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Michael O'Neill. On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace

Hardcover with fold-outs and gold embossing, printed on two different paper stocks, 10.5 x 14.7 in., 6.57 lb, 290 pages
US$ 70
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This extraordinary body of work tells the story of yoga as it’s never been told before. With almost 200 images, it traces the photographic journey of Michael O’Neill, the photographer and yogi who spent a decade traversing America and India to capture the essence of yoga and the most influential yogis of our time as a physical, spiritual, and mindful practice. The pictures are illuminated with stories from his travels and essays by meditation master H. H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Ashtanga guru Eddie Stern.

Poses of Peace

Michael O’Neill’s meditation on the essence of yoga

It’s taken yoga several thousand years to journey from a handful of monasteries dotting the Himalayas to the myriad studios of London, Lower Manhattan, and beyond. Whether bathing with holy men in the Ganges or joining the chorus of a thousand voices chanting “om,” photographer Michael O’Neill decided to devote himself to experiencing and recording the world of yoga at this critical juncture in its history. The result is a powerful photographic tribute to the age-old discipline turned global phenomenon, with over 250 million practitioners united in physical, spiritual, and mindful practice worldwide.

Famous for his photographs of the famous, O’Neill first set out to make portraits of the most influential yogis of our time—B. K. S. Iyengar, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois, T. K. V. Desikachar, Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa—as well as those famed for integrating yoga into their high-profile lives, such as Donna Karan, Sting, and Trudie Styler. It was a chance to honor the masters and unite his lifelong passion for photography with a newfound love for yoga and meditation. But as his practice deepened, so did his drive to look past the personalities and the poses to document the roots of yoga. Over ten years O’Neill trekked beyond the traditional epicenters to meditate with monks in the Tibetan Plateau, live with sadhus in their tents at the Kumbh Mela, and marvel at the boys who practice the little known discipline of Mallakhamba at the wrestling grounds in Kochi. Says O’Neill: “All I wanted to do was to pay homage to yoga’s classical lineage and understand this unique moment before it slips away.”

Now brought together for the first time, this extraordinary body of work tells the story of yoga as it’s never been told before, with nearly 200 photographs, most of which have never been seen. Two of O’Neill’s most important subjects, meditation master His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and Ashtanga guru Eddie Stern, join the conversation with their essays on the role of yoga in contemporary culture, the history of the practice from the time of Patanjali, and the healing power of what Michael O’Neill calls “the architecture of peace . . . a series of postures that bring the practitioner closer to touching the infinite.”
The photographer

In his five-decade career, Michael O’Neill has photographed the cultural icons of his time, from Andy Warhol to the Dalai Lama, for publications including the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. He has had solo shows of his work at Visa pour l’image (Perpignan, France); at II Mes Internacional da Fotografia (São Paulo, Brazil); and Houk Friedman (New York). His photographs reside in the collections of the Walker Art Center, among other museums. He is the subject of the 2017 documentary On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace.

The contributing authors

H.H. Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji is one of India’s most revered and beloved spiritual leaders. He is President of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh (home of the annual International Yoga Festival) and founder of Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, Divine Shakti Foundation, and Ganga Action Parivar, and India Heritage Research Foundation.

Eddie Stern is a yoga teacher, author, app creator, and lecturer from New York City. His practical approach to teaching and practicing yoga is a mix of science, religion, philosophy, and social service.

Michael O'Neill. On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
Hardcover with fold-outs and gold embossing, printed on two different paper stocks, 10.5 x 14.7 in., 6.57 lb, 290 pages
Graydon Carter

Graydon Carter

“This book will make you say ‘OUCH!’—and I mean that in a good way.”
Illustration: Robert Nippoldt
Michael O'Neill. On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
Michael O'Neill.
On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
US$ 70
Michael O'Neill. On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
Registry for availability info