book yoga makaranda

Krishnamacharya’s Yoga Makaranda

The Yoga Makaranda - Key Quotes From Krishnamacharya’s Seminal Book On Yoga Asana

First published in 1934 in the Kannada language, The Yoga Makaranda is said to have been written at the request of  Krishnamacharya’s patron, the reigning Maharaj of Mysore at that time.

The bibliography list is the following (notably absent is the legendary Yoga Korunta, as well as the Hathabhyasapaddatti which we now think was a fundamental influence on  Krishnamacharya’s teaching)


  1. Rajayoga Ratnakara
  2. Hathayoga Pradipika
  3. Yoga Saravalli
  4. Yoga Balaprathipikai
  5. Ravana Nadi (Nadi Pariksa of Ravana)
  6. Bhairava Kalpam
  7. Sri Tattvanidhi
  8. Yoga Ratnakarandam
  9. Mano Narayaneeyam
  10. Rudrayameelam (Rudrayamalam)
  11. Brahmayameelam
  12. Atharvana Rahasyam
  13. Patanjala Yogadarshanam
  14. Kapilasutram
  15. Yogayajnavalkyam
  16. Gheranda Samhita
  17. Narada Pancharatra Samhita
  18. Satvata Samhita
  19. Siva Samhita
  20. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad
  21. Chandilya Upanishad
  22. Yoga Shika Upanishad
  23. Yoga Kundalya Upanishad
  24. Ahir Buddhniya Samhita
  25. Nada Bindu Upanishad
  26. Amrita Bindu Upanishad
  27. Garbha Upanishad

If reference is made to textual sources in this text, it is either The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali or the Hathayogapradipika of Svatmarama that are mentioned with barely any exceptions. Often in conjunction with each other.

This is also unusual because The Yoga Sutras is considered a text predominantly on Raja Yoga (the yoga of meditation), with very little interest (at least, apparently) in hatha yoga practices.

Krishnamacharya seems to be very much attempting a synthesis of various aims and approaches to yoga over the ages in his teaching. Particularly, the religious elements of dharmic life associated with “The sanatana dharma”, with the specific technique of his teachings comprising asana and pranayama practices.

On a political level, maintaining that the ‘yoga tradition’ is one homogenous tradition, dating back to Vedic times, as we shall see, is an important factor in the book.

It is also worth keeping in mind that Krishnamacharya was a traditional Brahmin. Therefore, he couldn’t be seen to be innovating when it came to his teaching. Everything must have a precedent in traditional ‘orthodox’ texts to be considered as such.

To this end, he needed to find ways to authenticate what he was doing; which, in many ways, was a massively innovative revival and modernization of traditional teachings from various sources into one united form of practice.

Yoga As Concentration/Stilling The Mind (Along The Lines Of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras)

Krishnamacharya finds a great deal of the foundational aspects of his teaching on hatha yoga in The Yoga Sutras. Not only regarding the stilling of the mind, but, also, we often find emphasis on yama and niyama as fundamental in the practice of asana. (interestingly, in p1 of The Yoga Makararanda we find 10 yamas and 10 niyamas. Then, in part 2 he reverts to the standard Patanjalian 5+5).

This way of defining yoga as restraint of the senses, and, even, the consistent view in line with Patanjali, of yoga as a ladder of stages (ashtanga) to climb, is clearly in evidence on many occasions in the text. It is then, intriguingly inter-spliced with the tantric perspective of raising ‘kundalini’, which, indeed, we hear nothing of in Patanjali.

It seems then, slightly at loggerheads; asana is used on one hand to extricate the mind from the body, on the other, to further embody oneself in increasing body energy (kundalini).

Then, as well as this, there is a fair amount of concentration on asana simply in the more Ayurvedic sense; as a physical therapy for restoring bodily health (which we shall consider next).

‘The philosophy of yoga is to withdraw the mind from external activities, to draw its focus inwards, and to bring it into deep concentration. The benefit of such a process has been explained above using the example of sleep. The resolution of the mind acquired from sleep is of a tamasic nature. But the quality of mind (concentration, strength) acquired from yoga sadhana is of a pure sattva guna.”

“Through dharana and dhyana it is possible to know your mind but it is very difficult to see the atma through these methods. But through the strength of the practice of pranayama, once you stop the oscillating nature of mind you can reach the level of dhyana, nididhyasanam, and samadhi, and through that you can see the atma. “

“..But this pranayama must only be practised along with asana and while observing the yama and niyama.”

“But those who don’t follow their sanatana dharma, straying from their path and violating rules of diet and action, these people will not receive proper benefits from yogabhyasa.”

“You will not become a skilled yogi just by putting on the costume and faking it. Whatever occupation you are engaged in, you have to be very serious and strict and dedicated and at least follow the proper standards and restraints. “

“When once a fair proficiency has been attained in asana and pranayama, the aspirant to dhyana has to regulate the time to be spent on each and choose the particular asanas and pranayama which will have the most effect in strengthening the higher organs and centres of perception and thus aid him in attaining dhyana. The best asanas to choose for this purpose are SIRSHASANA and SARVANGASANA. These are to be done with proper regulated breathing and with bandhas. The eyes should be kept closed and the eye balls rolled as if they are gazing at the space between the eyebrows.”

Yoga As Physical Therapy

A surprising amount of the text is taken up considering yoga as physical therapy – albeit, not exactly along the lines of the modern scientific, anatomical way we approach it today. Nevertheless, in all the description of asanas comes their particular health benefits or curative properties. In this sense, Krishnamacharya could be seen as the father of modern ‘yoga therapy’!

At the end of the text, there is even several pages taken up with prescribing particular asana routines for particular ailments. Of specific note is Krishnamacharya’s’ interest in women’s issues of conception, menstruation and post-partum. This seems very modern for a man of his time. Yet, this interest is also continued in his other written works.

Of particular interest here is the mention of blood circulation (indeed, Pattabhi Jois often used to refer to ‘blood boiling’ as an aim of the practice). Also of note is the bringing of Ayurveda to the conversation; very much then, at least at this point, contextualising asana as part of the Ayurvedic science of body health as already mentioned.

At these points he often brings in The Hathayogapradipika as a reference, as, indeed, it also was somewhat of a hybrid of the raja, hatha and ayurvedic approach. Along similar lines to this text, Krishnamacharya goes into great depth on describing the practice of the cleansing techniques most evident in this text (‘kriyas’ and ‘shatkarmas’).

Once again, the particular interest in bodily health goes hand in hand with the higher, Patanjalian narrative of reaching the ‘atman’. To repeat;  I consider to be a unique aspect of Krishnamacharya’s teachings; the attempt to synthesise various strands of yoga (regarding aims) into one, cohesive, whole.

“Yoga practitioners initially have to take special care of their mind and body. Even if one is initially a little careless about the atma, this will not create problems. But as he proceeds in the practice, the practitioner has to pay equal attention to the mind, body, and atma. Both the body and the mind have equal relation to the atma.”

“Asana practice renders correct blood circulation. The snayus (ligaments) and various parts of the body will function at the perfect, ultimate level. It also causes all types  of internal circulation to function properly. We all know the connection between good blood circulation, good nadi granthi, healthy body and good health…

…whoever has no impurities in their blood will never develop any disease, and their body will develop a kind of glow. How can darkness reside where there is sunlight? Hence all Ayurveda texts speak specifically on the importance of good blood circulation and bone strength for good health. If the blood is not clean, then the nadi cakras will not function (rotate) properly.”

“The stomach is the only cause of an untimely death. There is no other reason. The dwelling place of death in the body is only the big stomach and nowhere else. “

“This asana [upavishta konasana], along with janusirsasana and baddhakonasana must be practised daily without fail by any- body who has irregular menstruation. In three months, they will have proper healthy regular menstrual cycles. “

“The above variations of the asana are according to RAJA YOGA. According to MATSYENDRANATH, GORAKHANATH and others of the Hatha Yoga school, a more strenuous variation of Karnapidasana is prescribed in the case of those suffering from stomach complaints.”

“If the movement of the VAYU and the circulation of blood are to be in the right way, it is necessary that one should practise YOGA asanas as stated by SVATMARAMA YOGENDRA in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The original and most authoritative source for SVATMARAMA is Patanjali who says that he who practises Yogasanas according to the rules and regulations of 79 the Yogic system is not affected by heat or cold by joy or sorrow.”

Krishnamacharya Priorities Breathing In Asanas And Pranayama Over Asana

This should be no surprise to us. But, indeed, every asana he describes has a particular emphasis on breathing. Meaning, that the principle of vinyasa; is how to breathe not only IN the asana but on entry and exit of the held position. In this, he mentions various ‘vinyasa counts’.

However, as much as he can be very specific, he is also happy to generalise. This highlights a trend with Krishnamacharya the text for me; at once a stickler for detail, yet, equally, a democratiser in his presentation of the simpler, basic rules of what he is doing so that everyone can approach practice.

On the other hand, he is consistent in his emphasis - over everything else - of breathing. Even, in the end, suggesting, in true Patanjalian fashion, that we work on asana to finally be able to practice pranayama (potentially in exclusion of asana).

“A man can live in his body for as long as he wishes, not just one hundred years. But for that, prana vayu suddhi is essential. Prana vayu suddhi means to keep prana vayu under one’s control. If prana vayu is to be kept under our control, pranayama is the most important tool.”

“The practice of pranayama should not be begun without having attained, a fair proficiency in some, at least of the sitting asanas, i.e., till it has become possible to sit in one of the asanas without discomfort for some appreciable time.”

“When I explain the rules of yogasana, if the position of the head has not been specified, then keep the head in jalandara bandha. Similarly, if it does not specify where to place the gaze, then the gaze should be directed towards the midbrow. If the position of the hands has not been specified, then the hands should be kept as in siddhasana. Whenever there is a krama where some part of the body has to be held with the hand, and the placement of the hand has not been described, hold the relevant part of the body with the first three fingers of the hand (including the thumb). Make sure to remember this.

“The vinyasas in which the head is raised are to be done with puraka kumbhaka and the ones in which the head is lowered must be done with recaka kumbhaka. Uthpluthi (raising the body from the floor with only the support of both hands on the floor is called uthpluthi) should be done on recaka kumbhaka for a fat person and on puraka kumbhaka for a thin person. “

“Some people say that yogabhyasa is only for men and not for women. Some others say that yoga is only for brahmins, kshatriyas, and vaishyas and not for others. One can immediately state that these people have never read the yoga sastras.”

The Yoga Marakaranda And Its Aim Of Highlighting The Tradition Of Yoga

As mentioned at the beginning, there is a definite political context to the writing of this text. Indeed, Krishnamacharya’s teaching at the Mysore palace, in general, are underscored by the fact that Krishnamacharya’s wealthy patron, the Maharaj of Mysore,  had an express interest in highlighting and promoting Indian tradition and national pride in the face of English colonialism (and it’s overthrowal).

It was very important, therefore, that yoga was presented as one, ancient and homogenou, tradition. One which could trace its roots back to a single (indigenous), source.

Along these lines, we see one mention in this text of the legendary ‘Yoga Korunta’ Krishnamacharya claims as the source of his teaching. Although, strangely, it is not included in the biography here, whilst mentioned elsewhere as such.

Indeed, on many occasions, we pick up hyperbolic sentiment from Krishnamacharya on yoga’s greatness in comparison to any other traditions of other countries – as well as its risk of its’ decimation from foreigners getting their hands on it and using – basically ‘appropriating’ it as we say today.

While I have sympathy for his frustrations, I also see them as contextualised by the underlying objectives of the yoga at the Mysore palace held by the Maharaj.

“The foreigners have stolen all the skills and knowledge and treasures of mother India, either right in front of us or in a hidden way. They pretend that they have discovered all this by themselves, bundle it together, and then bring it back here as though doing us a favour and in exchange take all the money and things we have saved up for our family’s welfare. “

“Here is the information we now need to discuss: of the 84 lakh asanas, their own writings reveal that during the time of Pujyapada Sri Sankaracarya, he was able to master (bring into his experience) 84 thousand asanas; during the time of Ethiraja Sri Ramanujacarya, he was able to master 64000 asanas, and during the time of Sri Madhavacarya and the time of Sri Nigamantha Desikar, they were able to master 24000 asanas. In recent times, during the time of our Jagatguru Sri Narasimha Bharati Swamigal, I have heard him state several times that he has mastered 1600 asanas.

In Nepal, living in Muktinarayanakshetram Sri Rama Mohana Brahmacari Guru Maharaj has mastered/(brought into his experience) 7000 asanas. I have seen this directly and through his guidance and advice, I have mastered 700 asanas. Nowadays (in present times), there are only 84 asanas illustrated in the books available and it is the same with some renowned yogis. Some have mastered a few more. “

“SETUBANDHASANA The same asana is called UTTANA MAYURASANA in Yoga Kurantam” (sole reference to the Yoga Korunta)

“The Yoga Asanas are not new inventions of the modern days propagated among the masses. Our religious books say that these Yoga practises were discovered thousands of years ago. The Bhagavad Gita which is accepted as one of the greatest scriptures all over the world is alone sufficient to testify to the greatness of Yoga. The connection between Yoga Asanas and Health is described in Chapter I Sloka 17 of Hathayoga Pradipika.”

Krishnamacharya’s Instruction On The ‘Secrets’ (Technique) Of Practicing Asana

Here are some notable comments Krishnamacharya makes on asana. To repeat, he is often very clear that asana must be practised in a very specific way so that it works. But, at other times, he is much freer in his generalisation of the rules of practice.

Yet, at all times, he consistently emphasises the fundamental point of ‘vinyasa’ as structuring movement on breath, and the building sequentially of one asana on another, as intrinsic to the effective practice of hatha yoga.

He also was always very specific on the principle of posture-counter posture, now almost entirely lost as a tool in modern ashtanga yoga (yet, certain examples, like the one Krishnamacharya mentions below are still in evidence). However, when one looks at the sequences laid out at the back of this book, every posture has its’ counter-posture.

“Then, pull in the stomach while doing recaka (inhale), lower the head and press the face down onto the knee. The knees should not rise from the ground in this sthiti either. This is the 9th vinyasa. This is called pascimottanasana. “

“1. They are not following the rules such as vinyasa.
2. Their guru is not teaching them using the secrets and techniques that are in his experience.
3. The guru has not instructed them properly about the place and time of practice, the appropriate diet and drink and activities for the practitioner. As a result of many people teaching yogabhyasa in this fashion, many leave the path of yoga saying that they do not see the benefits in yogabhyasa..”

“I am writing down the secrets of yoga…When practising asana, the breath that is inhaled into the body and the breath that is exhaled out must be kept equal. Moreover, practise the asana with their vinyasas by breathing only through the nose. Just as music without sruti and laya will not give any pleasure, similarly asana practice done without vinyasa krama will not give good health “

“Andam (Macrocosm) means the entire world. Pindam (microcosm) consists of all the mobile and immobile beings and objects in this world. Caram is that prana which is between the andam and pindam uniting and differentiating the two and causing them to function. That is, Svasam (breath) is vayu (air). Acaram is the state of compressing the vayu and bringing together andam and pindam in a state of unity, that is, uniting the jivatma and paramatma together. To get to the state where the prana vayu can help the jivatma and paramatma unite, we need to practise recaka puraka kumbhaka [breath-holds on inhale or exhale] according to the krama of yoga to regularly be able to bring this vayu under our control. This is similar to a man taming wild animals in the forest and slowly bringing them under his control. The yoga practitioner should similarly gradually bring the vayu under his control. “

“Every Yoga Asana has a counter pose and knowledge of such poses is essential.”

“In the case of all ‘TAN’ - asanas it is important that the counter pose is done immediately after. The appropriate counter pose is given after each asana. TAN-asana are those which stretch the nerves e.g., PASCHIMATANASANA stretches and straightens up the nerves on the backside of the body, while PURVA TANA asana, the appropriate counter pose, stretches the nerves on the front side of the body.”

“ADDHA PADMASANA This asana is the counter pose to the ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA - Section A, and should be done immediately after that asana.”

Other Interesting Observations Krishnamacharya Makes On Asana

This first one Pattabhi Jois was very adamant on (although in some early videos he was filmed leading practitioners through on the beaches of California and Hawaii), that asana practice should always be practiced in a draft-free room.

The second, is an important aspect of his teaching to remember; he may be speaking to an older audience, but his presentation of asana (at least at this point) has generally been for quite an adept body assuming years of practice from a young age.

Although, equally, he also understands this may not the case, and attempts on many occasions to make yoga accessible to all people of any age by breaking things down into stages (a protocol we are stil, sadly, yet to see universally applied in modern ashtanga teaching!).

The last quote is intriguing, yet, I have no idea why he says this. Hence, I just mention it by way of curiousity.

“If you come outdoors soon after completing yogabhyasa, the breeze will enter the body through the minute pores on the skin and cause many kinds of disease. Therefore, one should stay inside until the sweat subsides, rub the body nicely and sit contentedly and rest for a short period. “

“That these practices were intended to be started at a fairly young age would be clear from the fact that Pranayama forms part of the daily sadhana to be done after Upanayanam and this samskara was prescribed at the age of seven.”

“PASCHIMATANASANA A Preliminary Exercise While the exercise mentioned below has not been prescribed in any of the old treatises on asanas, I have found, by experience, that a preliminary practice of this exercise makes it easy for the Paschimatanasana and Purvatanasana asana positions being attained.”

“No attempt should be made to force down the leg to reach this position. On the other hand, effort should be made so that the leg does not sink to a position so far down as to strain the muscles. It is important to see that the other leg is kept upright and stretched. As practice advances the final position will be reached.”

““All asanas are not necessary for a routine practice for everyone. Age, ailments, peculiarities and individual constitutions are to be considered to find out which asanas are to be practised and which should be avoided.”

“The eyes should gaze at the tip of the nose in the case of married people. In the case of those who are unmarried the gaze may be to the midpoint of the eyebrows.”

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini

It is an often heard comment that Krishnamacharya viewed ‘kundalini’ as a blockage (as opposed to something to be cultivated; ‘raised’, as is the general case in (tantric) hatha yoga instruction. However, in the case of The Yoga Makaranda, this is not his position.

Rather, there are numerous passages explicitly referring to the use of asana to stimulate Kundalini through the spine in a classical manner (ie. piercing the knots, “granthis’ and stimulating the chakras through cleansing the nerves, ‘nadis’ and then bringing this nerve-force into the central channel).

Characteristically with Krishnamacharya, this is all associated with not only the ‘energetic’ cleansing of the body but, also, its’ physical cleansing. Indeed, he always seems to bring the two processes together.

As seen in the later quote, the use of the principle of ‘bandha’  for the sake of this process, is almost always of particular mention in his descriptions of asanas and he devotes a great deal of time to it; suggesting its’ primary importance.

“There is a ball of flesh like a bird’s egg above the lingasthana (genitals) and below the navel. This is called the kandasthana. 72000 nadis are surrounding this. These nadis radiate and spread out in all four directions of the body.

Among these, ten nadis are very important. Their names are: 1. ida, 2. pingala, 3. susumna, 4. gandhari, 5. hasti jihwa, 6. poosha, 7. yasaswini, 8. alampusa, 9. guhu, 10. sankini. These ten nadis are the primary support for all the other nadis. Therefore, these are called the mula nadis and are also called the kanda tantugal. Among these, the nadis are situated as follows: the ida nadi is located on the left side of the nose; the pingala nadi is located on the right side  of the nose; the susumna nadi is situated between the two; the gandhari nadi is located in the left eye; the hasti jihwa nadi is located in the right eye; the poosha nadi is situated in the right ear; the yasaswini nadi is situated in the left ear; the alampusa nadi is located in the face; the guhu nadi is situated in the base of the genitals (linga sthala); and the sankini nadi is located in the muladhara. Moreover, the ida nadi is also called the candra nadi, the pingala nadi is also called the surya nadi and the susumna nadi is also called the agni nadi.

Among these three, the ida and pingala exist only up to the tip of the nose. But the susumna nadi goes up to the top of the skull (brahamarantram) and is also helpful in the movement of prana vayu in our heart.”

“After the nadis are cleaned by practising the shatkriyas, it is essential that every- body, respecting their body’s constitution, practise at least some of the twenty mudras..

  1. Maha Mudra: With the left foot pressed tightly against the rectum, extend the right leg out in front. Make sure that the heel is touching the floor and the toes are pointing upwards. Hold the big toe of the right foot with the fingers of the right hand. Keep the chin firmly pressed against the chest and keep the gaze fixed on the mid-brow.
  2. Nabho Mudra: Fold the tongue up to the upper palate with the tip of the tongue touching the root or base of the inner tongue. Pull the breath in and hold it inside as long as possible. The yogabhyasi can follow this practice always and anywhere, irrespective of time and place, no matter what activity he is involved in.
  3. Uddiyanabandha Mudra: Draw in the navel in such a way as to press against the bones of the back (spine) with the abdomen firmly pulled in.
  4. Jalandhara Bandha Mudra: Take the chin four angulas below the neck, press it firmly against the chest and maintain this position.
  5. Mulabandha Mudra: With the left heel, firmly press the kandasthana which is between the rectum and the genitals and pull the heel in tightly to close the anus. Pull in the stomach firmly and press it against the bones in the back (the spine). Bring in the right heel and place it on top of the genitals. This is in hatha yoga.
  6. Mahabandha Mudra: Firmly press the left heel into the kandasthana. Place the right foot over that and stay in kumbhaka.
  7. Mahadeva Mudra: Sit in mula bandha mudra and do kumbhaka in uddiyana bandha. “

“All the diseases of the lower abdomen are cured. The apana vayu is cleaned and it helps awaken the kundalini. “

Practical Instruction On The Breath In Yoga Asana

The thing I consistently noticed in Krishnamacharya’s’ descriptions of asana is that there is a great deal of variation prescribed regarding how long to hold the positions and how to breathe in them.

Surprisingly, as much as we may feel in the modern ashtanga yoga tradition that 5 breaths are short, Krishnamacharya often recommends 3 breaths! On the other hand, he will also often recommend that the practitioner stay for much longer periods in an asana (depending on their health and capabilities) such as the example of Mayurasana below.

Also of note, is that some asanas are recommended to be held whilst also holding the breath completely- usually on an exhale, ‘rechaka’. This is, in fact, quite a common instruction. Confusingly, as with the last quotes in this section, on many other occasions, he will also talk of the necessity of equal breathing in postures.

Finally, the well-known ‘ujayi breathing’ of the earlier years of instruction of ashtanga yoga does seem to be in evidence in Krishnamacharya’s’ later quotes here. Or, at least, there is some emphasis on the narrowing of the passage of the throat.

“After staying in this sthiti [utthita hasta padangushtasana] for some time, take either the face or the nose towards the knee of the raised leg and place it there. Recaka kumbhaka [holding breath after exhale] must be done in this sthiti. That is, expel the breath completely from the body, maintain this position and then without allowing any breath into the body, bend the upper body. Now carefully pull in the stomach as much as one’s strength allows and hold it in. Stay in this sthiti [position] for at least one minute.

“This asana [mayurasana] sthiti should be held from 1 minute up to 3 hours according to the practitioner’s capability. It is good to practise this regularly and to remain in this sthiti for longer periods during the winter or colder months rather than in the summer. If we make it a habit to practise this asana every day for at least fifteen minutes, we will attain tremendous benefits. “

“Keep eyes closed so that the mind may not get distracted. Take long and deep even inhalation and exhalation with rubbing sensation in the throat, six breaths.”

“A few deep breaths can be taken. Maximum benefit is obtained when in this position the breath is kept out (Bahya Kumbhakam).”

“One important thing to be constantly kept in mind when doing the asanas is the regulation of breath. It should be slow thin, long and steady; breathing through both nostrils with rubbing sensation at the throat and through the oesophagus inhaling when coming through the oesophagus inhaling when coming to the straight posture and exhaling when bending the body.”

On The Importance Of Shoulder Stand And Head Stand

Famously referred to by BKS Iyengar as ‘the king and queen of yoga asanas’, it seems that he drew his precedent in this from his guru. Equally, Swami Kuvuyalananda of Kaivalyadam Yoga Institute also pioneered many experiments on the particular benefits of shoulder stand on stimulating the thyroid gland and affecting positive hormonal and metabolic changes in the body.

One thing everyone practicing ashtanga will immediately note is that the order of shoulder stand and headstand has been reversed here. This is the way around that it’s practised in Iyengar yoga.

“among all the asanas, these two asanas [sarvangasana, sirsasana] are like the head and the heart. It is said with much authority that if these two asanas are practised regularly and properly, the practitioner will experience the awakening and rise of kundalini.

‘When SIRSHASANA has been sufficiently mastered, the breathing rate which normally is about 15-18 a minute, automatically comes down to four a minute. The aim should be to reduce it to, two per minute. Thus at this rate, 24 rounds of breathing in SIRSHASANA will take 12 minutes. It is laid down that SIRSHASANA should be done only in the mornings. This should always be followed by SARVANGASANA. The proper procedure is to do SIRSHASANA with 24 deep inhalations and exhalations. Take two minutes rest. Then do SARVANGASANA with 24 rounds of deep breathing”


Although I have missed huge amounts of the text out and, I’m sure, overlooked many details of interest, I’ve tried to produce some kind of flavour of the text. Particularly regarding what I see as its’ fundamental characteristic; its synthesising approach.

As much as there is some kind of precedent to this in older tantric texts (that bring instruction on meditation into relation to that of raising Kundalini), it must be acknowledged that Krishnamacharya was unusual for his time as an aforementioned traditional Brahmin, yet with this modernising and inclusive spirit to his teaching.

Indeed, it appears more than evident to me that he wanted to include and interest as many people as he could in the teachings of yoga -perhaps, in any way he could. He is also incredibly open-minded in his attempt at this time to bring in different aims and objectives to a final, unitive goal of yoga as moksha or atman-darsana.

Below I have linked The pdf for his Yoga Makaranda part 1 where I derived the bulk of his information. You can find part 2 with a brief online internet search.

Thanks for reading and now go to the source text and have a read yourself, click on the image below for the link or here.


Yoga Makaranda

Click on the image to link to the book in PDF format