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Yoga Makaranda Jun 18, 2018 - Oct , 2023

Yoga Makaranda Yoga Makaranda

Author: Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1889)
ISBN-10: 8192071618
ISBN-13: 978-8192071619
Genre: yoga, spirituality
Pages: 169 pdf pages
Country: India
Publisher: Madurai C.M.V. Press
Publication date: 1934
Rating: star star star star star (3 out of 5 stars)

  1. abhyasa - constant practice or exercise
  2. adho - down or below e.g. Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward Facing Dog
  3. ardha - half e.g. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana - half-bound lotus forward bend
  4. atma - true self, one that cannot be destroyed (same as citta? no beginning and no end?)
  5. baddha - bound e.g. Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana - half-bound lotus forward bend
  6. eka pada - one leg e.g. Tiryanga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana (oblique one-legged forward bend pose)
  7. gnanam - knowledge or understanding of higher spiritual truth through meditation
  8. indriyas - senses. There are 11 - 5 of expression or action (karma), 5 of cognition (gnana) and the mind
  9. jivatma - soul enshrined in a human body
  10. mukha - face. e.g. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - Upward Facing Dog
  11. paramatma - supreme spirit or Brahman
  12. prasarita - spread out or wide-legged. This is often used to name a yoga pose, e.g. Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged standing forward bend)
  13. sadhana - sustained effort leading to accomplishment (like abhyasa)
  14. sakti - power, energy, strength
  15. sancharam - movement, travel, passage, like vayu sancharam
  16. sastra - sacred book
  17. sthiti - remaining stationary in a position or state
  18. tiryanga - oblique or sideways e.g. Tiryanga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana (oblique one-legged forward bend pose)
  19. Urdhva - upward e.g. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana - Upward Facing Dog
  20. vidya - knowledge, yoga vidya is knowledge in yoga

Finding the Teacher
When I felt strong in my practice, I felt the need to level-up. But finding the right teacher proved challenging. Then it dawned on me, "why not read the book of a yoga teacher I admire and have him as my guru?". That's my story with Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya.

1934 Original
The book was written in 1934 by T. Krishnamacharya - the renowned Father of Modern Yoga. This was translated from its original source - free from all the revisions made and added/subtracted by modern-day yoga teachers about yoga. A second book, Yoga Makaranda II (YMII), came later as a sequel, continuing where the first book left off.

Be warned that this book was rushed and written in just 7 days. It's not a comprehensive book on yoga by any measure. I don't think there was any editor at that time who polished the writing. Yes, it's poorly written with a lot of inconsistensies. But, this is the only substantive book written by the master (he has also written a few minor ones) and this is what we have to work with.

Yoga Makaranda
Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya: 1888-1989

This blog is a book summary/discourse as I read it - starting in Dharamshala, India in June 2018. It serves as my reference and perusal. By summarizing every chapter (not just reviewing the book), I also ensure that I understood it as I practised it. I stopped reading this book and began re-reading it from the beginning in September 2023.

Summarizing/Commentary-ing by Chapter and by Topic
I'm summarizing by chapter, according to the book layout. However, there are some essential topics not covered in detail. I search for all instances of words pertaining to this topic and create a new 'chapter' devoted to that topic exclusively.

Additionally, I augment what is written with my own experience and knoweldge of the topic (in red). Thus, as you read this, you may not be able to discern what the book is saying and what I'm adding to it (unless I make the text red - for small parts, I don't).


I. Introduction

Why Do Yoga?
(p9) The intent of yoga is to withdraw the mind from external influence (Pratyahara) and develop a single focus (Dharana) for deep concentration (Dhyana) until consciousness-divinity-universe converge (Samadhi).

Who has the Authority to practise Yoga?
Anybody can practice yoga except those who are cheats, scoundrels and criminals. Why? They will only cause destruction to themselves and others through their perceived 'cunning'. People who are serious in their practice, ethical and with devotion, and who practice with their gurus become adepts quickly.

Benefits of Yoga
Yoga practice provides progressive benefits - you don't have to wait for 'enlightenment' to get results. Yama harmonizes you with society, niyama removes your anger and hatred, asana makes you strong, pranayama makes you healthy and live long. With 2 to 3 hours of daily practice according to guidelines (yama, niyama, etc.), shakti can be achieved in a year. Through the practice of yoga, one achieves atma gnanam (knowledge or understanding of the true self through meditation).


To withdraw the mind from external distractions, it needs to be healthy to begin with. This is why sleep is essential - it allows the mind to collect itself and keep its sanity.

Dreamless sleep (Delta Waves, frequency range: 0.5 TO 4 Hz, sattvic quality, yoga nidra) is the best sleep because it allows the body to go into deep recuperation, healing and experience atma. A dream sleep (Theta waves, frequency range: 4 Hz to 8 Hz, tamasic quality) still offers benefits but not as much as a dreamless sleep. Ideally, sleep should be the complete cessation of all mental activities.

In order to induce this dreamless sleep, it's best to calm the mind first before going to sleep. This means meditating - the body is relaxed, the mind is stilled and the emotions are placated. This gives rise to a sleep with no mental activity, and thus a more productive sleep. This is 1000x better than a dream sleep. When I meditate first before sleeping, I add hours more of sleep.

Chakras are energy hubs where all the 72,000 nadis converge. A whole field of study is covered in this section: Chakras

Pratyahara is to keep the indriyas (senses) under control. More on Pratyahara in this section: Pratyahara

(p22) The mind is under control and primed for the ekagrata citta - the one-pointed focus. More on Dharana in this section: Dharana

This is achieved when the mind becomes one-pointed. At this point, intentions become reality. The yogi can dispense a curse or a boon. More on Dhyana in this section: Dhyana

II. Yoganga
4 Types of Yoga
  1. Hatha Yoga - focuse on shat kriya, asana, pranayama, bandha and mudra (no yama, no niyama and no meditation)
  2. Mantra Yoga - yoga using mantra to quiet the mind and reach an altered state of consciousness
  3. Laya Yoga - same as Kundalini yoga, a yoga designed to awaken Kundalini. Laya means 'absorption' of the mind into the divine, similar to or the same as samadhi. This is not a beginner yoga
  4. Raja Yoga - yoga of the mind through meditation. This controls the senses so focus is inwards. This is the yoga in Patanjali's sutras
  5. *** Karma Yoga - surprisingly, this yoga is not included in the book. This is the yoga of action...of being a service to humanity
  6. *** Jnana Yoga - also not mentioned in the book. This is the yoga of knowledge...scouring through texts, scriptures, expanding intellect to realize God
  7. *** Bhakti Yoga - yoga of devotion. Attaining enlightenment through worship and devotion to a deity


This is a moral code consisting of 10 tiers to harmonize oneself with society and develop compassion for all living beings

  1. ahimsa - don't harm anyone
  2. satya - speak your truth
  3. asteya - do not steal
  4. brahmacharya - no sex
  5. kshama - don't be reactive
  6. dhrthi - mental fortitude
  7. daya - good intentions
  8. arjavam - honest state of mind
  9. mitahara - don't fill-up the stomach, half full is good
  10. sauca - be clean, inside and out

More extensive writings here: Yama


(p31) This is a moral code for oneself in order to be optimized. This builds fortitude and strength of character, dissolves anger, hatred and promotes peace and tranquility for self.

  1. tapas - mental equanimity in the face of struggle; between doing it easy and hard, choose to do it the hard way
  2. santosha - maintain balance of the mind - peaceful mind
  3. asthikya - acknowledge god
  4. daana - charity without expectation of return
  5. isvara puja - be devoted to your god
  6. siddhanta vakya sravana - study the sacred books
  7. hri - own up to your mistakes and don't it again
  8. mathi - devotion to god
  9. japa - recite the mantras
  10. homam - spiritual rituals

More extensive writings here: Niyama


These are physical postures that develops body strenth, balance, flexibility, endurance and optimization. Enhances good blood circulation which unblocks nadis for efficient energy flow. It primes the body for the next limb, Pranayama.

Unless specified, head should default to Jalandhara bandha, drshti should default to Ajna chakra, first 3 fingers should default to holding a body part. In doing both sides of the body, do the right first. Inhalation should be as long as exhalation when doing asanas. Only nose breathing. Every asana will consist of 3 to 48 vinyasas. For thin people, kumbhaka should be done on the inhale (antara/puraka kumbhaka). For overweight people, breath-hold should be done on the exhale (bahya/rechaka kumbhaka). Always rest the body for about 15 minutes after practice to transition the body back into the default world, and also to close the open pores of the skin.

Sri Sankaracarya mastered 84,000 asanas (symbolic). Through time, these asanas were lost in obscurity. T.K. learned 700 asanas from his guru, Ramanohana Bramachari (who mastered 7,000 asanas). Now, there are 84 acknowledged asanas. Back in the day, people in India cured all diseases using yoga asana and pranayama.

Before beginning the practice, take a moment and put the intention and focus in place - don't be mechanical with just movement. Establish heart, intention and focus before the practice. The book calls for chanting a sanskrit mantra, but without understanding, it's meaningless to me.

More extensive writings here: Asana

III. Yogabhyasa (constant yoga practice)
Practice Basics

Ideal Place to Practice Yoga
A yoga practice is ideal when done in a clean, open space, away from the crowd where it's quiet and peaceful. It should be conducive to spirituality.

(Where I practice (as of this writing, Sep 21, 2023) is by the seawall - clean ocean air and expanse. However, they burn garbage here and it's always noisy with karaoke or loud music. In the morning, I do my isometric yoga at a natural spring source - potable clean water as I dip myself neck-deep and do my isometrics. No flat surface though for meditation. Altogether, I can't complain.

Long-term, I envision a patch of land overlooking the sea, close to my water spring, where I can develop a yoga ashram.)

Diet Restriction
Food intake should only be 1/2 of the stomach's capacity (Mitahara) - never overeat. Food, sleep and activities should be no more and no less than ideal - just right. Oily and fried food should be avoided. Butter is not good, but ghee is good. Avoid eating after sunset.

Good Activities
Get up at 4 am and meditate or do yoga. Take a bath before sunrise on a river, stream or pond.

(Hmmm...perhaps instead of bathing at the spring "before 8 am", I should do it earlier "before sunrise".)


Nadis are energy pathways that should always be clear and unobstructed. There are 72,000 nadis converging on the Kandasthana, an egg-shaped etheric organ above the genitals and below the navel (in some schools, the nadis converge to their respective chakras and not the Kandasthana).Of the 72,000 nadis, 10 nadis are important in the following order:

  1. Sushumna - between Ida and Pingala on the center in front of the spine, going all the way to the top of the head
  2. Ida - female, left side of nose, extends to the tip of the left nose
  3. Pingala - male, right side of nose, extends to the tip of the right nose
  4. Gandhari - on the left eye
  5. Hasti Jihwa - on the right eye
  6. Poosha - on the right ear
  7. Yasaswini - on the left ear
  8. Alampusa - on the face
  9. Guhu - at the base of the genitals
  10. Sankini - located in the Muladhara chakra

6 Shatkriyas

Shatkriyas are purification processes preparing the body for optimum yoga practice. When the body/system is not cleansed, progress in yoga is slow - it's like driving a car with a handbrake. Shatkriyas are so essential that Nath yogis give it more importance than Yama or Niyama. Shatkriya is essential in maintaining proper balance of the doshas in the body - pitta, vata and kapha. It is also vital in maintaining the flow of prana through the nadis.

  1. Dhauti Kriya - purification of the digestive system
  2. Basti KriyaBasti Kriya - purification of the colon and lower intestines

    1. Jala basti - inserting a tube on your anus to draw water in (preferably in a river), holding the water, and expeling it. This expedites the elimination process and gives luster in the person
    2. Shala basti - drawing in air to the colon. Go into Karnapidasana and begin to contract and release the anal muscles
  3. (Personally, I haven't done Basti because it seems daunting. How many years of practice before you can suck water into your colon through your anus? Every morning, I perform water therapy and then do Nauli. My elimination is very regular and I feel my insides clean. That's enough for me. I don't have to go overboard on yoga. Besides, I find doing the hydro-colonic treatment more efficient.)

  4. Neti Kriya - the book talks about using a thread running from the nose and out to the mouth. You pull on each direction 12x. Release through the mouth. This balances the kapha dosha.
  5. (Surprisingly, the more popular Neti Pot is not mentioned in the book. This is what I do. With salted water in a water container, I pour water in one nostril and hold it there, gargling the water with my nose either my head tilted back and forward. This removes all my excess phlegm. I may continue spitting phlegm for the next 30 minutes. My breathing becomes free and clear after.)

  6. Nauli Kriya - on Uddiyana bandha, the middle abdomen is pushed out and made to 'dance' left and right. This cleans the digestive system.
  7. (I do this every morning as part of my routine. But I drink one liter of structured water first before doing Nauli.)

  8. Trataka Kriya - gazing on one object until the eyes tear up. This destroys all eye diseases and makes one adept at Sambhavi mudra
  9. (With my failing eyesight due to aging, I try to practice this daily, but it's difficult. Sometimes, I'm already 45 mins into Trataka and the eyes are still bone dry)

  10. Kapalabhati Kriya - it's odd that the book talked about water cleansing through nose and mouth - this is already part of my Neti Kriya.
  11. (For this kriya, I use the conventional Kapalbhati breathing. On Vajrasana, I do Kapalbhati and on the last exhale, I do Mandukasana while on Maja Bandha)

Prana Vayu

These are energetic winds. There are 10 vayus flowing within their respective nadis. When a vayu flows outside its nadi, disease happens. When sickness happens, it means prana vayu is not flowing - maybe the nadis are blocked and need to be cleaned through Shatkriya. To have a long life (like the rishis), prana vayu must be controlled through Pranayama.

More details here: Prana Vayu

20 Mudras

Mudras are energy seals/locks that redirect prana to specific parts of the body and prevent prana from leeching out of the body. Asana and Pranayama make the body strong and live longer. However, Mudra and Bandha develop the Siddhis and cultivate power.

Details in this section: 20 Mudras

IV. Asana
(Standing Forward Bend)

Method: (p59) On Tadasana (Mountain Pose, Samasthiti), inhale fully.

Tadasana Tadasana

On the exhale, bend forward with straight legs, arms reaching to the back of the legs or on the floor, head to the knee (Adhomukha Uttanasana). Empty the lungs. Hold and observe sensations. Inhale while lifting the head up with straight back and gaze on the nose tip (Uttanasana Sthiti). Hold and keep awareness. Exhale as you bend forward again, head to the knee. Repeat this cycle many times. For beginners, tremors might be felt in the arms and legs - this is normal. Always keep the knees straight.

Uttanasana Uttanasana

Padahastasana is a variation of Uttanasana - hands facing up underneath the feet or fingers on the big toes.

Benefits: Uttanasana removes all diseases in the lower abdomen and optimizes the digestive processes.

(Intense Side Stretch or Pyramid)

Method: (p67) From Tadasana, spread legs apart, one leg length. Press the palms together behind you for an inverse Prayer Pose. Turn the left foot 90 degress to the left and the right foot 45 degrees to the left as you turn the body to the left. Inhale fully. On the exhale, with a straight back, bend forward, chest to the knee. Empty the lungs and hold. Inhale as you come up. Do the other side. Come back to Tadasana. Keep both legs straight at all times.


Benefits: Stimulates the abdominal organs and digestion. Increases blood circulation in the brain (as the brain is below the heart)

Prasarita Padottanasana
(Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)

Method: (p69) While on Tadasana, facing the side of your mat, jump so you land softly with legs spread apart (about 1 leg length). Inhale fully while raising the arms up. On the exhale, bend forward and put palms on the mat shoulder-width. As you bend forward, keep the back straight, and when you can't go further down, you can begin to round the back to take full expression of the forward bend. Bend the elbows as you touch the head on the mat. Hold the breath on empty lungs on this pose. Legs must always be straight. As you inhale, raise the body up until you are upright. Jump back to Tadasana.

Variation: B - clasping the hands behind you and swinging them overhead as you go into a forward bend. C - left hand on the right foot as right hand reaches up (torsional twist). D - hands on reverse prayer behind as you do a forward bend. E - hands on Cow Face

(When I want to intensify this pose, I repeat the forward bend using all variations with breath-holds and Maha Bandha Mudra on the fold, holding the out-breath hold as long as I can. This alone can be exhausting.)

Prasarita Padottanasana

Benefits: Stretches the back of the legs and enhances digestion, enhances blood circulation in the brain (as the head goes lower than the heart), boosts spinal flexibility (on tortional twists)

Ardhabaddha Padmottanasana
(Half-Bound Lotus Forward Bend)

Method: (p69) On Tadasana, inhale, bend the left leg (you can start with the right too) until the left heel touches the abdomen. Take the left arm around the back until the left hand grips the left big toe. On the exhale, forward bend with a flat back (you can round it when it couldn't go any further). Hold the Bahya Kumbhaka until you cannot. Inhale half-way looking up and continue to take the body upright. Do the other side.

(On the forward bend, I would do a Maha Bandha Mudra and hold it as long as I can.)

Ardhabaddha Padmottanasana
Ardhabaddha Padmottanasana

Benefits: This removes impurities and deposits from the lower abdomen and facilitates digestion.

Chaturanga Dandasana
(4-Limbed Staff Pose)

Method: (p73) Inhale on Tadasana. Exhale on the forward bend (Uttanasana). Inhale half-way looking up (tips of the fingers on the mat, back straight, head looking forward). Exhale, step back and assume a high plank (ideally, you should jump back, but I noticed this is injury-prone since at times, you will land on your toes and not on the ball of the feet). The body should be ruler-flat. Make sure the elbows point to the back. Breathe. Exhale, lower the body as you bend your elbow towards the back (not to the sides), while keeping the body straight. Stop before body touches the mat - only the hands and feet touch the mat.

Variation: The hands can either be by the chest or by the waist (more difficult). If by the chest, the toes should be tucked-in. If hands are by the waist, the top of the feet touch the mat.

Chaturanga Dandasana
Chaturanga Dandasana
My Practice: When I'm feeling strong, I close my fist on the high plank and have my knuckles on the mat (this activates my Mani bandha - the wrist bandha). I move my body forward without moving my hands, and my feet are turned down so the top of my feet are on the mat. I lower myself down very slowly (maybe even 5 full breaths on the way down - this builds mass faster). On the low plank, my hands will be beside my waist (and not beside the chest - this is more difficult as it hits the lower pecs muscles). I hover here and even do Kapalbhati Pranayama until my muscles give - and maybe I transition into Upward Dog (with palms on the mat).

Benefits: Improves core, pecs and triceps. Primes the body for arm-balancing (like handstands)

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
(Upward-facing Dog)

Method: (p73) From Chaturanga, inhale fully and simply lift the body up while the hip and legs remain where they are. Arms are now straight. The back will arch - this is a backbend. Lift the sternum and open the chest, even pulling the shoulders back. The hands should be aligned with the navel at this point. Keep the head upright (not tilting back) and Drshti (gaze) on the tip of the nose. Hold this inhale as long as you can (Antara kumbhaka).

Variation: In most yoga studios, from Chaturanga, the body is moved forward and lifts up into Upward Dog. I used to do this for many years, but I personally find it injurious on the deltoids (shoulder muscles).

Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
My Practice: The book instructs to progress to hold this position for up to 15 minutes! This is new to me. But instinctively, I've always stayed long in Upward Dog even though studio practices only do an inhale here and transition into Downward Dog already. I hold the Upward Dog for many breaths (I don't hold it unlike the book) because I feel that it takes a while for the body to sink into this wonderful backbend. And when it does, I do some side twists to stretch the obliques (while hands and feet remain where they are) - surprisingly, you have to do this when you do Varisara Dhauti (colon cleansing shat kriya).

This just came to mind. Instead of holding the Upward Dog making as many breaths as possible, I could also hold on the full inhale (like what the book says), exhale on the Downward Dog (without holding, since the object here is to hold on the Upward Dog) and inhale and hold again into another Upward Dog. I can keep doing this until satiated. Sometimes I wonder about doing just one kriya for an hour. Like doing just this. By the end, I guess you become a master in Upward Dog and Downward Dog.

Benefits: The natural slouching of the body will be addressed. Samana Vayu is activated enhancing digestion. The Apana Vayu is activated promoting elimination.

Adho Mukha Svanasana
(Downward-facing Dog)

Method: (p77) From Chaturanga, inhale and revert into a High Plank, exhale and lift the pelvis up and push it back with legs and arms straight. You should look like an inverted "V". Still holding the exhale, perform Maha Bandha Mudra (chin to the chest, tummy pulled in and perineum muscle engaged). Breathe when needed. You should be able to hold this pose for 15 mins with regular practice.

Adho Mukha Svanasana

My Practice: When I need to inhale from Downward Dog, I transition into an Upward Dog for the inhale. Without holding the inhale, I exhale back into Downward Dog until I can't hold it anymore. I can keep doing this until satiated (or 15 mins according to the book).

Benefits: Stomach bloating and belching will go away.

(Seated Forward Bend)

Method: (p77) From Downward Dog, inhale and jump forward with legs going through the arms without touching the floor. You land sitting down with legs straight and together. Hold the inhale, remain seated with gaze on the tip of the nose. Exhale and move the body into a forward bend with arms reaching towards the feet - first 3 fingers grab the big toes. Legs remain straight - don't bend the knees. Hold the exhale and perform Mula Bandha (engaging the perineum muscle) and Uddiyana Bandha (pulling in the tummy). No Jalandhara Bandha (chin to chest) because your face should be on the knees.

In the beginning, there will be intense sensation on the back of the knees, the thighs and lower back. This is normal as long as you don't go beyond your safety edge.

Variation: Jumping through the legs is advanced and requires good core. You can simply walk or take a big step. Instead of holding on the big toes, you can hold the edge of the feet, the balls of the feet or clasp your hands around the feet.

My Practice: When I need to inhale from Paschimottanasana, I straighten my back and look forward. Pause, then exhale and sink back into a forward bend.

Benefits: All diseases related to the stomach will be cured when practiced daily for 15 mins.

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana
(Half-Lotus Seated Forward Bend)

Method: (p83) From seated with straight legs together, bend the right leg so that the right heel rests high up on the left thigh. Right hand goes behind the back and grabs the right big toe. Inhale as you straighten the body up. On the exhale, bend forward towards the left leg with left arm reaching out to the left foot. Left hand grabs the left big toe. Hold the exhalation while doing Maha Bandha Mudra - stay there as long as you can. Inhale and come up and release. Do the other side.

Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana

My Practice: Same as the book

Benefits: All diseases of the lower abdomen are cured. Apana vayu is purified and Kundalini is awakened.

Tiryanga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana
(Oblique One-legged Forward Bend)

Method: (p85) From seated with straight legs together, bend the right leg so that the right heel rests snugly by the right buttock. Inhale as you straighten the body up. On the exhale, bend forward towards the left leg with both hands grabbing the left foot. Hold the exhalation while doing Maha Bandha Mudra - stay there as long as you can. Inhale and come up and release. Do the other side.

Tiryanga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimottanasana

My Practice: Same as the book

Benefits: Prevents Elephantiasis (enlargement of the balls), all impurities in the nerves, ligaments and joints in the legs are dissolved. Increased strength and speed in walking and running. Nearby nadis are cleansed. Blood circulation is increased.

Janu Sirsasana
(Head to Knee)

Method: (p85) This pose is so powerful, it is also considered a mudra - Maha Mudra or The Great Mudra. Doing this properly hastens the awakening of Kundalini.

Seated, with legs straight and together, bend the right leg so that the right heel is between the anus and genitals (this is for Hatha Yoga. For Raja Yoga, the heel should be between the balls and genital) and the thigh is perpendicular to the left leg to form an "L" shape. The left leg should not lean to any side and should remain straight with the back of the knee reaching down to the floor.

Inhale and raise your arms up 'til they touch while keeping the body upright. On the exhale, bend forward on the left leg with head to the knee. Pull the stomach in (Uddiyana bandha) and visualize you are pulling up prana from the pelvic region. Stay here for as long as you can hold the exhalation. Never do an inhalation while on a forward bend. When you have to inhale, look half-way up with a straight back, and exhale on the forward bend again. You can keep doing this for 30 mins before doing the other side.

Variation: The heel can be pressed against the inner thigh of the straight leg - but this is not as powerful since the heel does not activate a mudra. Anoter version is for the heel on the inner thigh to be lifted so that the ball of the foot is on the mat - this is very difficult and can be painful.

Janu Sirsasana
Janu Sirsasana

My Practice: Putting the heel between the anus and the genitals activates the Muladhara chakra - a staple in Hatha Yoga. But this can be painful (imagine sitting on an orange where the orange is on the perineum). I prop myself up so that my sit bones are about 4 inches higher. This allows the heel to come closer to the perineum without my weight on the heel.

As with any forward bend, I engage Maha Bandha Mudra until I need to inhale. I may repeat this a few times before doing the other side.

Benefits: This is a restorative pose which opens the hip and stretches the hamstring. All urinary diseases will disappear. Spleen problems and diabetes will be cured. Wet dreams will stop (but what crazy guy would want to stop wet dreams?)

  1. 8 Limbs of Yoga May 1, 2022
  2. Understanding Yogic Chakras Apr 26, 2020
  3. Yoga Makaranda II: Inversions Oct 7, 2016
8 Limbs of Yoga
  1. pranayama - practice of breath regulation, develops long life, health and power, good blood circulation and bone strength for good health. For fat people, practise rechaka khumbaka (breath-hold after exhalation). For thin people, practise puraka khumbaka (breath-hold after inhalation)
  2. pratyahara - concentration of the indriyas (senses). The senses are controlled/restrained from wandering about.
  3. dharana - controlling the mind for ekagrata (one-pointedness). With that, all the senses can be controlled and siddhis (psychic powers) developed
  4. dhyana -
  5. samadhi -

It's confusing when there are inconsistencies and reversed names or just wrong statements within the book and between the 2 books:

  1. Kandasthana - this is a ball of flesh where 72000 nadis converge. One part says it is located between the navel and the genitals. But in another section, it says it's located in the muladhara cakra.
  2. Chakras - In Yoga Makaranda I, 10 chakras are listed. In Yoga Makaranda II, only 7 chakras are listed - the surya, manas and brahmaguha chakras are omitted.
  3. Muladhara Chakra - In YMI, he Muladhara Chakra is next to the rectum towards the spinal tip. In YMII, it's between the root of the reproductory organs and anus.
  4. Samana/Vyana vayu - there is an interchange between the names and locations of these 2 vayus
  5. "...blood to flow properly in the nadis" - blood flows through the blood vessels and energy flows through the nadis. This statement is wrong.

Ending Thoughts

I haven't read all of Yoga Makaranda, but so far, I can say it's not an easy read - in part because of the translantion, the inconsistencies (10 chakras in YMI while only 7 chakras in YMII), the ambiguities and the sheer believabality of some claims ("do this pranayama and not even death can touch you", or "once you can hold your breath for 1.5 hours..."). Even though some texts might sound hyperbolic, I defer to A.G. Mohan who once did an eyeroll when TK claimed to know 64 variations of Sirsasana. To prove his point, TK actually performed all of the asanas. TK doesn't seem to be one who would embellish a story or a claim.

I consider this a credible bridge between pre-modern yoga (traditional yoga) and coming-of-age yoga (that is mostly asana-heavy), that can get one deeper into the practice. The section about Prana Vayu alone has taken me months to get a foot-hold on. But then there are the other disciplines - pranayama, mudras, chakras, etc. Just on this book alone, you can be established in the practice already.

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider


I took the effort to list down the bibliography because this is a great source of pre-modern yoga (pre-1934) where tradition followed a lineage. This was before Yoga Alliance took over, before Lululemon became a fad and before yoga became big business.

  1. Rajayoga Ratnakaram
  2. Hathayoga Pradipika
  3. Yoga Saravalli
  4. Yoga Balaprathipikai
  5. Ravana Nadi (Nadi Pariksa of Ravana)
  6. Bhairava Kalpam
  7. Sri Tattvanidhi
  8. Yoga Ratnakarandam
  9. Mano Narayaneeyam
  10. Rudrayameelam (Rudrayamalam)
  11. Brahmayameelam
  12. Atharvana Rahasyam vii
  13. Patanjala Yogadarshanam
  14. Kapilasutram
  15. Yogayajnavalkyam
  16. Gheranda Samhita
  17. Narada Pancharatra Samhita
  18. Satvata Samhita
  19. Siva Samhita
  20. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad
  21. Chandilya Upanishad
  22. Yoga Shika Upanishad
  23. Yoga Kundalya Upanishad
  24. Ahir Buddhniya Samhita
  25. Nada Bindu Upanishad
  26. Amrita Bindu Upanishad
  27. Garbha Upanishad

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Dharamshala Map
Google Map

Dharamshala (city), India

hotels in Dharamshala hotel

Travel Tips
  1. the Dalai Lama's scheduled public teachings in Dharamshala are as follows: September 4-7, 2018 | October 3 - 6, 2018 | February 19, 2019. To register, visit this page:
  2. in June, the average temperature high is 31° and average low is 21°. It rains usually in the afternoon/evening beginning mid-June
  3. July and August see the most rainfall, up to 22 inches
  4. Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) happens 30 October to 2 November in McLeod Ganj
  5. at the Tibetan Museum in McLeod Ganj, there is a daily 11am and 3pm movie screening of Tibet-related issues at INR 10
  6. trekking is one of the highlights in Dharamshala - to Dharamkot, Bhagsu, cutting through Dhauladhar to the upper Ravi Valley and Chamba district, or the 8km trek to Triund
  7. Wednesday is vegetarian day - other days, meat dishes are served by cafes and restaurants
  8. Bhagsu and Dharamkot are a quiet alternative to McLeod Ganj. They are also cheaper in accommodation when the Dalai Lama is in town and McLeod Ganj hostels are fully booked (with inflated prices)
  9. If you wish to stay in McLeod Ganj but want quiet, stay along Jogiwara Road where balconies will offer scenic views
  10. short power outages frequently happen during the day
  11. for quiet stays and scenic views, stay in Upper Dharamkot or Upper Bhagsu. The "upper" you go, the cheaper the accommodation prices go.
  12. in Upper Dharamkot is a cluster of cafes and lodging (Salvation Cafe area)where the community is chill

How to get to Dharamshala from Rishikesh by bus

  1. bus terminal Bus - Rishikesh to Dharamshala is 449 kms. The usual route is to go to Haridwar and take the State transport buses to Lower Dharamshala, but it's less hassle to get a bus from Rishikesh that go all the way up to McLeod Ganj - a little more money (INR 1150) but worth it specially if you a carry bulky pack. You will leave Rishikesh 4pm and arrive in Dharamshala the following day (you save one night lodging) at 7am.

How to get to New Delhi Airport from McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala by bus

  1. bus terminal Bus From McLeod Ganj bus station, take a semi-sleeper a/c overnight bus, INR 1000, 11.5 hours (7pm to 6:30am) straight to Kashmiri Gate Train Station in New Delhi.
  2. walk to Kashmiri Gate (no need to ride a tuktuk)
  3. take the Yellow Line towards Huda City but get off at New Delhi Station (INR 16)
  4. From New Delhi Station, take the Airport Metro Train (INR 60) and get off at the airport

Travel Tips for India
  • e-VISA - visa on arrival is no longer done. Tourists should apply online for an e-VISA. Tourist e-VISA for 60 days = US$51.25 (including surcharges, non-refundable). NOTE: e-VISA is only honored in 25 designated airports and 5 designated seaports (Cochin, Goa, Mangalore,Mumbai,Chennai). You CANNOT do a land crossing using an e-VISA.
  • US$1 = Indian Rupee (INR) 67.18
  • nearly every food served is spicy...there is no escaping it
  • other travel destinations in India
  • always good to have an Indian SIM. It's handy to get wifi in some cafes

India Blogs


  1. 16 Days in McLeod Ganj, Dharamshala: Goodbye India June 23-July 8, 2018
  2. Peoplescape of Dharamshala, India June 14 - July 8, 2018
  3. Visiting the Tibet Museum June 27, 2018
  4. In Search of a Tibetan Yantra Yoga Teacher June 25, 2018
  5. Conducting Yoga Classes at Pema Thang Guest House, Dharamshala, India June 24 - July 8, 2018
  6. Life in Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 16-23, 2018
  7. Trekking to Naddi from Upper Bhagsu, Dharamshala June 19, 2018
  8. Matters of the Heart Jun 17, 2018
  9. A First Timer in Dharamshala Jun 14, 2018

  11. 29 Hours in New Delhi Airport July 9-10, 2018
  12. Meditation with Shirly Pnina at Lodi Garden, New Delhi May 15, 2018
  13. A First-Timer in New Delhi, India May 12-17, 2018

  15. A 26-Day Mini-Life in Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  16. Peoplescape of Rishikesh May 18 - June 13, 2018
  17. Rafting the Ganga River with Greg Goldstein June 1, 2018
  18. White Water Rafting on Ganga River, Rishikesh May 25, 2018
  19. Satsang (spiritual discourse) by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati May 21, 2018
  20. Ganga Aarti (devotional fire ritual) at Parmarth Niketan Ashram May 21, 2018
  21. Bouncing Back into Yoga in Rishikesh May 21, 2018
  22. Exploring Rishikesh, India May 18, 2018

  24. India e-VISA snag May 9, 2018

General Travel Tips
  1. arrive early - in case there is a snag (visa snag, documentation snag, transport ticket snag, etc.), you will have ample time to troubleshoot the problem if you arrive early (to the airport, to the bus terminal, etc.)
  2. put detailed itinerary on the Calendar apps of your smart-phone according to timelines - this is where you do all your thinking and planning. Once written down, you don't have to think anymore while you are on the just follow the steps. This frees your mind for something else that might happen while you are already en route
  3. avoiding scams - as a general rule, I ignore the touts or anyone I don't know who call out to me. The calling comes in many forms - "Hi! Where are you from?", "Excuse me! Excuse me!", "Where are you going?". I don't look them in the eye and I remain non-verbal with them. If you reply to them, you just gave them an 'in' to hound you. In order not to look rude, I smile and wave the 'not interested' hand to them, without looking at them.
  4. power bank - hand-carry your power bank. Do not check it in. You can be called in when you are already inside the plane to go all the way to the loading dock so you can personally remove the power bank...and chances are, you'll have to surrender it to them. And you might delay the plane departure!
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