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The Power of Practice: How Music and Yoga Transformed the Life and Work of Yehudi Menuhin

by Kristin Wendland

Kristin Wendland is Professor of Pedagogy in the Department of Music.

The Power of Practice showcases the pioneering achievements of renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1916-99) and how both disciplines transformed his life and practice. Menuhin's contributions as a performer, teacher, and humanitarian are celebrated around the world. Less well known, however, is Menuhin's devotion to the practice of yoga and his close friendship with the renowned yogi B. K. S. Iyengar (1918–2014), whose guidance profoundly influenced Menuhin as both a musician and a philanthropist. Menuhin applied his understanding of Iyengar's teachings to his philosophy of musical practice, creating new ways to approach the teaching of violin technique. He also took broader lessons from yoga to inform his approach to interacting with the larger world as a cultural ambassador and influential artist. Through the lens of the life and work of the celebrated violinist and devoted yogi, this book uncovers deep connections between music and yoga. It shows how the practice of both disciplines can profoundly transform our world into a better place.

“Beautifully written by a musician and practicing yogi, this book is both scholarly and easy to read while providing a comprehensive and detailed overview of a musician’s life, well lived and greatly enhanced by an active yoga practice and the study of yoga philosophy.” Lesley McAllister, Baylor University School of Music

“A highly readable account of Iyengar and his teachings’ lasting impact on Menuhin and Menuhin’s legacy.” Suzanne Newcombe, The Open University



From the author

This project has been in the works for over eight years. It began with my curiosity about Yehudi Menuhin’s connection to yoga. I first visited the Menuhin Archive in London to explore the “yoga box” there, and the project slowly grew to a full-scale monograph. I started to work with the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry and the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship early in the project's development to make this a "digital humanities" piece. I wanted to ensure it would be open access to reach interested readers both inside and outside the academy, and to be able to house our own instructional videos that capture how Menuhin incorporated yoga into his violin playing and teaching. After considering a few digital platforms, we settled on Manifold. It gives the reader a real book-like reading experience and provides a fluid way to navigate all the digital enhancements to the print version. The ability to annotate provides a unique feature for those of us who enjoy "marginalia." I’m very excited to see how beautifully this project has come to fruition, thanks to the FCHI and the ECDS!


Headshot of Kristin Wendland