We have just finished our teacher’s training segment on the history of yoga in America and next month we will be talking about yoga in India. As a history buff these topics are right up my alley and I really enjoy researching these topics as I prepare the content for each module we teach.
One interesting insight I have newly discovered was how much yoga has changed in the last 100 years. I always knew that yoga history in America began in the 1890s and that we have done things differently with yoga here in America. What I just ran across is the account of how much yoga was influenced in the 1920s and 1930s in India itself. Tirumalai Krishnamacharya was an Indian yoga teacher and is widely regarded as having the greatest influence on the revival of Hatha yoga. He influenced some of the most renowned yoga instructors of the modern era such as TKV Desikachar, Indra Devi and BKS Iyengar as well as Pattabhi Jois.
Yet Krishnamacharya’s own revitalization of Hatha yoga was molded by several influences. One of his guides was the book Sritattvanidhi, a 19th century work that contained a yoga sectin by the Krishnaraja Wodeyar III, the Maharaja of Mysore. This book includes illustrations and instructions for 122 yoga poses which include handstands, back bends, lotus variations and several others. By itself it is probably the most comprehensive text of postural yoga in any pre-twentieth century work.
This really sparked my interest because it would represent what asanas of yoga were prior to the changes made by Krishnamacharya. I would like to know what poses have a historical relevance and how the poses were recreated in their modern interpretations.
That is what has brought me to the book The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace, written by Norman Sjoman. which contains an English translation of the yoga section of Sritattvanidhi. The reviews on Amazon are pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting my copy. I will give a full review as soon as I have read it.
If you are looking to find out more about the history of yoga, please join us for our class Saturday August 16, 2014 Yoga in India – Then and Now.