|[ Excerpt from The Science of Yoga, page 157 ]
Students of yoga, and in particular, Western students, will no doubt be confronted with many practices using the name of yoga beside the classical branches I've already outlined ... so some clarity is appropriate here.
Due to the rapid expansion in awareness of yoga around the world in recent decades, some schools have emerged with their own independent thoughts on the practice of yoga. We now see practices such as 'Christian yoga', 'Tibetan yoga', 'Taoist yoga' or 'Buddhist yoga' and the like.
These systems may in some way mimic many of the practices of the classical Indian science of yoga, but for the most part, they are cultural and/or religious interpretations of the external, physical practices of yoga that don’t necessarily embracing the yogic worldview or reflect an understanding of the broad scope of the spiritual science of yoga.
Many yogis have also invented their own systems or styles and branded them, often with the stamp of their own name. We see 'Sivananda yoga' from Rishikesh, the 'Integral yoga' of Sri Aurobindo, and the more contemporary styles like 'Iyengar yoga' (BKS Iyengar) and the 'Mysore ashtanga of Pattabhi Jois'.
These and many others have grown into hefty institutions with extreme influence over the perception of yoga around the globe today. But many of these
'personal yoga systems' exhibit only partial aspects of the grander science of yoga, often in a watered-down, materialistic fashion, to make them more easily digestible to the masses.
Often, names of certain yogic practices have been changed, and in many cases, entirely new names have been invented, leading to a gross misuse of many of the Sanskrit terms in yoga as well as a great deal of misunderstanding about certain practices between both the teachers and students of these various systems.
Many of these yogis and teachers may themselves have not foreseen the destructive trend to follow from their students who might misunderstand some teachings and who might lack the deeper understanding of the scope of the yogic system that their originators may have possessed.
The results, nonetheless, have often been less than helpful to the modern-day image of yoga. Increasing ignorance about yoga has lead to this 'personality cult' ideal taking on troubling proportions today, with all manner of ambitious opportunists trying to make a name for themselves at the expense of yoga.
I would caution you to bear all of this in mind, as you will no doubt encounter many who speak with great confidence but with little understanding about yoga, whom may dissuade, challenge and perhaps even confuse you.
By the time that you finish this yoga training program, however, you will have the necessary foundation and experience to discern for yourself the legitimate from the suspect...
NOTE: This yoga article is an excerpt from The Science of Yoga, an online yoga training program with streaming yoga videos and 600 pages of step-by-step yoga instruction.
"The Science of Yoga is a course worthy of
leather binding and an honored place in the
finest libraries in the world
... It is indeed a masterful work."
Dr. John Michael Christian
Learn More About
The Science of Yoga Course