Yoga, from India to Indiana
Historians look back at old publications, not
for face value of its content, but as artifacts
that tell the story of human civilization. According to popular belief, the origin of yoga
was beginning in the Indus Valley, 5,000 or
more years ago, before what we call Hinduism
or Buddhism existed. The Indus Valley held a
civilization occupying present-day Pakistan,
south Afghanistan and Northwest India. The
Vedic texts were written down 3,500 years
ago, followed by The Upanishads about 2,500
years back, and over 1,500 years ago Patañjali’s
Yoga Sutras were complete.
For thousands of years, yoga evolved and interwove with the vast array of religious and
secular traditions throughout India. During
the two centuries of India’s British occupation, western Judeo-Christian scholars defined what came to be known as the religion
“Hinduism” (although it is more diverse than
all the branches of Christianity combined).
They also acculturated “yoga” from the Brahmin (priestly) caste’s emphasis on the ancient
texts, and this understanding has directed
yoga’s global path ever since.
Beginning about 120 years ago, yoga migrated
to the West through icons such as Swami Vivekananda, Paramahansa Yogananda, and the
“grandfather of American yoga,” Sri Krishnamacharya. The latter's students included
B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, T.K.V. Desikachar, and the “mother of western yoga,”
Indra Devi, who introduced Hollywood and
INDIANA & YOGA MAGAZINE ISSUE I
1950s American housewives to the maledominated world of yoga. Almost all yoga lineages in the United States are traceable or influenced by these 20th century teachers. Some
of Indiana’s first yoga teachers were their direct students in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Today yoga is growing in Indiana in a rich
blend of Eastern and Western history. This is
more than a mere fad. Indiana & Yoga Magazine does not wish to judge or promote one
yogic culture, system, school, lineage, philosophy, tradition, studio or even an individual
yogi as better than another. We are here as
observers and recorders of today’s local yoga
community. We are also proponents of the
health benefits yoga and mindfulness have on
the mind, body and spirit of the individual,
and vicariously, the society in which that individual lives, and even on the Earth itself.
This magazine is not a new Vedic text, nor
do we extol a list of virtues to usurp anyone’s
personal belief system. The term yoga originates from the word “yoke,” to join together.
It means “union” and helps unite people from
multiple cultures and religions. Yoga is diverse
and does not discriminate. Yoga, over the last
50 years, has become interwoven with Indiana
culture, and its effects are good for Indiana.
We strive for Indiana & Yoga Magazine to tell
the best story of 21st century Indiana and our
new yoga-inspired traditions. Historians will
be the judge.
- Ryan Baggett