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4 CULTURAL CORNERSTONES OF YOGA
Bhagavad Gita
•Karma yoga
•Jñana yoga
•Bhakti yoga

Tantra Yoga
Tantra
 The Universe is a manifestation of divine energy.
 Goal: to ritually appropriate that energy, by using







“prana” which flows through the universe to attain
purposeful goals.
“mystical’ experience is considered essential
Guru: necessary as a guide in tantric study & practice
Yoga: (including breathwork) is employed to subject
the body to control of the will.
Yoga is “suppression with awareness,” tantra is
“indulgence with awareness” (Osho)
Robert Svoboda
 “…the ancient Rishis (seers) of India who developed

the “science of life” organized their wisdom into three
bodies of knowledge: …Ayurveda is most concerned
with the physical basis of life, concentrating on its
harmony of mind & spirit. Yoga controls the body and
mind to enable them to harmonize with the spirit, and
Tantra seeks to use the mind to balance the demands
of the body & spirit
Philosophical Underpinning
 KARMA (Action/Reaction(fala))


SAMSARA (Reincarnation Cycle)


MOSHKA (Liberation)

Karma (actions) produce Fala (fruit), these accumulate to create
Vasanas (habits/desires), and these habits become Samskaras (deep
impressions) that shape our character. This ego rooted character is
played out in the next life in some form.
Moshka, is liberation from this cycle…”death” (and union with the divine)
and at the same time an escape from the normal death which results in
continued distance from divine energy.
MYSTICISM
The pursuit of communion with, identity with, or
conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity,
spiritual truth, or God through direct experience,
intuition, instinct or insight.
The practices in mysticism nurture this growing
awareness
Present in many different religious traditions:
 Judaism: kabbalah
 Islam: Sufism
 Hiduism & Buddhism: Love of “god”, Liberation
 Christianity: “seeing the light”
Sufi Mystic in “Ecstacy”
TIMELINE (deMichaelis)
 1750 rise of orientalism and interest in the EAST
 1830s rise of resistance to "Anglicization" of India among Indian








intelligencia
1850s oriental religions as alternatives rather than simply objects of study
1893-1896 (1893) Chicago Parliament of Religions. Swami Vivekananda
rises to popularity as icon of spirituality in India, America and Europe.
(1896) "Raja Yoga". Seminal text of modern yoga.
1890s-1920s New Age Religion emerges, along with distinctive TYPES of
yoga
1915-1949 newly independent India begins to promote indigenous arts and
culture- yoga is part of this REVIVAL. World wars slow down progress
elsewhere.
1950s & 1960s practice of modern yoga achieves widespread popularity
even though it is believed eccentric.
1990-present modern yoga gains increasing popularity and development
in the east and the west along with modern applications of yoga practice.
ORIENTALISM
 Since the 19th century, "orientalist" has been the traditional term for






a scholar of Oriental studies
During the 20th century the term began to be used in a different way.
Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said used the term to describe a
“…pervasive Western tradition, both academic and artistic, of
prejudiced outsider interpretations of the East, shaped by the
attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.”
Said was critical of both this scholarly tradition and of some modern
scholars.
In contrast, some modern scholars have used "Orientalism" to refer to
writers of the Imperialist era who had pro-Eastern attitudes.
More recently, the term is also used in the meaning of "stereotyping of
Eastern Culture", both by advocates and academics.

EAST=SPIRITUAL
WEST=MATERIAL
ESOTERICISM
 Historically related religious movements (Astrology,

Alchemy, Christian mysticism, , Theosophy,
Illuminism, Mesmerism, magic, Spiritualism…).
 Common Traits:





“Inwardness”
Mystery of the universe
Correspondences (spiritual & material)
Occultism (secrecy)

 Called “esoteric traditions”
ALCHEMY
 Practice focused on the attempt to change base metals

into gold (or any one substance to another).
 Based on the theory of “transmutation”
 Involves the change of the mind & spirit of the
practitioner as well as the substances manipulated
 Inner meaning of alchemical work is the “spiritual
path” (Carl Jung). Jung saw Alchemy as the “Yoga of
the West”.
GNOSTICISM
 Gnostics believe in three planes of experience:




“demiurge”-the pure unknown (Prakriti?)
The material world of Coitus & Comfort (gunas?)
Pure spiritual realm of ascention (purusha?)

 Form of mysticism
 All are originated from the “godhead” although this

fact is hidden. If revealed, then one becomes a knower.
 Quest: to “know” –only available to some:



Pneumatics (psychics)--yes
Hylics (somatics)—no, incapable of perceiving a higher
reality, and thereby, liberation
SAMKHYA PHILOSOPHY
METAPHYSICS
 A branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the

fundamental nature of being and the world
Kabbalah Map of Universe
Timeline & Texts
 Indus Valley evidence at Mohenjo-Daro? 4000 bp
 Vedic Brahmins practice of “Tapas” (austerities)?
 Katha ,Svetasvatara & maitri Upanishads -(3rd c BCE)
 Pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, tarka, samadhi

 Mystical teachings (upa=‘near’, ni=‘down’, shad=‘sit’)

 Bhagavad Gita (karma, jnana, bhakti) 325 CE?
 Yoga sutras of Patanjali 250 CE?
 Yama, niyama, asana, prnayama, pratyahara, dhrana, dhyana, samadhi

 Hatha Yoga (13th-18thc)- “Forceful Yoga”
Hatha Yoga
 Associated with “Naths”-defied varna & caste
 Union of ‘sun’ & ‘moon’
 Texts: Goroka Samita, Shiva Samita, Hatha Yoga

Pradipika, Gheranda Samita, Joga Pradipika
 Concerned with “transmutation of the body” (escape
mortal decay)
 Shat karman (6)-purifications
 Asana: HYP (15), GhS (32), SS (84, but describes 4)
 Pranayama is MAINSTAY= cleanising
 Nadis (72,000?), Bhandas (locks), mudras (seals)
 Raise kundalini energy, joining “shiva” & “shakti”
Yogis & Colonial British Rule
 Indians & Europeans defined yogis by perverse sexuality, black

magic & alimentary impurity & outlandish austerities
 Admired the RATIONAL, PHILOSOPHICAL &
CONTEMPLATIVE
 Compared them to occultists in Europe:
 “naked & covered in ashes with long matted hair, twisted nails,

sitting under tress engaging in painful austerities “vegitative rather
than rational beings…who are seduced by a lief of lazy vagrancy by
their own vanity” (318)
 “vagabonds & pests of the nation they live in” (John Fryer)
 15th-19th c: organized bands of militarized yogis control trade routes,
challenging East India Company control. Threatened economy
Naked Yogi-Degenerate
‘Shaiva’ vs ‘Vaisnava’ Yoga Practice






Vaisnava mercantile & commercial elites were favored
Saiva were wandering ‘devotional’ yogis (bhakti)
Illegal to be naked & carry a weapon
Bhaktis transformed to “buskers”-yoga showmen
Despised by orthodox Hindus, casteless, ritually impure,
savage & backward= pariah of colonial India
 VASU (BASU) & hatha yogin
 1895 “Sacred Book of the Hindus”
 “those hideous specimens of humanity who parade through

our streets bedaubed with dirt & ashes, frightening the
children and extorting money from timid & good natured
folk…” (Vasu)
 Modern yogi should be (rather) SCIENTIFIC (medical?)
Vasu the Scientist & Philosopher
Popular Portrayals of Yogin
 The Performing Yogi
 Bava Lachman Das (1897) 48 postures as part of a
sideshow at London Aquarium
 “posture master” in royal courts in Europe
 Yoga Magician: wondrous powers gotten through yoga



Fortune telling, healing, miracle workers
Victor Dane (white Yogi-1933) –bullets, poison, mesmeric
powers, also an ardent physical culturalist…MODERN
FITNESS (1934)
Yogi Showmen & Performers
Vivekananda: Cleaning Up Yoga
 Raja Yoga (1896): try to uncouple yoga from its

negative associations and make it rational, scientific &
philosophical
 Rejects physical practice: too difficult and do not lead
to spiritual growth
 Real work of mind is “Raja Yoga” (YSP) not “Hatha
Yoga”
 Defined yoga as a RELIGION… some things do not in
the Western mind (magic)
Max Muller & Blavatsky
 Muller: (scholar)
 Hatha yoga is a tarnish of West’s view of Indian religion
 Indian thought is philosophically sophisticated
 Yoga has “degenerated” in modern times to its most
PRACTICAL and least PHILOSOPHICAL (wrong)
 Blavatsky: (Theosophy Founder)
 Against image of common ignorant sorcerer
 Looked to India (East) for spiritual guidance
 Against exercising the body (exercise the mind)
Yogi Philosophers
International Physical Culture
Movement 1890’s-1950s…
 Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture (1950)
 Independence & national pride entail that “…we develop our








youthful Indians physically as well as mentally, morally &
religiously.
Reaction against COLONIAL EMASCULATION
Modern Olympic & Raja Yoga (1896)
(1893) first ever BODYBUILDING display
One cannot afford a weak constitution in the industrial world
(survival of the fittest)
(1857) “Muscular Christianity” (YMCA & Salvation Army &
public schools)
Eugenics Movement: improve collective national body
 Inherited health
 Anti-intellectual
Physical Culture
•The German Turnverein promoted a system of what

became known as "heavy gymnastics", meaning
strenuous exercises performed with the use of
elaborate equipment such as pommel horses, parallel
bars and climbing structures. The Turnverein
philosophy combined physical training with
intellectual pursuits and with a strong emphasis upon
German culture.
Nationalism & Physical Culture
Physical Culture Goes to India
 The "Swedish System" founded by Per Henrik Ling promoted

"light gymnastics", employing little, if any apparatus and
focusing on calisthenics, breathing and stretching
exercises as well as massage. (1766-1839)
-McClaren Method (British Schools) to Colonial India
-Harmonial Gymnastics (Stebbins) in USA
-Movement Cure (Tissot)-medical gymnastics- Europe
At the turn of the 20th century, bodybuilder and showman
Eugen Sandow's system, based upon weight lifting, enjoyed
considerable international popularity, while Edmond Desbonnet
and George Hebert popularized their own systems within France
and French-speaking countries. Bernarr Macfadden's system
became especially popular within the USA, via the promotion
carried out through his publishing empire.
Indian Physical Culture
Sandow’s Guide to Physical Culture
American Physical Culturalists
Modern Examples: Body Tribe

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History pp combined

  • 1. 4 CULTURAL CORNERSTONES OF YOGA Bhagavad Gita •Karma yoga •Jñana yoga •Bhakti yoga Tantra Yoga
  • 2. Tantra  The Universe is a manifestation of divine energy.  Goal: to ritually appropriate that energy, by using     “prana” which flows through the universe to attain purposeful goals. “mystical’ experience is considered essential Guru: necessary as a guide in tantric study & practice Yoga: (including breathwork) is employed to subject the body to control of the will. Yoga is “suppression with awareness,” tantra is “indulgence with awareness” (Osho)
  • 3. Robert Svoboda  “…the ancient Rishis (seers) of India who developed the “science of life” organized their wisdom into three bodies of knowledge: …Ayurveda is most concerned with the physical basis of life, concentrating on its harmony of mind & spirit. Yoga controls the body and mind to enable them to harmonize with the spirit, and Tantra seeks to use the mind to balance the demands of the body & spirit
  • 4. Philosophical Underpinning  KARMA (Action/Reaction(fala))  SAMSARA (Reincarnation Cycle)  MOSHKA (Liberation) Karma (actions) produce Fala (fruit), these accumulate to create Vasanas (habits/desires), and these habits become Samskaras (deep impressions) that shape our character. This ego rooted character is played out in the next life in some form. Moshka, is liberation from this cycle…”death” (and union with the divine) and at the same time an escape from the normal death which results in continued distance from divine energy.
  • 5. MYSTICISM The pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. The practices in mysticism nurture this growing awareness Present in many different religious traditions:  Judaism: kabbalah  Islam: Sufism  Hiduism & Buddhism: Love of “god”, Liberation  Christianity: “seeing the light”
  • 6. Sufi Mystic in “Ecstacy”
  • 7. TIMELINE (deMichaelis)  1750 rise of orientalism and interest in the EAST  1830s rise of resistance to "Anglicization" of India among Indian       intelligencia 1850s oriental religions as alternatives rather than simply objects of study 1893-1896 (1893) Chicago Parliament of Religions. Swami Vivekananda rises to popularity as icon of spirituality in India, America and Europe. (1896) "Raja Yoga". Seminal text of modern yoga. 1890s-1920s New Age Religion emerges, along with distinctive TYPES of yoga 1915-1949 newly independent India begins to promote indigenous arts and culture- yoga is part of this REVIVAL. World wars slow down progress elsewhere. 1950s & 1960s practice of modern yoga achieves widespread popularity even though it is believed eccentric. 1990-present modern yoga gains increasing popularity and development in the east and the west along with modern applications of yoga practice.
  • 8. ORIENTALISM  Since the 19th century, "orientalist" has been the traditional term for     a scholar of Oriental studies During the 20th century the term began to be used in a different way. Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said used the term to describe a “…pervasive Western tradition, both academic and artistic, of prejudiced outsider interpretations of the East, shaped by the attitudes of European imperialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.” Said was critical of both this scholarly tradition and of some modern scholars. In contrast, some modern scholars have used "Orientalism" to refer to writers of the Imperialist era who had pro-Eastern attitudes. More recently, the term is also used in the meaning of "stereotyping of Eastern Culture", both by advocates and academics. EAST=SPIRITUAL WEST=MATERIAL
  • 9. ESOTERICISM  Historically related religious movements (Astrology, Alchemy, Christian mysticism, , Theosophy, Illuminism, Mesmerism, magic, Spiritualism…).  Common Traits:     “Inwardness” Mystery of the universe Correspondences (spiritual & material) Occultism (secrecy)  Called “esoteric traditions”
  • 10. ALCHEMY  Practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold (or any one substance to another).  Based on the theory of “transmutation”  Involves the change of the mind & spirit of the practitioner as well as the substances manipulated  Inner meaning of alchemical work is the “spiritual path” (Carl Jung). Jung saw Alchemy as the “Yoga of the West”.
  • 11. GNOSTICISM  Gnostics believe in three planes of experience:    “demiurge”-the pure unknown (Prakriti?) The material world of Coitus & Comfort (gunas?) Pure spiritual realm of ascention (purusha?)  Form of mysticism  All are originated from the “godhead” although this fact is hidden. If revealed, then one becomes a knower.  Quest: to “know” –only available to some:   Pneumatics (psychics)--yes Hylics (somatics)—no, incapable of perceiving a higher reality, and thereby, liberation
  • 13. METAPHYSICS  A branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world
  • 14. Kabbalah Map of Universe
  • 15. Timeline & Texts  Indus Valley evidence at Mohenjo-Daro? 4000 bp  Vedic Brahmins practice of “Tapas” (austerities)?  Katha ,Svetasvatara & maitri Upanishads -(3rd c BCE)  Pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana, dharana, tarka, samadhi  Mystical teachings (upa=‘near’, ni=‘down’, shad=‘sit’)  Bhagavad Gita (karma, jnana, bhakti) 325 CE?  Yoga sutras of Patanjali 250 CE?  Yama, niyama, asana, prnayama, pratyahara, dhrana, dhyana, samadhi  Hatha Yoga (13th-18thc)- “Forceful Yoga”
  • 16. Hatha Yoga  Associated with “Naths”-defied varna & caste  Union of ‘sun’ & ‘moon’  Texts: Goroka Samita, Shiva Samita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samita, Joga Pradipika  Concerned with “transmutation of the body” (escape mortal decay)  Shat karman (6)-purifications  Asana: HYP (15), GhS (32), SS (84, but describes 4)  Pranayama is MAINSTAY= cleanising  Nadis (72,000?), Bhandas (locks), mudras (seals)  Raise kundalini energy, joining “shiva” & “shakti”
  • 17. Yogis & Colonial British Rule  Indians & Europeans defined yogis by perverse sexuality, black magic & alimentary impurity & outlandish austerities  Admired the RATIONAL, PHILOSOPHICAL & CONTEMPLATIVE  Compared them to occultists in Europe:  “naked & covered in ashes with long matted hair, twisted nails, sitting under tress engaging in painful austerities “vegitative rather than rational beings…who are seduced by a lief of lazy vagrancy by their own vanity” (318)  “vagabonds & pests of the nation they live in” (John Fryer)  15th-19th c: organized bands of militarized yogis control trade routes, challenging East India Company control. Threatened economy
  • 19. ‘Shaiva’ vs ‘Vaisnava’ Yoga Practice      Vaisnava mercantile & commercial elites were favored Saiva were wandering ‘devotional’ yogis (bhakti) Illegal to be naked & carry a weapon Bhaktis transformed to “buskers”-yoga showmen Despised by orthodox Hindus, casteless, ritually impure, savage & backward= pariah of colonial India  VASU (BASU) & hatha yogin  1895 “Sacred Book of the Hindus”  “those hideous specimens of humanity who parade through our streets bedaubed with dirt & ashes, frightening the children and extorting money from timid & good natured folk…” (Vasu)  Modern yogi should be (rather) SCIENTIFIC (medical?)
  • 20. Vasu the Scientist & Philosopher
  • 21. Popular Portrayals of Yogin  The Performing Yogi  Bava Lachman Das (1897) 48 postures as part of a sideshow at London Aquarium  “posture master” in royal courts in Europe  Yoga Magician: wondrous powers gotten through yoga   Fortune telling, healing, miracle workers Victor Dane (white Yogi-1933) –bullets, poison, mesmeric powers, also an ardent physical culturalist…MODERN FITNESS (1934)
  • 22. Yogi Showmen & Performers
  • 23. Vivekananda: Cleaning Up Yoga  Raja Yoga (1896): try to uncouple yoga from its negative associations and make it rational, scientific & philosophical  Rejects physical practice: too difficult and do not lead to spiritual growth  Real work of mind is “Raja Yoga” (YSP) not “Hatha Yoga”  Defined yoga as a RELIGION… some things do not in the Western mind (magic)
  • 24. Max Muller & Blavatsky  Muller: (scholar)  Hatha yoga is a tarnish of West’s view of Indian religion  Indian thought is philosophically sophisticated  Yoga has “degenerated” in modern times to its most PRACTICAL and least PHILOSOPHICAL (wrong)  Blavatsky: (Theosophy Founder)  Against image of common ignorant sorcerer  Looked to India (East) for spiritual guidance  Against exercising the body (exercise the mind)
  • 26. International Physical Culture Movement 1890’s-1950s…  Encyclopedia of Indian Physical Culture (1950)  Independence & national pride entail that “…we develop our       youthful Indians physically as well as mentally, morally & religiously. Reaction against COLONIAL EMASCULATION Modern Olympic & Raja Yoga (1896) (1893) first ever BODYBUILDING display One cannot afford a weak constitution in the industrial world (survival of the fittest) (1857) “Muscular Christianity” (YMCA & Salvation Army & public schools) Eugenics Movement: improve collective national body  Inherited health  Anti-intellectual
  • 28. •The German Turnverein promoted a system of what became known as "heavy gymnastics", meaning strenuous exercises performed with the use of elaborate equipment such as pommel horses, parallel bars and climbing structures. The Turnverein philosophy combined physical training with intellectual pursuits and with a strong emphasis upon German culture.
  • 30. Physical Culture Goes to India  The "Swedish System" founded by Per Henrik Ling promoted "light gymnastics", employing little, if any apparatus and focusing on calisthenics, breathing and stretching exercises as well as massage. (1766-1839) -McClaren Method (British Schools) to Colonial India -Harmonial Gymnastics (Stebbins) in USA -Movement Cure (Tissot)-medical gymnastics- Europe At the turn of the 20th century, bodybuilder and showman Eugen Sandow's system, based upon weight lifting, enjoyed considerable international popularity, while Edmond Desbonnet and George Hebert popularized their own systems within France and French-speaking countries. Bernarr Macfadden's system became especially popular within the USA, via the promotion carried out through his publishing empire.
  • 32. Sandow’s Guide to Physical Culture