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The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

4.29 of 5 stars 4.29  ·  rating details  ·  2,035 ratings  ·  112 reviews
A world-renowned teacher outlines a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to viniyoga--yoga adapted to the needs of the individual. 300 photos/illustrations.
Kindle Edition
Published by Inner Traditions International (first published 1995)
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Jan 07, 2015 Ines rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in yoga
When I first began yoga, I loved going to class but found my at-home practice to be uninspiring, so I really only practiced in class. I bought this book to help develop my personal practice. Unfortunately, I was a beginner and found this book to be over my head. I could see it was a good source about yoga, but it seemed so foreign, intimidating, and distant from my everyday life. I imagined it was written by someone who lives in a lovely, peaceful secluded place where they can just meditate and ...more
After reading so many books on yoga, this is probably the best that I have come across! I am extremely happy to have found and read this. I really believe that when you have a need, and articulate it, the right thing would come your way. Just like when it is said that the guru will appear when the student is ready, this book is most suited for me at this point of my practise.

I find TKV Deshikachar's approach is similar to many of my own personal beliefs when practising and teaching yoga, so I fi
This is an excellent book on all aspects of yoga that is comprehensive without feeling tedious or too heavy. Written by T.K.V. Desikachar, the son of Krishnmacharya, it strikes a perfect tone where you feel like your teacher is beside you guiding you along your journey. Krishnamacharya is credited with spreading yoga to the west, as he taught yoga indiscriminately to both Indians and Westerners alike as well as women (small side note: How the Brahmin class for centuries could have thought that w ...more
Jul 24, 2008 Chaundra rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tracie Pope
Recommended to Chaundra by: Rachel Hawes
Shelves: that-shaped-me, yoga
A great book to reflect over and provides some really wonderful insights into what is a very healing and balanced approach to yoga. You go through the whole thing thinking "This man speaks sense". I'm not sure I'm quite ready to incorporate all of it into my practice (and some of it I might never), but the parts that I have, have made a difference already. A great one for people looking to start to delve a bit deeper into a very authentic, yet adaptable philosophy of yoga.
Bernie Gourley
This book’s author, T.K.V. Desikachar, was the son and student of T. Krishnamacharya. If you’re not a well-read and/or Indian yoga practitioner, there’s a good chance the latter name means nothing to you, and yet your practice has likely been influenced profoundly by him. He was the teacher of B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indira Devi. Iyengar, who recently passed away, popularized the use of props (blocks, straps, bolsters, etc.) as a means to achieve proper alignment until one’s flexibili ...more
Angela Dawn
This is a wonderful resource for those interested in developing a personal Yoga practice with depth and meaning.
in addition to practical and expert advice about the asanas(postures)of Hatha Yoga. This book gives the reader a rich insight into the Yoga tradition in terms that are amenable to the minds of modern readers.
Additionally, this book is a loving tribute from a son
T.V.K. Desikachar, to his father, a true Yoga Master of the old school, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya(1888 to 1989)
who was a lege
July 2009:
Namaste Book Club first book club pick.

Review for Yoga Teacher Training December 2008:

Another really interesting perspective on the spirituality and practice of yoga. TKV Desikachar is the son of Krishnamacharya, yogi, teacher, scholar, doctor, and much more. Krishnamacharya is a rock star in the yoga world for all he has accomplished in bringing yogic principles to a broad audience. This book combines biography, autob
Ebony Haywood
Loved it. Glad I purchased it. I didn't really understand yoga before reading this book. I learned that yoga is way more than being a human pretzel. Yoga is a mind, body and spiritual practice. It is about experiencing clarity and peace within your moment to moment experiences. I highly recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in yoga.
A must read for yoga teacher training. I mean I had to read it for the training but I also find myself referencing it now while creating yoga classes. It has a lot of the basics, the yoga sutras and vinyasa philosophy from its originator.
Philosophies behind yogi practitioners. Wonderful food for thought.
Wendy Coulter
Always on my bedside table & rarely travel without it.
Louise Silk
This is the book I would recommend for teacher training. It includes all of the reasoning and understanding for what is behind a yoga practice.
I particularly appreciated the included Yoga Sutra of Patanjali translation.

"When we begin studying yoga- whether by way of asanas, pranayama, meditation, or studying Yoga Sutra- the way in which we learn is the same. The more we progress, the more we become aware of the holistic nature of our being, realizing that we are made of body, breath, mind and mo
Currently I am in a yoga teacher training, and this review will be structured as notes to myself for the TT:

-Engineering major at the university influenced Desikachar.

Interview with Desikacher:
-Many people became versed in Sanskrit in previous generations the way people become versed in English today.
-alvar = someone who has come to us to rule; regarded as an incarnation of God
-Yoga is considered a purely spiritual discipline in India.
-Krishnamacharya took the pulse of people who v
Mary Ann
This book is by the son of T. Krishnamacharya, the founder of modern yoga, teacher of B.K.S. Iyengar and K. Pattabhi Jois, who studied with him in their early years and later developed Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga, which have spread worldwide. Their fame has far outstripped their teacher, who was a modest man who never traveled abroad.

T.K.V. Desikachar lived and studied with this father all his life. Although he trained as an engineer, he now teaches the full spectrum of Krishnamacharya's yoga. Th
T.K.V. Desikachar is the son of a guru Sri T. Krishnamacharya -- so, he grew up with yoga ever present in his life. His perspective, explained so a westerner can understand (or at least hear it and try to understand) is very helpful.

To learn yoga, and I mean more than just learning a lot of yoga poses, will be easier with this sort of basic and practical insight into the history of the traditions from India. It is curious that the early yogi experts were all men -- that women were not even consi
This is a wonderful resource for those interested in developing a personal Yoga practice with depth and meaning.
In addition to practical and expert advice about the asanas (postures) of Hatha Yoga, this book gives the reader a rich insight into the Yoga tradition in terms that are amenable to the minds of modern readers.
Additionally, this book is a loving tribute from a son T.V.K. Desikachar, to his father,
a true Yoga Master of the old school, Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888 to 1989)
who was
Alicia Montgomery
Lots to know. This was more like a text book than an easy read. I appreciate the wealth of information it provided. I plan to refer back to it again and again to truly absorb all that it offers. I got it on Kindle. For a one time read this is ok. But since I plan to study Yoga in depth I think I will buy a hard copy.
My go-to yoga text. I continue studying, with the guidance of my viniyoga teacher. I refer back to this text nearly every day and predict that I will continue to do so for years. I own two hard copies, a digital copy on my Nook, and another on my phone!
Steven Walker
This is one of my all time favorite books on yoga written about the life and teaching of Sri T. Krishnamacharya, one of the fathers of western yoga and a primary guru of B.K.S. Iyengar. What I particularly love about this book is the complete picture of yoga that it gives as passed from father to son, master to disciple. It ties together the old world of yoga and the new yoga awareness emerging in the west and around the globe. While yoga must change and evolve to adapt to new cultures, there is ...more
Who does this guy think he is? I can't believe he is trying to say that yoga is more than physical activity. I mean, yoga is really just fitness to make people flexible, right? Such audacity to write this satire. It's not like he even comes from any important lineage... 5 stars because it is just too funny.
Anyone interested in yoga should read this book. Easy to read, great history into yoga. I use this book often as a form of reference.
Cat Bennett
This is an excellent overview of the eight limbs of yoga including the asana or physical postures we commonly think of as the whole of yoga. Desikachar also explains the 196 yoga sutras or or moral precepts outlined by the sage Patanjali in the second century BC. The book explains each basic asana and its benefits and how to put a practice together. Desikachar draws wisdom of the tradition from his late father who was was an esteemed yogi and from his own long practice. The book is written with ...more
Beverly Fox
Didn't feel like reading a textbook at all and yet full of vitally important information. Explained a lot of difficult concepts in easy to understand ways and normalized the feelings of learning a new practice so that I felt comforted and reassured with my own path. Great text and a must have for anyone studying the 8 limbed path.
This book was on the reading list for my yoga teacher training. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. It's a great introduction to the other branches of yoga, especially if you thought yoga began and ended with postures.

It's easy to read, which is helpful because it discusses yogic philosophy, which at times can be dense. It offers instruction in pranayama, asana, philosophy, and meditation. The end of the book includes commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

This book is a must have for any
Great book for those seeking to dive deeper into their practice of yoga.
Jul 05, 2009 Sara marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
you know, i've been searching for this book at every used bookstore i come across. after more than a year on my quest, i saw a copy at powell's this week. i opened it, read the introduction, part of the first chapter, and then flipped through several sections. after all this time waiting, one would think i'd be happy to finally have it in my hands. but as it turns out, not so much. i took a second look at the $18 used-book price tag, shrugged my shoulders, and put it back on the shelf. guess i'l ...more
Accessible, digestible, deep. A favorite forever.
Among my top ten best yoga books.
I am just about always "reading" this book, it hardly ever leaves its rotation on my night-stand or coffee table (unless it has come with me somewhere). It is my favorite yoga book, though only if we agree to define yoga as the practice of life and not just poses since it doesn't offer much in the way of details or specifics on poses and practices (that book is Dancing the Body of Light, which is my favorite yoga technique book). I've been through a few copies due to reading it so much it fell a ...more
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  • Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness
  • Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness
  • Yoga Anatomy
  • Yoga for Wellness: Healing with the Timeless Teachings of Viniyoga
  • Living Your Yoga: Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life
  • Anatomy of Hatha Yoga: A Manual for Students, Teachers, and Practitioners
  • Hatha Yoga Pradipika
  • Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual
  • The Key Muscles of Hatha Yoga
  • The Secret Power of Yoga: A Woman's Guide to the Heart and Spirit of the Yoga Sutras
  • Light on Yoga
  • The Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy and Practice
  • Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing
  • Anatomy of Movement
  • Jivamukti Yoga: Practices for Liberating Body and Soul
  • The Yoga Sutras
  • Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
  • Yoga: The Iyengar Way
TKV Desikachar, son and student of T Krishnamacharya had the privilege of living and studying with T Krishnamacharya from 1960 until Krishnamacharya's death in 1989. For over 50 years, TKV Desikachar has devoted himself to teaching yoga and making it relevant to people from all walks of life and with all kinds of abilities. His teaching method is based on Krishnamacharya's fundamental principle th ...more
More about T.K.V. Desikachar...
Health, Healing, and Beyond: Yoga and the Living Tradition of Krishnamacharya Religiousness in Yoga: Lectures on Theory and Practice Reflections on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali The Viniyoga of Yoga, Applying yoga for healthy living In search of Mind

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“In education the first requirement is the teacher, the second is the student. What should happen between them is learning. How it should happen is through the constant teaching of that which will be relevant to the student. That is education.” 1 likes
“The guru is not one who says, “I am the guru.” There are great stories in the Upaniṣads of the guru who rejected the very idea of teaching. One of the qualities of a person who is clear, who is wise, is not to need to say “I am clear, I am wise.” There is no need to say this.” 0 likes
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