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The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  3,635 ratings  ·  171 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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4.31  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,635 ratings  ·  171 reviews

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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 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 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
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.
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.
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.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yoga
People often ask me if I teach asanas, and when I answer “yes” they say: “Oh then you are a hatha yogi!” If I am talking about the Yoga Sutra they say “Oh, you are a raja yogi!” And if I say I recite the Vedas the comment is: “Oh, so you are a mantra yogi!” If I simply say that I practice, they do not know what to make of me. Many people want to give everything and everyone a label. Unfortunately, these classifications have become much too important and give the impression that there are fundame ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to really say I'm "finished" with this book, because I've gone back so many times and read and re-read and highlighted so many passages!
Needless to say, this is one of the cornerstones of my yoga journey and practice and the wisdom and practical information in this book keep me coming back time and time again.
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.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm just a yoga newbie, so a lot of it went over my head. In particular, I didn't enjoy the breakdown of the Yoga Sutras at the end of the book. However, the parts I found useful were very good, and I feel more welcome and confident in my yoga practice for having read this.
Kirtida Gautam
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chakra-6
This is one of the best books I have read on Yog. Brilliant.
Emma Brunet
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well explained book to start exploring the different spheres of yoga.
Vadim Sviridovich
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: health, yoga
Удивительная книга, которая будет интересна как начинающим, так и давно практикующим йогу. Дешикачару, сыну и ученику Кришнамачарьи, удалось просто и понятно рассказать о таком сложном предмете как йога.
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
Debora Perez
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book with a lot of yogic insight and wisdom. This is a must read for every westerner who thinks they understand yoga. It is more than a physical practice and there is a lot to be learned!
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: yoga, non-fiction
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
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.
Christine Mckenna
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant, inspiring book, and a comprehensive guide to essential yoga practice and philosophy. I plan to return to it often, for inspiration and insights.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Among my top ten best yoga books.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga
“Q: There is much interest these days in understanding nondualism. Some teachers say that is all that is needed. What is the difference between the way your father taught and Advaita Vedānta? A: My father said about advaita, and I quote, “The word advaita has two parts, a - and dvaita .” So to realize advaita we should first realize dvaita. It is a very interesting idea. In other words, to realize advaita, nondualism, one must first realize dvaita, dualism. We must start with the reality of our
Oksana Taran
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing

Дешикачар - син Крішнамачар‘я (вчитель нам усім аштангістам відомого Патабхі Джойса). Дешикачар також був одним з учнів Крішнамачар‘я, жив та вчився в нього 25 років.

Вперше почала читати цю книгу ще влітку. Дуже багато корисного для своєї практики там знайшла, хотілося підкреслити майже кожен абзац. Тоді прочитала лише половину і на той період було достатньо, ходила пів року і просто переварювала інформацію.

Тепер тут в Майсорі вдруге почала читати її, і склалося таке враження що читаю цю книгу в
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The best, most engaging, and most practically applicable of the books I've read in preparation for my yoga teacher training! The translation and commentary of the Yoga Sutras at the end is SO much more edifying and easier to comprehend than the version by Swami Satchidananda, so if you have to read that, read this one first.

If you're here, you know generally what these types of books are trying to tell you, so all I really want to say is that Desikachar has managed to tell it in an accessible w
Marta Kuzmiak
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Це книга-основа для людей, які практикують йогу і їх цікавить дещо більше, ніж просте викоання асан і дихання. Тут доступно і чітко пояснюється головна мета занять і способи досягнення поставлених цілей. Звичайно, деякі речі важко осилити з першого разу, щоб зрозуміти певне речення мені довелось не раз його перечитувати. Йога-сутри поки для мене занадто далекі, маю надію, що одного дня буду розуміти їх краще.
Головна мета книги - знайти свого вчителя, який буде тебе відчувати і зможе правильно
Dixie Keyes
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who wants to know more (the heart, the beginnings, the lineage) of yoga, this is an excellent book written by someone who knows ancient truths. It's accessible reading for anyone, with both philosophical and practical guidance that reaches into our daily lives. Visuals and graphics are included, along with 4 practices to help beginners make that start. Respect for the ancient traditions begins from page one and continues through the inclusion of the yoga sutras, both in their original ...more
Nikki Neal Rich
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. It is much more about yoga philosophy that about asanas but it has been quite helpful in developing my own practice which is what the book is about. I kind of wish there was like a flow chart with words and meanings. There is a glossary but I still had to keep some notes in order to keep the sanskrit words straight in my head. If you are into yoga I would definitely recommend this book.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
By far the most accessible, in depth, and comprehensive text I've encountered in my yoga teacher training to this point. A must-read for anyone looking to deepen their practice from a well-written, wonderfully organized, and heartfelt book. Desikachar is also very dynamic in his presentations of the information with Q and A responses in some places, drawings that provide immense clarity, and progression of concept from beginning to end. I'm very excited to read this again and again.
Lamar McClain
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I found the first third of the book to be profound in establishing a Yoga practice making sense of the various postures. The remainder of the book details the author's Yoga reflections. Some will see these as a helpful starting point and others will challenge them while establishing their own Yoga philosophy.
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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
“Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to pause. Few things are so pressing that they cannot wait for a moment of breath.” 8 likes
“However powerful or disturbing something may appear to be, it is our reaction to it that determines its effects.” 3 likes
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