In 1941 Life magazine featured a demonstration of Yoga in Mysore by Krishnamacharya's students. photos by Wallace Kirkland.
This is Real Yoga
from Life Magazine 22nd February 1941
Speaking of Pictures
...This is Real Yoga
"These pictures present a catalogue of 20 of the countless contorted postures by which the soul of an Indian yogi seeks to escape from the mortal imprisonment of it's human body. They show yoga not in the side-show of a bearded street fakir, but as practiced in it's pure form by lithe young devotees of an ancient and honourable religion. This is the second set of pictures to be published from the hundreds taken by LIFE Photographer Wallace Kirkland on a sixth-month expedition into the strange museum of human achievement and eccentricity that is India ( The first set was Photographer Kirkland's call on the Viceroy of India Life January 27.)
Yoga via Aryan family connections, is the present word for the English word "Yoga" and means just that. Yoga seeks to yoke the soul of the individual to the all-pervading soul of the universe. This beatitude is achieved only after death by one who during life has thoroughly extinguished the esential will to live. It may be tasted before death in the ecstatic trance which a practiced yogi can achieve by a lifetime of physical and mental discipline. Unlike other Hindu cults, yoga postulates no mere ascetic subjugation of the body to the yearning of the soul. It's catalogue of contortions is best understood as exercises which seek to make the body healthy, serene and free from disease and disorder that distract the soul with carnal concerns.
The yogi shown here were photographed at the school in Mysore which received liberal support of the Sri Krishnaraja Narasimharaja Wodeyar Bahuder Maharaja of Mysore and india's greatest prince. Demonstrated are advanced postures, such as few yogi today take the time to master. They are assumed in calm, deliberate fashion, held for long intervals. Each pose is thought to bestow it's own special benefit, but the general result is a physique as well toned as any US athlete's. They give also the most extraordinary control over both the voluntary and involuntary musculature. A typical example is the control of the diaphragm, by which a yogi can reduce respiration from about 1,100 an hour to 70 and, with the help of mental discipline, attain blissful trance union with the soul of the universe." Life Magazine (22nd February 1941).
*Notice the reference to the long stays in asana and the slowing of the breath, here in 1941 just as indicated in Krishnamacharya's Yoga Karandavasana text of 1934. Long slow breathing, kumbhaka, long stays were not a shift in Krishnamacharya's later teaching, they were there from the very beginning, back when Pattabhi Jois was a boy and Krishnamacharya's student.
|Page 1 of the Table of asana - see HERE for the full table|
See also the full text on the Yogasangalu translation project page
Photos from the Life Magazine article
T R S Sharma
Note: TRS Sharma is interviewed in the upcoming documentary
'The Mysore Yoga Tradition', see at 1:48 in the movie's trailer
at the end of post.
below, from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda (Mysore 1934)
The Yoga shala
....and Mysore today
Mysore Yoga Traditions Official Trailer from Dallos Paz on Vimeo.
"Mysore Yoga Traditions is an inquiry into the cultural background of yoga in Mysore, how it has evolved, and the philosophy upon which this global practice rests. The film will be an intimate glimpse into the yoga of Mysore as the elders, scholars, philosophers, yogis and spiritual leaders of the community express their views on what yoga is, its original intention, and how they feel about the way it is being taught and practiced around the world. Much has been said about yoga in Mysore by western scholars. Now it is time for the people who are the keepers of this vibrant yoga tradition to speak about how they see their own legacy." http://www.mysoreyogatraditions.com/