A form that originated purely for spiritual and bodily fitness purposes, has now evolved into several new forms including alternative healing, competitive yoga, and to more recently, being called a sport. This short photo essay traces its journey.

 

Patanjali Yoga was the first structural presentation of yogic principles.
Patanjali Yoga was the first structural presentation of yogic principles.

The sage, after whom the form is named after, lived around the second century BCE and also wrote significant works on Ayurveda (the ancient Indian system of medicine) and Sanskrit grammar.

 

Chakra Healing, which focuses on energy points within the body, is catalytic to yoga.
There are 7 main energy centers in the body, known as chakras.

Chakra Healing, focuses on energy points within the body, is catalytic to yoga. Each chakra is located throughout our body. It maps to a specific body ailment and physical dysfunctions; each energy center also houses our mental and emotional strengths.

Buddha Body Yoga makes those who think they are bulky and immobile a little more flexible.
Buddha Body Yoga makes those who think they are bulky and immobile a little more flexible. Picture Courtesy :  http://www.buddhabodyyoganyc.com/

Buddha Body Yoga was founded by Michael Hayes, who has more than 20 years experience teaching and has studied extensively in the following tradition. He says, we help people find where their body parts are: hips, pelvic bone, coccyx, ribs, shoulders, feet and, most important, lungs and breath.

 

The Yoga Asana Championships in the United States is exemplary of copetitive yoga.
The Yoga Asana Championships in the United States is exemplary of competitive yoga. Picture Courtesy: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

While many still believe that yoga cannot be branded as a competitive sport, however, USA Yoga is a non-profit organization formed for the purpose of developing and promoting Yoga Asana (yoga postures) as a sport.

Modern Integrations such as Crystal Healing enhance the vibrational energy of yogic practice
Modern Integrations such as Crystal Healing enhance the vibrational energy of yogic practice.

Thus, it’s clear that yoga is not just a sport, or just a collection of principles and frameworks. It is a synthesis of several interlinked practices that enable it to garner its own distinction in the episteme of modern culture.

 

  • Shantanu Tilak

    Former Editor at GoUNESCO. Currently studying Educational Psychology at the Ohio State University. I'll be gone from February, please divert your queries to ajay@gounesco.com ! New contributors will be enlisted for the next round to add to our roster of experts and students of culture.

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