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Krishnamacharya: His Life and Teachings Paperback – July 13, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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“Preserving and passing on the teachings and traditions of his teacher, T. Krishnamacharya, was my grandfather’s life work. This book explains the legacy, and gives a better understanding into the life and work of a great master.”—Sharath Rangaswamy, grandson of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

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

A. G. Mohan was a student of "the father of modern yoga," Yogacarya Sri T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989), for eighteen years. He is the author of several books on yoga, including Yoga for Body, Breath, and MindYoga Reminder; and Yoga Therapy. Co-founder of Svastha Yoga & Ayurveda, he is respected internationally as a teacher of rare authenticity and knowledge.  He divides his time between Chennai, India, and Singapore.  Learn more at svastha.net.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030800X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590308004
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The yoga lineage founded by T. Krishnamacharya includes many of the best-known 20th century hatha yoga teachers, from Iyengar and Pattabis Jois to Desikachar and Ramaswami. Now, A.G. Mohan (a student of Krishhamacharya's for 18 years) and his son, Ganesh (the ghost-writer), have written a memoir about this accomplished man. The text alternates aspects of Krishhamacharya's life and teachings, with Mohan's life as he grew under his guru's tutelage. All the teachings are there: body/asana, breath/pranayama, and mind/awareness. What is new, different and interesting is the close-up view of Krishnamacharya the man, shorn of the demigogery that has hitherto tended to obscure our vision of him. The intro bio sketch, though frustratingly short, manages to cover in greater detail than I've seen elsewhere Krishhamacharya's extensive traditional Vedic education. From 1906 to 1925, he studied the Nyaya, Mimamsa and Samkhya/Yoga darshanas--including the fabled 8 years in Tibet studying yoga--before becoming ensconced at the famed Mysore Palace in 1926. Following the loss of royal patronage with Indian independence, he moved to Chennai around 1950. In 1971, Mohan accompanied Srivatsa Ramaswami to a lecture by Krishnamacharya, was "spellbound," and began private studies with him the following year. Up until his death in 1989, Mohan collected 5000+ pages of notes and countless audio recordings, from which this memoir was drawn. There are many books (including Mohan's own) that cover Krishhamacharya's yoga teaching's: asana for health, pranayama for cleansing and longevity, vinyasa and personalization of practice, the importance of devotion and chanting, and aspects of Ayurveda. This background alone reveals the value of this memoir in giving us a portrait of the man.Read more ›
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Krishnamacharya died on February 28th, 1989. I first realized that he was the master behind my lineage (and pretty much any lineage around these days) in the early 2000s, so as much I as I would have wished to travel and meet him, I never had a chance.

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.
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I really enjoyed this book. This book was insightful on the teachings and life of the great yogi Krishnamacharya. Krishnamacharya was a great scholar of the Vedic, yoga sutra, ancient hindu, and yoga texts. His style of teaching was unique. He taught specifically and tailored to his student's needs, not his. Asthanga and Iyengar yoga are the offsprings of this great yogi's teaching.
Krishnamacharya was a man of God. He lived a disciplined life. His life style was simple. He never wanted to be famous. He didn't care about money or fame. His life was simple. He was a devoted man of God, disciplined in his studies and practice of the 8 limbs of yoga and a giving teacher to his students.

A nice and easy read. Very enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyine that teaches yoga. Insight to a great yogi and teacher.

Om Shanti
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You always learn something from the life of a great master, and so too, I learnt important things in reading this biography of Krishnamacharya. Some of the most important things I learnt were gleaned from snippets of how the master lived, including his disciplined life and daily schedule which begun at 2am in the morning when he awoke, and ended at 8pm at night when he went to sleep. Other instructive examples included Krishnacharya's approach to chanting and devotional ritual as modes of mental discipline, and his habit of casting his eyes down while walking and sitting as a way of withdrawing the senses. Krishnamcharya's thought and comments on aspects of yoga, his advice to A.G. Mohan and others, and his personal response to different situations including economic and moral choices as well as health conditions, were all instructive. As the author A.G. Mohan himself said in his book, he himself learnt most from just sitting at the feet of his guru Krishnamacharya, and imbibing the example of his being and personal conduct. Reading this book, we have a little taste of what it means to sit at the feet of this great master of yoga, and to learn from his personal example. Even a little drop can take us a long way.
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