As I’ve recently been learning more about the modern patriarch of yoga, Sri T. Krishnamcharya, I decided to dive into the Internet to see if I could track down translations of his longer writings, such as the Yoga Makaranda, Yoga Rahasya, Yogavalli, or Yogaasanagalu. Although my initial search proved fairly unfruitful, yesterday I happily discovered on one of my favorite yoga blogs that a translation of the Yoga Makaranda is now freely available for download.
What exactly is the Yoga Makaranda you ask? As described in Krishnamacharya, pp 133-134, A.G. Mohan writes:
The Yoga Makaranda was written by Krishnamacharya in 1934 at the behest of the maharaja of Mysore, when Krishnamacharya was running the yoga school there. Krishnamacharya’s wife once mentioned that her husband wrote the entire book in three nights! Despite that, the Yoga Makaranda is a very interesting and informative text on hatha yoga. If there was anyone who could write with authority on this subject, it was Krishnamacharya. In the introduction to the Yoga Makaranda, he lists twenty-seven yoga texts–apart from his own personal study and experience–as references. Some of the listed texts are standard works on yoga, like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita, and the Yoga Upanishads. A few are no longer in common knowledge; they are perhaps lost or exist only in manuscript somewhere.
The Yoga Makaranda applauds the virtues of yoga, embellishes its benefits, and enjoins all to practice it. When I read this text many years after it was written, I was reminded of how Krishnamacharya had striven hard for som many decades to disseminate the teachings of yoga and of the difficulties he faced. His teachings were to benefit millions, yet the book is one more example of how he struggled to spread these teachings. He was a visionary with a message that was yet to see its time.
The Yoga Makaranda covers the nadis, chakras, prana, mudras, and bandhas. It also explains all the kriyas, or cleansing techniques, though Krishnamacharya did not instruct his students to practice them. The eight limbs of yoga are listed, summarized, and then taken up for discussion in the order of the Yoga Sutras, starting from the yamas and niyamas. Approximately a third of the book consists of asanas. Forty-two asanas are described–with instructions on their method of practice, with breathing and vinyasa–and accompanied by photographs.
The detailed explanation of the eight limbs ends with the third limb, asana. The 1934 Yoga Makaranda is only the first part of the work; the second part has not been published.
Click on the image below for a free PDF copy of the Yoga Makaranda.
As a footnote, apparently there is quite some controversy between the translators of this edition and a translation recently published by the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation (KHYF). Read the links below if you dare…Kinda sad, but fairly entertaining reading…
Click to read the Translators background information about this translation
Click to read the online KHYF Statement in Response to the above
Click to read the Translators Response to the online KHYF Statement