohan is so valuable, so precious. Consider for example when Mohan attends his first lecture with him:
"... The subject of the lecture was ancient rituals, but Krishnamacharya linked the practices of yoga to the subject, I became spellbound, immersed in Kirshnamacharya's discourse and the power of his presence, as if I were sitting at the feet of an ancient sage".
And a sage he was. Kirshnamacharya was, for what I gather in the book and by sheer force of the devotion of his direct students, a Guru's Guru. I was impressed at how he would refuse students he did not consider serious.
He used unconventional methods to test the level of truth behind the desire to learn from potential students, for example when once Mohan asked him what would he do if a wealthy student of dubious intentions came by asking for teachings and he replied he would, for example, ask for him to come back with the equivalent of, say, 5000 dollars, and if the student did bring it, then he would return the money, content in the knowing that the student was serious.
Krishnamacharya was fiercely and one pointedly committed to the spread of yoga, and he succeeded. I almost felt he would wink to all people out there showing fancy poses, talking about yoga, discussing through blogs, propagating, advertising, letting yoga work its way into our collective imagination. This, is the reason behind all his (and students) demonstrations of advanced asanas, even to people who could clearly not do them at once, or so he told Mohan, it was advertising.
However, when it came to actually teaching: "Taking into the account the structure of the body and the distortions in the body, one should do the appropriate asana. Only experts can guide the student..."
On the chapter of asana, his words about headstand are quite remarkable: "Remember, headstand is not just an asana. It is classified as a mudra".... "He [Krishnamacharya] felt that the rate of breathing [in headstand] should slow down to as few as two breaths per minute, for a duration of at least tenty-four breaths"
When Mohan suggested buying a tape recorder to retain his teacher's words for posterity Krishnamacharya was actually all in favor. This is why some of the quotes are so vivid, and this is a great asset which I as a student rejoice in. Mohan still has these recordings and they are available for purchase in his website (although the links do not seem to work for me at the moment), here with all proceeds going for the preservation of Vedic knowledge.
On the chapter of pranayama, kryias and yoga teraphy there is an excerpt of an interview where he discussed how stopping his pulse and heart beat" "...All happened automatically... I did it by practicing pranayama, vishama vrtti, in nadishodana pranayama and meditation as well..." Easy does it, you see?
I almost do not want to tell more for fear of spoiling it, but let me just for a moment take you to a room where the master is about to die, he is 100 years old, and Mohan asks him "What is most important in life?" among other things, he replies: Health, longevity, a tranquil mind.
I am very glad I read the book, and I think I will be re-reading it, this one of those rare "long term keepers"
Top reviews from other countries
Krishnamacharya's students are responsible for the most popular Yoga styles today like Iyengar and Ashtangar Yoga. An Mohan, the author, has been his personal student for over twenty years. This book taught me that asanas are merely meant to prepare the body for the more advanced disciplines of Yoga like Pranayama and meditation. Most yoga schools don't even teach those components nowadays.
If you're interested in Yoga or not, this book will teach you many things about yourself and your health. And it will show you many tools to be happier and healthier.