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There’s More to Yoga Than Meets the Western Eye

One of my Facebook friends from England posted this article recently about the way yoga in India today is being used as a political tool. Apparently, there are those claiming that skinny, rich, white Americans have stolen India’s birthright, yoga. This clear-sighted article by an Indian born to a caste to whom yoga was never an option begs to differ. I hesitate to try to convey his arguments here, but what he has to say answers some questions I’ve had for a long time. Some of them were just vague nameless disquiet. Thank you Prachi Patankar.

I’d like to point out that the history of yoga has been steeped in controversy. There have been many definitions through the ages and many schools of yoga and they keep splintering even now as this person or that discovers a way of practice that diverges from a tradition and suits a class of students better than the parent did.

One of the most interesting things I learned in this article is that the language of yoga, Sanskrit, has always served (like Latin in Christianity) to keep the knowledge from the masses. Makes me feel less guilty about not being able to keep those Sanskrit pose names in my memory.

I want everyone to have access to yoga, whatever their caste, race, or income level.

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