M is for Mohan

A.G. Mohan, born 1945.  He studied with Krishnamacharya from 1971 until the master’s death in 1989.  He was a treasured student of Krishnamacharya, who wrote the foreword to Mohan’s book Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind.  Mohan organized the centenary birthday celebration for Krishnamacharya.  Mohan is also an accomplished yoga scholar in his own right, researching & translating ancient texts, learning & teaching yogic approaches to health (maintenance, diagnosis, treatment), and expanding into related fields like Ayurvedic medicine.

Mohan has very much attempted to carry on Krishnamacharya’s teachings in Krishnamacharya’s traditions.  In addition to Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind, he has written a biography of Krishnamacharya and a book called Yoga Therapy.  

Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind and Yoga Therapy describe the principles of Mohan’s practice and his teachings.  Both books cover yoga practice for an individual, in slightly different ways that may each appeal to different personal preferences.  Yoga Therapy, as the title implies, includes more on therapeutic yoga and a section on Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy.  

The foundation of Mohan's beliefs is basically the same as Krishnamacharya's, including his approach to asanas, breathing, and vinyasa krama.  Asanas and breathing are integrated, with a continual awareness of the body, especially the spine.  Mohan’s definition of vinyasa krama is “the intelligent ordering of postures to achieve a goal.”  He believes “It is the practical means for attaining steadiness (sthira) and comfort (sukha).”  Mohan provides examples of vinyasa krama for specific asanas and for a yoga practice.  The vinyasa krama sequences frequently are simpler than Krishnamacharya’s, but of course in real life the sequences would vary by individual.  

Mohan focuses less on defining a large population of asanas, and more on adapting a fewer number of asanas to individuals’ needs.  Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind describes 23 asanas, for each illustrating the basic asana and a few variations.  Mohan does not say yoga practitioners should not perform complex or difficult asanas, but those asanas are not his purpose in his books -- making yoga accessible and directly useful for health is his primary interest.

Everybody is different.  Mohan, like Krishnamacharya, possesses a strong belief in helping the individual.  For him, a thorough assessment of an individual’s situation is the essential starting point for development of a personalized yoga practice.  His books include case studies and examples of asana sequences for particular circumstances of exercise objectives and therapeutic needs.

Along with asanas and pranayama, Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind discusses bandhas briefly.  It also recaps the 8 limbs of raja yoga.  It discusses the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga that complement, and are supported by, the physical aspects.  Yoga Therapy, in contrast, discusses yoga and Ayurvedic medicine in the context of Vedic philosophy.  As well as its therapeutic look at asanas and pranayama, it has a fairly detailed discussion of body mechanics as related to yoga.  Although each book can stand alone, together they provide an unmatched richness of hatha yoga information.

A.G. Mohan’s website is  The word Svastha in Sanskrit refers to the state of complete health and balance.

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