Document Type

Panel Presentation

Keywords

yoga, America, gurus

Biography

My name is Allie Bright and I am a senior majoring in Geography and minoring in International Relations. My capstone is on the modernization of yoga through the movements of Indian gurus to the United States. I am a student and teacher of yoga and am fascinated by the roots of the practice, hence my capstone!

Major

Geography

Advisor for this project

Anita Walz

Start Date

20-4-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

20-4-2017 2:45 PM

Abstract

Yoga, an Indian practice with roots over 4000 years old, is a relatively new practice in the United States. The U.S. first welcomed Indian gurus and their yogic spiritual teachings in 1893 with Swami Vivekananda at the Chicago Parliament of Religions. Yoga has been an ever-evolving practice since its start, changing with the times, though this change has been slow and contained within the subcontinent of India. When yoga was introduced to the U.S. it became an American practice with nearly all of its roots and traditions disappearing. The goal of this study is to discover if the Indian gurus who brought this ancient practice to the U.S. were responsible for this rapid modernization and loss of yogic roots. Through a thorough examination of scholarly articles, books, Sanskrit texts, videos, and readings of influential Indian gurus this paper came to the conclusion that Indian gurus did tailor yoga practice to meet the needs and interests of Americans. This adaptation resulted in a great loss of yogic traditions and a misunderstanding of the ancient practice’s roots. In the United States and all over the world, even in India, yoga has become a western practice.

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Apr 20th, 1:30 PM Apr 20th, 2:45 PM

Indian Gurus Uproot Yoga's Traditions

Yoga, an Indian practice with roots over 4000 years old, is a relatively new practice in the United States. The U.S. first welcomed Indian gurus and their yogic spiritual teachings in 1893 with Swami Vivekananda at the Chicago Parliament of Religions. Yoga has been an ever-evolving practice since its start, changing with the times, though this change has been slow and contained within the subcontinent of India. When yoga was introduced to the U.S. it became an American practice with nearly all of its roots and traditions disappearing. The goal of this study is to discover if the Indian gurus who brought this ancient practice to the U.S. were responsible for this rapid modernization and loss of yogic roots. Through a thorough examination of scholarly articles, books, Sanskrit texts, videos, and readings of influential Indian gurus this paper came to the conclusion that Indian gurus did tailor yoga practice to meet the needs and interests of Americans. This adaptation resulted in a great loss of yogic traditions and a misunderstanding of the ancient practice’s roots. In the United States and all over the world, even in India, yoga has become a western practice.