Yoga in the Modern World: The Rise of Modern Postural Yoga Flashcards Preview

YS-101 An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Yoga > Yoga in the Modern World: The Rise of Modern Postural Yoga > Flashcards

Flashcards in Yoga in the Modern World: The Rise of Modern Postural Yoga Deck (10)
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Early American Yogi

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)


Swami Vivekananda

Disciple of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna from Calcutta

1893 World Parliament of Religions in Chicago

Founded Vedanta centers across the US

Raja Yoga (1896); Neo-Vedantic interp. of the YS

"Science of self-realization"

Preached the universality of all religions

Anti Hatha sentiment: "HY which deals entirely with the physical body, its aim being to make the physical body strong. We have nothing to do with it here, because its practices are very difficult, and cannot be learnt in a day, and, after all, do not lead to much spiritual growth"


Militant Ascetics

Late-medieval and early-modern period

Many ascetics and yogis became soldiers

Fought over pilgrimage and trade centers

“Sannyasi rebellion" late- 18th cent Bengal against British East India Company

Yogis deemed threat to British Empire


"Backwards" Yogis

Yoga and yogis in colonial India, particularly of the Hatha (i.e physical) variety, were considered backwards and impure by most orthodox Indian and European elite

Associated with low-caste, street peddling, trickster fakirs and magicians


Yoga in Early 20th century India

" ... not the outcome of a direct and unbroken lineage of hatha yoga. While it is going too far to say that modern postural yoga has no relationship to asana practice within the Indian tradition, this relationship is one of radical innovation and experimentation. It is the result of adaptation to new discourses of the body that resulted from India's encounter with modernity" Singleton 2010:33

Physical culture movements in India and Europe

bodybuilding, wrestling, Swedish gymnastics, YMCA physical ed. programs, etc


Tirumalai Krishnamacharya (1888-1989)

The "Father" of modern postural yoga

Śri Vaiṣṇava Brahmin

Studied with Rāmmohan Brahmacāri in Tibet

Taught yoga to the Maharaja of the Mysore Palace (1930s) - Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV

Introduced "vimyasa" yoga combining breath with sequenced movement

Wrote Yoga Makaranda in 1934


Mysore Yoga Traditions

Śri Tattvanidhi - ms. of 121 asanas with illustration

Vyāyāmadīpikā / Mysore gymnastics manual


Reconciling Tradition and Innovation

This sort of reconciling tradition and new innovations is not unique to modern yoga, or Krishnamacharya, but it is common to all Indian religious and philosophical knowledge systems

How to maintain tradition, while allowing a tradition to change, innovate, grow, and adapt to new circumstances?

A mixture of "traditional" Indian yoga, innovation from gymnastics and bodybuilding, uniquely synthesized within the framework of Patanjalayoga, that is the Astangayoga schema of the Yogasutra


The lost Yoga Korunta?

The ancient and lost YK said to be the authoritative source of Krishnamacharya's vinyasa "jumping" yoga

the traditional narrative: The method of Yoga taught at KPJAYI is that which has been told by the ancient Sage Vamana in his text called YK. Although many books on Yoga have been written, Vamana is the only one who has delineated a complete practical method. In the 1920's, the Yogi and Sanskrit scholar T. Krishnamacharya traveled to Calcutta where he transcribed and recorded the YK, which was written on palm leaves and was in a bad state of decay, having been partially eaten by ants. Later, he passed on these teachings to the late Pattabhi Jois, whose school continues to teach this method today

Birch has noted parallels between the Hathabhyasapaddhati and the Śrītattvanidhi, which Krishnamacharya cites as one of his source texts

One must wonder whether the name Yoga Kuruṇṭa was derived from Kapālakuraṇṭaka, the author of the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati


Salutations to the Sun

One of the signature practices of modern postural yoga

and of Patthabi Jois' Ashtanga Vinyasa

while worship of the sun is indeed quite ancient in India and can be traced back to the Vedas, the particular flowing postural sequence which today goes by such name is a much more modern innovation in the history of yoga

The earliest reference to suryanamaskara in a sanskrit yoga text is found in the 19th century Jyotsna (commentary) on the Hathapradipika by Brahmananda at HP 1.61. But here, Brahmananda warns aginst its practice, compares it to other forms of extraneous physical exercise including weight lifting.

Singleton and Elliott Goldberg have shown that in 1930s Mysore SN was not considered a part of yogasana but rather a form of gymnastics/bodybuilding

Influence of bodybuilders: Pratinidhi Pant, KV Iyer and his student Anant Rao

Krishnamacharya synthesized this into his classes at the yogashala