It’s simple to understand the reason John Friend highly recommends the book Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Yoga “for all serious students of yoga.” Because Mark Singleton’s thesis is an in-depth examination of the way modern hatha yoga or “posture practice” as he calls it, has evolved over time as well as after it was removed from India.
This is how many Indian yoga enthusiasts embraced the modern world: Rather than staying within the caves in the Himalayas They shifted into cities and accepted the new European fashions in culture. They particularly took to the more “esoteric styles of gymnastics” such as the important Swedish methods that were developed by Ling (1766-1839).
Singleton employs the term yoga as a homonym in order to clarify the primary purpose for his research. In other words, he argues that yoga’s word has many meanings, based on the person who is using it.
This is an important step for those who are interested in all things yoga to understand and acknowledge that your practice may vary from my type of yoga that I practice. In essence, there are many different paths to yoga.
In that sense, John Friend is absolutely right that this is the most thorough analysis of the history and culture of the yoga lineage, which is a part of T. Krishnamacharya’s hot and humid royal studio at Mysore to Bikram’s heated studio, which is artificially heated, in Hollywood.
The study of Singleton of “postural yoga” comprises the majority of this book. However, he devotes a few pages to describing the background of “traditional” yoga that spans beginning with Patanjali to Shaiva Tantrics who basing their practice on older yoga practices, created the hatha yoga tradition during the middle age and wrote the renowned yoga texts The Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Geranda Samhita.
It is during these tests that Singleton is able to enter water that is more hot than the typical Bikram sweat. Therefore, I am hesitant to give Singleton an A+ for his excellent dissertation.
Singleton states that his work is purely a research of contemporary posture yoga. If he’d stuck to this project on its own the publication would’ve been a success and received only praise. However, he makes the same mistake that so many contemporary hatha yoga gurus do.
Each yoga type is good according to these hatha yoga gurus. Homonyms in all forms are equally valid and legitimate, they say. However, there is one homonym which the hatha yogis who practice cultural relativity believe is an arrogant interpretation of yoga. Why? Because its adherents traditionalists, say it’s an even deeper, more traditional and spiritual form of yoga.
This sort of ranking, says Singleton is ineffective and wastes time.
Georg Feuerstein disagrees. He is undoubtedly the most well-known and prolific yoga teacher outside of India currently, he’s one of the traditionalists who believe that yoga should be a holistic practice involving body, mind and spirit practice. What is Feuerstein’s yoga homoonym differ from his non-integral modern posture yoga homonym given for us by Singleton?
In simple terms, the extraordinary essays on yoga are concentrated on the whole practices of yoga. In all the practices that yoga has developed over the last 5000+ years including postures pranayama (breathing exercises) and chakra (subtle energy centers) as well as Kundalini (spiritual energy) as well as bandshas (advanced bodies locks) as well as mantras, mudras (hand gestures) and so on. For more details kindly visit
Therefore, even though posture yoga concentrates on the body’s physical form, it is also about doing poses integral yoga encompasses both the physical and subtle body. It involves an array of physical practices, spiritual and mental that are rarely seen in modern yoga studios.
I wouldn’t have thought to discuss this issue if it weren’t because Singleton made reference to Feuerstein with a critical manner throughout his book’s “Concluding Reflections.” That is, it’s strategically essential for Singleton to criticize Feuerstein’s view of the yoga practice, which is an type of yoga that is pretty much in line with my personal.
Singleton says: “For some, such as best-selling yoga teacher Georg Feuerstein, the modern interest in postural yoga could be seen as a reversal of traditional yoga.” Then Singleton uses the words of Feuerstein who states that as yoga grew popular on Western shores, it “was slowly removed of its spiritual focus and transformed into fitness training.”
Singleton Then he correctly points that yoga has already initiated this change in fitness in India. The author also states that fitness yoga isn’t an alternative to the “spiritual” activity of yoga. However, that’s not Feuerstein’s idea: he states that the physical aspect of modern yoga is not the deep “spiritual direction.” That’s a significant distinction.
Then Singleton affirms that Feuerstein’s claim are not true “deeply spiritual orientated nature of contemporary women’s fitness and bodybuilding gymnastics instruction in the harmonial tradition.”
Although I believe I know what Feuerstein refers to as “deeply spiritual” It is unclear about what Singleton refers to when he says it, based on simply studying Yoga Body. This makes a logical comparison difficult. This is why Singleton make this point during his closing arguments in a book dedicated the physical poses? Sure, to draw attention to.
In light of the fact that he made an argument on it, I’d like to reply.
According to Feuerstein the purpose of yoga is to attain enlightenment (Samadhi) and not physical fitness, or spiritual fitness. Not a slimmer, better body, but a better chance of spiritual freedom.
Yoga is for him predominantly a spiritual practice that requires long postures, intense studying and deep meditation. Although postures are a fundamental part of yoga as a traditional practice, awakening is achievable even in the absence of yoga postures and is firmly proven by such saints including Ananda Mai Ma, Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and many others.
The larger question concerning the aim of yoga from the perspective of the traditional practice of yoga is how do you achieve enlightenment by the exercise of fitness yoga by itself? The answeris not simple. Not even likely. Even if you practice the type of yoga that Singleton says as “spiritual.”
As per integral yoga it is believed that the physical body constitutes the primary and the outermost part of our mind. The process of enlightenment is found in and over the fifth and most innermost layers of our subtle bodies or the kosa which is not located in the body. So, from the viewpoint, yoga as a fitness yoga does have its limitations due to the fact that it can’t by itself produce the desired outcomes.
Similar to that, Feuerstein and all us other traditionalists (oh that label!) are simply saying that if the intention is to achieve enlightenment, fitness yoga will not help. It’s possible to sit on your head and practice power yoga all day long however you won’t become enlightened.
So you could be blessed by not ever attempting the various yoga postures, but it is unlikely that you will be more enlightened if you just practice these poses on their own regardless of how “spiritual” the postures are.
These are the kind of rich perspectives and insights I did not get while studying Yoga Body. Therefore, his criticism of Feuerstein is a bit superficial and quick.
Singleton’s primary focus is on describing the physical practice and the history of modern yoga is thorough likely to be accurate and impressive. However, his claim of the “deeply spiritual” aspects of modern-day gymnastics and yoga fails to grasp a key aspect of yoga. That is, our bodies have a spirituality that is only ours from the space of our hearts deep within in the heart and out of it.
Yoga Body thus misses a vital point that we all are entitled to assert without having to be accused of being arrogant or naive the fact that yoga is an integrated practice where the physical body is viewed as the very first of an upward and all-encompassing layers of existence ranging from the mind to the body. It is also believed that it is the home of Spirit. In essence, the body is the place of Spirit.
Where does this yoga-based perspective come from? As per Feuerstein, “It underlies the whole Tantric tradition, including the hatha yoga schools as an branch of the Tantrism.”
Within Tantra it is evident that human beings are tri-dimensional being: mental, physical and spiritual. Therefore, the Tantrics have well-crafted and meticulously developed practices that cover the 3 levels.
From this view, it’s very satisfying to observe how more spiritual, all-encompassing practice of tantric and yogic like hatha yoga mantra breathing exercises, meditation Kirtan, ayurveda, and the study of scriptures are being integrated into the curriculum of new yoga centers.
Therefore, we must answer the question in text of this piece. Are we able to have an athletic body and a sacramental spirit while doing yoga? Absolutely, it is possible. Yoga isn’t either/or. Yoga is both yes and no. The more comprehensive our yoga practice is-that means the more spirituality is integrated into our postures-the greater the likelihood that these seemingly incompatible poles-the spirit and the body-will merge and unite. Unity was, in the end the aim of old Tantra.
I’ve got some positive news. I also have some negative news. Let’s start with the negative news. There’s been attempts to steal the yoga practice from our hands. Now, the best part is you can get back your practice. Many people refer to themselves as Yogis or yoginis however these people have sought to take the holy practice of yoga and transformed it into an unattainable and unauthentic practice. These are the people I refer to as Shmogis(ginis) or phony yoga gurus! A lot among these Shmogis have attempted to remove yoga from people by spreading misinformation about the practice. I’d like to see us take yoga back.
Yoga is more than four thousand years old and used by women, men and children from all over the world. Yoga is the weaving of body, mind, and soul. Why would it then be subject to strict formulations and mysterious rituals, or even amazing physical feats?
Yoga is a broad term that covers yoga postures, studying in sacred philosophical philosophies, mindful discipline and meditation, recognizing the wholeness of one, to mention just a few.I consider myself to be of the opinion that there are advantages of the general rules and ways to practice yoga. However, as you’ll see below certain of them have become myths that make yoga only accessible to those who follow certain ways and keep others from participating. We have to ask ourselves, what is the reason why certain people insist in presenting yoga as a sport that is only for the beautiful, young as well as athletic?
In 2000 I was mourning the sudden loss of my mother, who died from an uncommon cancer. I was also making the adjustment of shifting to New York to San Francisco. At the time I was in the midst of not having a permanent job or financial resources to support myself, and was battling other problems that contributed to my emotional, physical and spiritual devastation. I decided to start practicing yoga as a stress reduction method. I practiced on my own in my home because I didn’t have the funds to visit a yoga studio and I didn’t want to show my inner demons to the world. Gradually, I realized that yoga encompassed more than just physical postures.
A certain point in my life I was confused as I wasn’t able to grasp its philosophical or spiritual aspects thoroughly. I learned from studying books, watching video tutorials and other books the various methods of practice that be effective for me. I’m quite stubborn so I chose to develop my own yoga practice and modify it to suit my physical and financial constraints. It’s been over 10 years and I consider myself in the early stages of my journey into yoga as a vital element of my life.I have also discovered that yoga practiced in western cultures has taken a few tangential steps off from TRUTH.
I would like to stop others from feeling the same discouragement I felt in certain instances by dispelling the myths, and lies spread by the shmogis as well as the industries which have over-business-fied yoga. Many highly motivated practitioners adhere to these myths and then perpetuate them, further aggravating the problem. There are many different motives and reasons to learn more about yoga, and each individual’s journey is different. However, if one or more of the following myths discouraged you in the past, maybe you’re able to reconsider where you belong within the yoga world.
I believe in exchange of energy and compensation for all goods and services. But , it is important to do yoga even if you cannot pay for it. Some studios permit you to pay whatever you want to. So long as you offer something that is worthy and within your budget, you are able to access their studio for yoga. This arrangement is certainly better than paying exorbitant rates. Also, it is possible to be a solo practitioner. You can do your own practice with a variety of resources readily available, some of which are listed below. If your circumstances change, you are able to visit a studio that is charged
The mysterious and mysterious practices of some people or groups attempt to hide yoga with mysterious rituals and jargon . This is a source of fear for many people who are interested in it. Yoga offers a variety of benefits, both physical as well as spiritual. As with everything else that has so many possibilities that it is open to all people at any degree. It is as easy as finding a spot to sit for five minutes each day to relax or as intricate as you like. It’s all about you and over any other person.
You need to be thin and flexible. Yoga can be performed by anyone regardless of age, size and physical health. Yoga is not just physical postures. Even when you do specific hand gestures, known as mudras, or even simple breathing exercises it is essentially practicing yoga.
Inspiring you to practice yoga in a specific way. There are a variety of yoga postures and breathing methods, meditation levels and philosophical depths that could be explored through yoga. However, yoga is about life and all it is about is balance, yoking, and moving at your own speed. Yoga practices that are different today focus on different aspects. Certain focus on achieving an enlightenment state, another on gaining control of one’s body and mind, while others focus are focused on love and kindness and other areas of focus. It is therefore important to determine what you need balance within your life and decide which kind of yoga you should begin exploring.
The benefits of group yoga are superior to individual practice Why is it that group yoga is emphasized? You can join an organized group if you decide to, but not because it’s essential or superior to doing it by yourself. It is important that you know how to perform certain postures correctly and be aware of the history and philosophy. Many who do yoga in groups find it beneficial, helpful, and extremely positive experience. But group yoga is however it’s not the only way to do yoga.
Gender-izing yoga – A myth is created to suggest that yoga is primarily reserved for females. Through the use of predominantly female characters in magazines, the media and advertisements this myth has been perpetuated. Yoga is used for thousands of years by women, men, and even children of all age groups. Many men shy away from yoga, feeling embarrassed to even think about doing it. They may also feel uncomfortable attending classes that are dominated by women. However, that’s not fair to any person. Yoga is for everyone, and everyone are able to benefit from it.
One glance at any yoga-related material can quickly transport the user to a world in which he is surrounded by special advertisements of yoga-specific apparel jewelry, expensive props and philosophies, clubs and retreats, travel destinations, and even events. However, this is a waste of money and monetizes the practice of yoga as a religion. A lot devices “things” such as devices, gadgets and the like have advantages and a their place, but the price and the placement of them is certainly suspect.
It is recommended that yoga be performed by an guru. A guru is a person who has been through the right of passage or the right of passage, on the particular way of life. Someone who has attained an area of wisdom and has the capacity to guide others not experienced and learners into the same path of learning and growth. But is it a requirement? Most likely it isn’t. A guru’s status is private and only you know when and if you’d like one.
Exotic retreats that are treated as requirements-Retreats are lovely and a nice way to get centered, relaxed, and rejuvenated. This isn’t a requirement to attain spiritual awakening. This is why it’s not a legitimate or fair method to market a expensive luxury travel package,
The use of fancy names for poses and philosophies in Sanskrit. Sometimes individuals use fancy terms, names and theories to discourage the common person from taking yoga or exploring its deeper philosophies. Thanks to the advancement of technology as well as the traditional book store or library can translate the majority of terms by yourself. The pronunciation of words has also become an enormous topic. Make sure to check the original Sanskrit whenever possible, or simply call it by its translation name. For instance, don’t be concerned about calling Tadasana, but remember that it’s also known as Mountain Pose. As time passes, it all blends together, just like every other language.
With advanced poses being the best way to become a truly skilled practitioner. reality is that one needs to push the boundaries of one’s body. Many believe that, and I am with them in the notion that it’s healthy to push yourself beyond what we think to be the best of our models. So long as we’re attentive and pay attention to what our body desires and needs, you’ll be practicing yoga.
Making the process more complicated by the naming of different types of yoga and the gurus that are associated each each.-There is a vast list of different kinds of yoga that you can do. It’s a bit confusing. It’s both fascinating and helpful to understand the roots of yoga, the branches, the philosophy behind it, individuals that are influential within the yoga community and more. So long as you don’t allow this to determine whether you’ll take up yoga or turn unpopular once you’ve learned an approach that’s best for you. It’s all about your objectives at any point in your journey into yoga.