Yoga - A Journey Within

Yoga – A Journey Within

This wonderful yoga book by Derek Biermann is a collection of photographs and interviews with 54 inspirational yogis the author met during two journeys to India in 2003/2004, visiting more than 30 cities during six months of travel. All of the yogis interviewed for this book were photographed in India using 35mm film and natural light, often within the context of their immediate surroundings, like the nearest rooftop or temple wall. While this book is not meant to be instructional in any way, he felt it was important to have different asanas represented, to show the various practices of these individuals. In the instances where the subject is not performing an asana, it can be assumed that their practice is either very private, or leans more towards the devotional aspects of yoga.

Many of the subjects are students who have chosen to study directly with their masters, while others are on a yogic journey in India for the purpose of exploring different styles of yoga with more than one teacher. Included in this collection of yogis are four of the most recognizable and influential personalities of modern yoga who collectively guide millions of students worldwide; namely, Yogacharya Sri TVK Desikachar, the late Vidwan Sri K Pattabhi Jois, Paramahansa Niranjanananda Saraswati, and Yogacharya Sri BKS Iyengar.

Asana Asana Asana

All of the yogis in this book were asked the same relative questions to demonstrate similarity and contrast between their personal journeys and experiences of yoga. Each individual was asked the following questions:

What are your earliest memories of yoga?

Who or what inspired you to practice yoga?

What is your yoga practice?

Do you have a teacher or guru?

How has yoga influenced your relationships with people in life?

Have there been any significant turning points in your yoga practice?

How has yoga changed you mentally, physically and spiritually?

Do you recognize yoga as an important influence in your life?

What is the meaning or the essence of yoga?

What is the ultimate goal or aim of yoga?

Their answers to these questions are presented here as a collection of comparative monologues, giving the reader a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of what the practice of yoga can achieve. The yogis in this book represent differing systems of practice, stages of life, varied nationalities, physical abilities, and philosophical ideologies, and are a reflection of the diversity of practitioners within India and throughout the world.

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Yoga – A Journey Within
Author: Derek Biermann
Hardcover: 284 pages / 120 full page color photographs
Publisher: Derek Biermann, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-646-56466-1
Weight: 5.0 lbs
Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.3 x 1.2 in. (29.7 x 21 x 3 cm)

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The aim of book is to inspire and inform the reader from the curious seeker to the dedicated practitioner with a wealth of personalized information about practical, spiritual and philosophical aspects of contemporary yoga and yogic practices.

Yoga lineages featured

Ashtanga Yoga

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (page 195)

Sri R. Sharath Jois (page 211)

Joanne Darby (page 75)

Olaf Kalfas (page 135)

Kino MacGregor (page 144)

Basia Lipska (page 165)

David Swenson (page 233)

Shelley Washington (page 256)

Ananda Adams (page 10)

Jarko Tormanen (page 243)

Eagle (page 112)


Yogacharya Sri TKV Desikachar (page 91)

Kausthub Desikachar (page 80)

Mekhala Desikachar (page 86)

Iyengar Yoga

Yogacharya Sri BKS Iyengar (page 120)

Srimat Geeta Iyengar (page 126)

Sivananda Yoga, Bihar School

Swami Niranjananda Saraswati (page 188)


Sri OP Tiwari (page 238)

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We are made up of five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. The most important element is ether. If there is a space outside of you, then there should also be a space inside of you.

— Sri BKS Iyengar


Short extracts

Sri BKS Iyengar (page 120)
“Like the stick that churns butter from curd, yoga uses your body as the rod to get the best from the inner core, which is merely the intelligence required for your soul to shine.”

Srimat Geeta Iyengar (page 126)
“Guruji (Sri BKS Iyengar) suffered greatly through poverty, struggling for every rupee that he made from teaching yoga. Our family finances were frequently in a bad state, and I recall reading in his diaries how he would often cycle for many miles to teach a student, just so that he could afford to buy one meal that day.”

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (page 195)
“A guru is a master who has the knowledge to lead you on the correct path, and is the person who will bring a feeling of lightness into your life that will reassure you as you move towards your spiritual goals.”

Sri Sharath Rangaswamy (Sri R. Sharath Jois) (page 211)
“The heat that is created by the asanas using vinyasas aids in purifying the blood and providing better circulation, which helps to remove pain and toxins from the muscles and the joints, as well as from the internal organs and the whole nervous system… Through the vinyasas, the body becomes healthier, lighter and stronger.”

Olaf Kalfas (page 135)
“Through yoga I no longer have pain in my neck or spine or anywhere else in my body. My practice has corrected all of my physical ailments, and that gives me great comfort and reassurance on my path.”

David Swenson (page 233)
“Spirituality is not determined by a practice, but rather by the focus and the intention of the practitioner.”

Kino MacGregor (page 144)
“Everyone wants to become strong and flexible through yoga. But you can’t be only strong or flexible; there is so much more to it than that. You also need to have the presence of mind to stop and really tune in to yourself, and to bring your consciousness to accept whatever each day brings.”

Joanne Darby (page 75)
“With a constant and sincere practice of yoga, it is possible to not only purify our bodies but also to remove the barriers and rediscover our loving nature with an open heart. The light within us begins to shine, the darkness and illusion disappears, and happiness flows into our hearts. Life then becomes such a blessing and a joyful playground.”

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