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The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  2,896 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
The first yoga text to outline a step-by-step sequence for developing a complete practice according to viniyoga--yoga adapted to the needs of the individual.

• A contemporary classic by a world-renowned teacher.

• This new edition adds thirty-two poems by Krishnamacharya that capture the essence of his teachings.

Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, who lived to be over 100 year
Paperback, 272 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Inner Traditions (first published 1995)
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Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Tracie Pope
Recommended to Chaundra by: Rachel Burton
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
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
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
May 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Wendy Coulter
Apr 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Always on my bedside table & rarely travel without it.
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
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, yoga
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
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga
Definitely an (the?) essential yoga text, with a focus on making yoga more than just something one does in a studio. As the title indicates, this is about the personal practice of yoga: the things that a person does to put the philosophy into action. The perfect starting point.
Abhishek Upadhayay
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enlightenment
A must read.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Philosophies behind yogi practitioners. Wonderful food for thought.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Among my top ten best yoga books.
Kimberley A. McClure
Good Books Generate More Questions

This provides a wonderful resource that may be read multiple times with each reading yielding something new to ponder. It also complements other sources on the yoga sutras with practical recommendations for tailoring practice to an individual. Perhaps not for a beginner unless studying with a teacher or an experienced yoga practitioner.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best book about yoga ever
Lia Hulit
May 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Useful for getting into deeper philosophical and meditation practices of yoga. Helpful Sanskrit. At times required heavy concentration to read, not light and easy.
Rob Martin
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Most important yoga book I've read to date...
Apr 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mary Ann
Nov 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
AJ Dreadfulwater
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: yoga-inspired
Book 1 of 4- Yoga Teacher Training at Open Space
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Read about half of the book.
The last half of the book walks you through several sequences and flows and the reasoning for why one pose followed another.
A great book that took me back to Dr. Joseph Alter's Medical Anthropology class, where he explained the original meaning of yoga and its roots, which seem so far removed from today's understanding of yoga in the West to be something far too often associated with simply how to get "that yoga body", or as an excuse to douse yourself in Lululemon
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was one of those books that even though it was an enjoyable and enlightening read, I am so glad to be done with it. I read it for a yoga training workshop so it felt like homework but not in an entirely terrible way. Before reading this, I knew nothing about the 8 limbs of yoga other than asanas (the poses). I like Desikachar's voice and how he explains things. These are not easy topics to explain, so kudos to him. The part that took me the longest was the Yoga Sutras. It's like reading the ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, yoga
I read this book on and off for almost a year. It wasn't necessarily a tough read, but it also wasn't suitable for before bed or the beach. I did find some really interesting quotes and ideas to use in my yoga classes, however the last section about yoga philosophy was quite in-depth. What is confusing about this book is that it seems to be directed toward people who are learning about yoga for the first time, but I wouldn't recommend it to a beginner due to the overwhelming use of sanskrit term ...more
Steven Walker
Nov 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Cat Bennett
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 24, 2008 marked it as to-read
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
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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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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...

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“Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to pause. Few things are so pressing that they cannot wait for a moment of breath.” 6 likes
“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.” 3 likes
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