Health, Healing and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of Krishnamacharya

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Aperture, 1998 - Health & Fitness - 211 pages
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Yoga is India's greatest gift to the world, believed the sage Tirumalai Krishnamacharya. His contribution was to preserve and modernize the five-thousand-year-old wisdom that today benefits millions of individuals far beyond the confines of this Yogic master's homeland.

To Krishnamacharya, Yoga was a means to improved health; to restored well-being in the face of illness; and to emotional balance and enhanced mental clarity. It was also the accessible path of progression toward union with the Absolute-- whether conceived as a named God or a nameless truth.

Health, Healing & Beyond is the long-awaited biographical profile and exploration of the work of this teacher of many of Yoga's greatest exponents-- including B.K.S. Iyengar, Indra Devi, and K. Pattabhi Jois. It is the story of dedication to a single purpose-- to place the benefits of Yoga at the service of humanity.

This lively, affectionate account, by Krishnamacharya's son T.K.V. Desikachar, traces the near-mythic labors of scholarship that equipped Krishnamacharya with an unparalleled mastery of India's ancient traditions. Years spent as a disciple to a legendary teacher in Tibet were followed by Krishnamacharya's service to the Maharaja of Mysore in the last years of British colonial rule in India. There, in the 1930s, American and European medical experts reported the Yogi's astonishing ability to stop both his heartbeat and his breath: essentially, to control the life process itself.

In the years following India's Independence, until Krishnamacharya's death in 1989 at the age of 100, his efforts were concentrated on adapting, even revolutionizing, Yogic practice for modern life. He swept aside ancient prohibitions against certain Yogic practices by women, and innovated therapeutic treatments for respiratory, cardiac, stroke, and injury victims, as well as new therapies for mental illness and disabilities. His great mission was to make Yoga available to each individual, regardless of age, sex, race, culture, station in life, and belief-- or non-belief.

Desikachar also provides a remarkably lucid introduction to ancient Sanskrit texts, including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, which are the foundation of Yoga as a "science of the mind." For both beginners and advanced students, as well as the curious lay reader, Health, Healing & Beyond is an indispensable guide to the philosophy, principles, and limitless possibilities of Yoga.

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About the author (1998)

T. K. V. Desikachar has devoted his life to yoga instruction for people of all backgrounds and all levels of ability. He currently teaches at the school founded in his father's memory.

R. H. Cravens has worked extensively with Desikachar.

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