A disappointing book.
Forty odd pages of the same old Krishnamacharya stories, particularly sanitised here, spread over five chapters interspersed with grandson Desikachar's 'case studies' of his own experience teaching. A couple of, well you can't call them interviews really, fluffed up quotes, recollections from some of Krishnamacharya's students, what a wasted opportunity.
There are a few nice pictures, most we've seen before,
Two curious pages of drawings stand out though. 'A souvenir from Krishnamacharya's trip to Mt Kalisha', these are supposedly from a book of drawings made by Brahmacari ( Krishanamacharya's teacher ) daughter and show a couple of postures, Akarna Dhanurasana (archer) and Purna matsyendrasana (kingfisher). There is also a drawing showing some use of props that fits in with K Desikachar's positioning of his own approach to yoga as the true legacy of Krishnamacharya.
A. G. Mohan's book Krishnamacharya is I think much better, charming and extended recollections of his time spent with his teacher.
You have to wonder if we'll ever get a serious, scholarly biography of this great man who's influence has reached millions worldwide.
'Ransom Stoddard: You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott?
Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend'.
The man who shot Liberty valance. John Ford
Has any one seen got their hands on T. K. V. Desikachar's Health, Healing and Beyond yet, any better?
K. Desikichar has a bit of a dig at Ashtanga in Yoga of the yogi, on p56 he writes,
Yoga kuranta contained a wealth of information including how to adapt asana and pranayama to suit different needs of individuals, and how to use certain aids (props in todays parlance) to help in the healing process. Krishnamacharya wrote this himself about this now lost text, and his words contradict the popularly held notion that the yoga kuranta was the basis of ashtanga yoga'. p56
It's true Ashtanga doesn't use props and the series are fixed but Manju says his father would adapt the sequence, give him extra postures etc. to help him with a pose he was struggling with. Plus there are stories about Jois taking people with injuries and disabilities and adapting the practice for them.
Ashtangi's don't use props ( not in public anyway), blocks, belts and ropes etc tend to be frowned upon but here's a thought.... is an assist a prop? Those assisted dropbacks, the foot on the knee in badha konasana, on the ankles in Supta vajrasana, the help with the bind in the marichi's and helping one reach their ankles in kapo and what about the holding the leg up in utthita haste padangusthasana, the sacrum push after backbends, the lowering down and up in karandavasana.....
Who needs props.