Many students of the yoga tradition know that Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888 - 1989) is credited with being the father of modern yoga, but most remain foggy about the details of his life and even foggier about the books he wrote.
One is an untranslated autobiography in Tamil, one is a commentary on the Yoga Sutras, two are books of spiritual poetry of about 30 slokas each, and four are compositions on yoga practice. The Yoga Rahasya belongs to the latter group.
Yogacharya Sundaram was part of an emerging movement to blend yoga with body building in the 1920s. He was known to K and had a gym and a great following in nearby Bangalore in the years K was active in Mysore. Few could match K in eloquence and textual knowledge, and Sundaram was not even in the running. With fun punctuation, strange spellings, far-out phrases, erratic syntax and odd capitalizations, he creates a mythic scene to introduce his yoga for fitness in his The Secret of Happiness or, Yogic Physical Culture [sic] from 1928:
K unifies the categories of modern practice by featurizing them with the bhakti yoga of devotion (first firmly articulated in the Bhagavad Gita) and thence directing them toward the Highest. Consistent with his promotion of the householder path throughout his career, K explains that you can adjust yoga to whatever stage of life you find yourself in and still get the fruit of an ultimate sadhana (spiritual method).
 Iyengar, B. K. S., Astadala Yogamala , vol. 6, 2010, New Delhi: Allied Publishers, Limited, p. 108, and Desikachar, K., Ibid. He also taught yoga to his sons, ofcourse. Sri T.K. Srinivasan, (b. 1936) was well-versed in Yoga, and became an authority on the Indian philosophies of Nyaya and Mimamsa. His other sons are Sri T.K.V. Desikachar (b. 1938) and Sri T.K. Sribhashyam (b. 1940). He had a third daughter, Shubha, after 1940.
Sri Tirumalai. Krishnamacharya quoted from memory by his son, T. K. V. Desikachar, in Desai, Gita, Director, 2004, Yoga Unveiled: The Evolution and Essence of a Spiritual Tradition, (DVD), yogaunveiled.com
Each participant assumed the four common yoga poses of Adho Mukha Svanasana, Uttanasana, Halasana and Viparita Karani in this respective order (Fig 2) within one hour. We measured the IOP of both eyes of the subjects prior to each pose in a seated position, immediately at the start of the pose, 2 minutes into the pose, immediately after assuming a seated position, and 10 minutes later in a seated position. IOP was measured using a Reichert Model 30 pneumatonometer, which was tested and calibrated using the calibration verifier before measuring each individual. Tetracaine was administered to each eye prior to IOP measurement using the calibrated pneumatonometer.
Statistical analysis was carried out with commercially available software (STATA, version 12; StataCorp LP, College Station, TX). All continuous variables, except visual field mean deviation (MD), followed a Gaussian distribution based on visual inspection of Q-Q plots and the Shapiro-W test (all P>0.10). Therefore, all descriptive statistics are presented with mean ± standard deviation unless otherwise specified. To explore adequacy of a linear model when testing the relationship between IOP and the set of predictors, we plotted the histograms of residuals and the relationship between fitted values and residuals to test for homoscedasticity. IOP changes for each subject and each yoga position were tested with the mixed-effects linear models (MELM). Multilevel MELM analysis was performed at three levels: 1) position type; 2) diagnostic groups (glaucoma vs. healthy); and 3) each subject at different time points.
Both normal and glaucoma subjects showed a rise in IOP in all four yoga positions. Independent of the position, the rise ranged between 6 mmHg and 11 mmHg. It occurred within one minute after assuming the body position of the yoga exercise, and the IOP returned to the baseline values within two minutes after again being seated, with no further significant changes thereafter. The results suggest that all individuals experience an acute elevation in IOP immediately after assuming certain common yoga positions. This rise in IOP lasts as long as the exercise takes place, and the IOP returns to the baseline values shortly after sitting. The duration of the yoga pose was two minutes.
Our results agree with those of previous studies and case reports which tested only the headstand position and which showed a marked two-fold rise in IOP.[16, 21, 22] Our study extends those findings to show that other yoga exercises with a head down position can lead to a rapid and profound elevation in IOP. The measurements obtained in our study also revealed that the yoga position associated rise in IOP occurred within one minute after taking the position and that, in a similar manner, the IOP returned to the pre-exercise values within two minutes after being seated.
As a result of multiple IOP measurements, the magnitude of the changes owing to body position have been uncertain, with different studies reporting differences between sitting and supine IOP ranging from 0.3 to 5.6 mmHg for normal and glaucoma subjects; the use of the Mackey-Marg tonometer with calibration from a pneumatonograph and the Medtronic Model 30 Classic pneumatonometer were used for these data collections.[13, 27, 28] Through the asana (yoga position) change analysis we identified changes in IOP during four standard poses other than the previously studied sirsasana, in glaucoma and healthy control subjects. Inverted positions increase IOP significantly, but common positions have been incompletely investigated. Yoga practitioners may need to be aware of IOP changes during common yoga positions.
The yoga pose-associated rise in IOP may be explained by the hydrostatic increase in the pressure of episcleral veins and orbital veins into which aqueous humor is eventually drained and the pressures of which directly influence the IOP according to the Goldmann equation, Po = (F/C) + Pv, where Po is the IOP in mmHg, F is the rate of aqueous formation, C is the facility of outflow, and Pv is the episcleral venous pressure. Another factor which may potentially be involved in position-associated IOP changes may be changes in choroidal thickness. The choroid is drained through the vortex veins, which continue into the superior ophthalmic vein and finally into the intracranial cavernous sinus. Body position-associated changes in the intracranial cerebrospinal fluid pressure (CSFP) may thus indirectly influence the venous pressure in the choroid and the choroidal thickness and volume.
Since elevated IOP is the most important known risk factor for development and progression of glaucomatous optic neuropathy, the rise in IOP after assuming the yoga poses is of concern for glaucoma patients. It has remained elusive whether the concomitant rise in cerebrospinal fluid pressure as the trans-lamina cribrosa counter-pressure against the IOP sufficiently compensates in amount in a timely manner for the rise in IOP. This study can therefore neither warn glaucoma patients not to perform yoga poses with head-down positions nor negate the possibility of exacerbating glaucomatous damage when performing yoga exercises with head-down positions.
Potential limitations of our study should be mentioned. First, the glaucoma group was significantly older than the non-glaucomatous group, so the comparison between both groups in the yoga pose-associated change in IOP should be cautiously interpreted. We minimized this effect by including age as a covariate in the multivariate analysis. Second, blood pressure was not measured; thus no information was obtained which could point to associated changes in cerebrospinal fluid pressure due to yoga position. Third, the duration of each pose was
I began my yoga journey at the age of eight years at my school. Apart from Veda classes we also had Hatha Yoga asana classes every morning with our Guruji. Our Gur ji was a traditional teacher from a respected priest cast. Over the next eight years, I had lessons from him. His classes were strict and challenging and followed the classical Hatha Yoga tradition and syllabus.
When, in 2007, I came to Europe I was surprised to see that Hatha Yoga was considered to be a soft and easy style of yoga and in fact, there is a Western version of Hatha Yoga being taught as Classical Yoga.
Hatha Yoga originates from Raja Yoga. It is the simpler version (without Yamas and Niyamas) of Raja Yoga. In simple words, you can say all the yoga poses and pranayama exercises can be classified as Hatha Yoga. So if you practice any yoga asanas or pranayama exercises you are practicing Hatha.
Swami Swatmarama, a 15th-century sage compiled Hatha Yoga Pradipika and briefly described six limbs of yoga to achieve Samadhi without the long process of the first two steps of the Yamas and Niyamas. Hatha Yoga is also known as Shatanga Yoga (six limb yoga).
Hatha Yoga, therefore, focuses primarily on the purification of the body as a path that leads to purification of the mind. The purification of the body and mind is essential also to be healthy. Being and staying healthy is a central goal in yoga because only then will you possess the best vehicle for your further spiritual development.
In ancient times, Hatha Yoga was considered a secret and sacred practice. Only the monks and the male children of the priest cast could learn and practice it. Therefore, common people thought of it as some secret magical practice. Many mystical stories were told about yoga practices. Hatha Yoga gained popularity in India in the 15th century when monks began to demonstrate asanas in public events. But it came into the limelight when the British photographers published photos of monks performing dangerous postures in Western magazines at end of the 18th century.
This made the spiritual seekers of the West curious and ignited a fascination with mystical eastern practices. Many people visited India to learn yoga and meditation. But the popularity of yoga got a boost when some masters visited the West and taught these yoga asanas to their Western students. 2b1af7f3a8