Today, ‘Yoga’ is popping up everywhere with a rich variety: Hot yoga, Power yoga, Kundalini yoga, Hatha yoga, Mindfulness and what not. Practices from within the gut of the East-basically India and Tibet, are gaining the trust of Westerners with a completely different form. Unlike east whose practices are related to spiritually connection, yoga for westerners is for emotional and mental salvation.
With the practice of yoga basically sweeping the western world under its rigid feet, it’s intriguing to wonder just how yoga gained popularity over the west. To find out how yoga gained an audience of over 20 million in the western world, we must trace back the history of its conception and modern adaptation.
Travel, Travel, and Travel
The western culture talks very less about Yogic practices as they don’t have a proper base to begin the subject. But when Indians traveled to the western world during the 19th century, they properly managed to spread their spiritual practices. Within the mid 19th century, people from the west also traveled to east in order to study their civilization. They made multiple research and study before returning to the west and shared their experience.
The Indian Yogi, born Narendranath Datta (Vivekananda) alighted in Chicago in 1893 in Ochre robes and Turban after a daunting two-month trek from Bombay. The young mystic made an electrifying appearance as one of the maiden “ambassador of yoga” to the West.
Yoga Was Introduced At The Right Time
Filmmakers of AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda, talked about line of Himalayan masters planned for years in advance to send Paramahansa Yogananda to the West in order to introduce ‘Kriya Yoga’. In 1920, Yogananda came to Boston talking about “The Science of Religion.”
It was the exact time when people in the West were just exploring quantum physics – a language to understand the energy and consciousness, a prime aspect of yoga. As a result, these two ideas complemented one another and thus played a big role to awaken the west.
Its Progressive Nature
The practices in Yoga are flexible and changes as per the purpose by the master. Anyone can do yoga, a child, an elderly, a sick/unhealthy or even someone who is fit, all due to its progressive nature. Hence it is popular and easily adopted into peoples life.
The Answer For Life, Its Purpose and Spiritual Questions
Yoga is identified more with a deeper essence and help people look at how they could serve others around them. While most of the people in the west are in the race for money and prosperity, they have a little time to think about themselves. Eventually, when many people practicing yoga shared their amazing experiences and talked about being closer to themselves, it made many other willing to discover themselves. The idea to find “the real person inside me” or “to know the one-self” made the mass attracted to yoga initially.
The Recognition By Science
Dr. Goel, a Harvard- and MIT-trained physicist-physician, described yoga as being able to open a person’s individual (narrow) consciousness to a universal (larger) field of consciousness. She talked about the positive benefits of these medication practices for our physical, mental and emotional well-being. When not just Hindu saint and Buddhist monks, but many professors and graduates talked about yoga, thus, more people started to be curious and believe in yoga.
Commercialization of Yoga
Yoga in the west wasn’t always a Smooth Transition. While many people still have grave issues with the idea of the commercialization of yoga, its already a 27 billion dollar industry in America alone. Today, yoga teachers, yoga centers and yoga studios can be found at almost every major city and with multiple options.
Initially yoga couldn’t be a thing for every ordinary working individual due to its lack of availability and expenses, its huge commercialization has made it possible for almost anyone. Also, within the mobile applications and website, yoga’s concept has reached each individual with easy day to day practices.
The ‘Promising-Effectiveness’ of Yoga
Stories such as, NBC war correspondent who healed himself from a broken back through yoga; people recovering from alcohol addiction and many more has fascinated everyone. Such numerous stories of yoga helping people heal from physical, mental and emotional ailments have made already made a deep positive impression for everyone.
Naturally, when tested, ‘Yoga never fails to delivery’. Since the practices in Yoga is totally natural, anyone who does it will definitely feel the positive changes it delivers. As a result, anyone who authentically practice yoga, gets the desired result and is bond to love it.
In the west, society is changing from manual labor to, the service industry. This age puts us in front of computers that apparently save our time but makes us even busier. In this fast-paced society finding ourselves is hard. And in order to get peace of mind in a fast-paced world, mediation/Yoga has become the key.