The Old is New, East is West

Aaron Michael Ullrey, PhD

Yoga is a physical practice of bending and stretching, conferring health, wellbeing, and, somehow, spiritual development. Yoga supposedly originates in India, transmitted over eons to our modern world. But modern postural yoga originated in the 1800s, its latest form emerging during the 1960s, a hybrid of western exercise, Protestant “new thought,” and consumerism, with few Indian influences. So, what is Indian yoga? How did yoga “gurus” create a yoga divorced from wandering, ascetic Indian yogis? How were militaristic, misogynistic, and magical Indic religious cultures transformed into the women’s empowerment, productivity worship and materialism, associated with 21st century yoga?

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