What was Krishanamacharya’s style of yoga?

Picture of Krishnamacharya

With the worldwide spread of yoga there has been some understandable jostling amongst the different gurus and teachers with respect to lineages and yoga styles. This jostling inevitably leads to the question: What was Krishnamacharya’s style of yoga?

While the jostling is understandable this is not welcome for two reasons. One is that the very basis of yoga is to encourage movement away from the ego. Ancient sages and saints were reluctant to even identify themselves as authors of the texts that they wrote for this reason.

The other reason that this jostling for space within the yoga community is not welcome is that yoga has ways to go. Why fight amongst ourselves when there is so much to be done? An earlier post pointed out that upwards 98% of the world population is not doing yoga. With these kinds of numbers what sense it makes to fight over claims on the 2% of people that do practice yoga? That is like fighting over a small pool of water while the entire ocean lies unclaimed before you.

The question of Krishnamacharya’s style comes up because he is now viewed as the father of the modern yoga movement. Iyengar, Ashtanga, Viniyoga, Sai, and many other different yoga styles have been inspired by the teaching of Krishnamacharya. There are indeed many claimants to Krishnamacharya’s legacy. The question of Krishnamacharya’s style hence comes up when different yoga schools claim to be the closest to Krishnamacharya’s original teaching and style.

The purpose of this post is not to create controversy by taking a stand on what Krishnamacharya’s style was. The intention is in fact the opposite. The idea of this post is to show that the question of his style may be irrelevant. The reason this is so is that Krishnamacharya taught in no fixed style himself. He adopted his style based on his student’s need. To Pattabhi Jois who was young and strong he taught a vigorous form of yoga with challenging postures. To Indra Devi, who was sick when she arrived, he taught an extremely gentle form of yoga.

Srivatsa Ramaswami also attests to this. Krishnamacharya used to come to his home to teach a group class to his family. This was probably one of the rare group classes that he taught. He usually taught one-on-one and most of the yoga he showed his students was in the context of a yoga therapy rather than a yoga class. So what Srivatsa Ramaswami has to say about this class is fascinating: Continue reading

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What would confucius say in modern times?

Picture of Confucius

Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.

Man who runs in front of car gets tired, man who runs behind car gets exhausted.

Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.

Man who fights with wife all day get no piece at night.

Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.

Finally CONFUCIUS SAYS. . .

“A lion will not cheat on his wife, but a Tiger Wood!”

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Who am I?

Picture of Svetaketu
Why has the story of a child called Svetaketu been preserved for more than 2500 years? One reason is that that this story provides hints to the answer of one of the most daunting philosophical question: Who am I? Here, for the first time is a quick video presentation that provides the story of Svetaketu and its relationship to our lives.

The story of Svetaketu is directly related to the Golden Rule. To understand what is the Golden Rule and how it impacts your life please read the following story: The Golden Rule and Svetaketu.

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The Golden Rule and Svetaketu

Picture of Rabbi Hillel

Rabbi Hillel was on his way home when he was confronted by an insolent gentile. “Explain to me the whole Torah, in the time I can stand on my one foot!”

Rabbi Hillel was surprised by being so challenged. However he recovered quickly. He looked at the gentile, and said in a soft voice, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow! This is the whole Torah! The rest is commentary.” He then patted the gentile on his shoulder and continued, “Now go and learn!”

Less than a few decades later Jesus would utter the same thing when he said, “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”

This maxim is now known as the “Golden rule.” If we dig deeper we find that the Golden rule is at the heart of every religion: http://www.unification.net/ws/theme015.htm.

Now the question arises: What is the basis of the Golden rule? How is it that this rule is at the heart of every major faith?

If we study the message in the story of Svetaketu we realize that this story and the story of Rabbi Hillel are just two sides of the same coin. The story of Svetaketu tells us that it makes no sense for the right hand to fight with the left hand, as they both are part of the same being. The Golden Rule tells us the same thing. While the story of Svetaketu is abstract and deals with deeper metaphysical concepts, the Golden Rule is down to earth. It takes the abstract and the mystical and translates it into an action program for our daily life.

Both the Golden Rule and the story of Svetaketu have the same message for us: It is great to do yoga on the mat, but it should eventually translate to a broader yoga off the mat. The yoga off the mat can take many forms: Helping distressed animals, working with outreach sections of our society, or those with special needs, or any other. It really does not matter what form our yoga off the mat takes, but if we do it sincerely and daily then it will lead to an inner transformation that will bring alive the message of Svetaketu’s story into our lives.

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Yoga has made a big difference in my spirit!

Lady doing yoga
I will turn 65 next year. I feel good, but I can’t imagine how I would be feeling—much less how I will feel in the future—if yoga weren’t part of my life.

Though I had toyed with yoga when I was a young woman, low back pain sent me to yoga in a more serious way almost a decade ago. At that time, when I got out of the car after my 40+ minute drive to and from work, I would have to stand still for a while and let my body have some time to get ready to move. Yoga got rid of the “wad of chewing gum” I felt I had stuck in my low back. Then a still undefined pelvic imbalance began to cause me chronic mild pain, resulting in many sleepless nights. I tried chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture, and many creams, lotions and pain relievers. An even more regular yoga practice of a slightly different kind has made a world of difference.

I know that the aging body will continue to pose (pardon the pun!) many challenges, but I believe that regular yoga and walking will help my body stay as strong and flexible as possible.

Yoga has also made a big difference in my spirit, my personal serenity. I’ve struggled with a somewhat volatile temper at times in my life, and I confess that I have been impatient and quick to judge. I continue struggle to ward off anxiety. Asana, pranayama, and meditation are tools that still, quiet, and calm me. That may be the greatest benefit of all.

This story was submitted by KC who lives in Colorado and prefers to remain anonymous. Please do not hesitate to share your stories as this will help inspire others. If you want to keep your stories anonymous we will honor that request.

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