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The Path of Modern Yoga


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Karl Baier, Ph.D.


Part I
Divesting Yoga of the Sacred
Yogic Physical Culture and Health Cure

1 Shri Yogendra
Rejecting the Role of Yoga Guru

2 Shri Yogendra
Creating the Profession of Yoga Teacher: The Yoga Class

3 Shri Yogendra
Making Yoga into Calisthenics

4 Shri Yogendra
Taking Practical Yoga to the New World: Hatha Yoga in America

5 Shri Yogendra
Making Yoga Gentle

6 Swami Kuvalayananda
Claiming Yoga Is Science

7 Swami Kuvalayananda
Promoting Yoga as Health Cure: A Yoga Journal and Yoga Institute

8 Swami Kuvalayananda
Investigating the Yogic Phenomena: Yoga Research

9 Swami Kuvalayananda
Standing Up Straight: Yoga and Good Posture

10 Swami Kuvalayananda
Youthifying the Spine: Yoga and Chiropractic

11 K. V. Iyer
Mixing Bodybuilding and Yoga

12 S. Sundaram
Publishing a Yoga Manual

13 S. Sundaram
Meditating on the Body in Yoga

Part II
Making Yoga Dynamic
The Sun Salutations as Yogic Exercise

14 Bhavanarao Pant Pratinidhi
Reviving Surya Namaskar

15 Bhavanarao Pant Pratinidhi
Promoting Surya Namaskar as Health Cure and Strengthening Exercise

16 Bhavanarao Pant Pratinidhi
Making Surya Namaskar a Part of Physical Education: Mass Exercise

17 T. Krishnamacharya
Keeping the Flame: Yoga at the Palace

18 T. Krishnamacharya
Incorporating Contortion into Yoga

19 T. Krishnamacharya
Infusing Yoga with Surya Namaskar: Yoga as Performance

20 K. V. Iyer
Mixing Bodybuilding and Yoga at the Palace

21 K. V. Iyer
Presenting Surya Namaskar as Stretching Exercise

22 Louise Morgan
Making Surya Namaskar into an Elixir for Western Women

23 Louise Morgan
Pointing the Way to Health through Surya Namaskar

24 Louise Morgan
Becoming Aware of the Body in Surya Namaskar

25 Apa Pant
Making Surya Namaskar into a Meditation

26 Swami Sivananda
Using Surya Namaskar as a Warm-up Exercise for Yoga

Part III
Making Yoga Sacred Again
Yogic Embodied Spirituality

27 Indra Devi
Becoming a Western, Female Yoga Teacher

28 Indra Devi
Treating Anxiety with Yoga

29 B. K. S. Iyengar
Enduring Cruelty: A Yoga Student

30 B. K. S. Iyengar
Making Yoga Fierce: A Yoga Teacher

31 B. K. S. Iyengar
Making Yoga All-Encompassing

32 B. K. S. Iyengar
Making Yoga Precise

33 B. K. S. Iyengar
Spiritualizing the Domain of Acrobatics: Asana Practice as the Eight-Limbed Path

34 B. K. S. Iyengar
Making Asana Practice into a Meditation of Insight

35 B. K. S. Iyengar
Teaching Asana as Embodied Spirituality




About the Author

Elliott Goldberg is one of the few scholars in the emerging field of modern yoga studies. He has presented papers at the Modern Yoga Workshop at Cambridge University and at the American Academy of Religion (AAR). He lives in New York City.


"The fruit of many years' research and reflection, Goldberg's long-awaited study combines rich cultural history with practical insights into embodied yoga practice (partly based on his in-depth knowledge of contemporary exercise science). It is wide-ranging and well written, presenting the broader social contexts of yoga's global flourishing as a backdrop to a careful examination of some of its most influential teachers. I welcome and applaud this book." * Mark Singleton, Ph.D., author of Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice *
"This is an outstanding account of the making of modern yoga, showing us the exquisite as well as disturbing ways in which it is of its time rather than ancient and timeless. Amidst bodybuilding, militarism, poetry, and anxiety, charismatic men and women--both Eastern and Western--whose efforts transformed yoga into what it is for us today, walk through the pages of this marvelous book." * Siddhartha Deb, author of The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India *
"Elliott Goldberg has produced a scholarly yet gripping account of modern yoga history. While telling many colorful and poignant stories of their lives, he describes how the early teachers developed modern yoga by emphasizing asana as fitness and health routine. In the last chapters he explores the asana of spiritual embodiment--as exemplified by the teachings of B. K. S. Iyengar--in which the physical reveals the sacred that is often hidden but always there and waiting to emerge within our asana practice." * Angela Farmer, yoga teacher who holds retreats for women worldwide *
"Goldberg's exhaustive, comprehensive, and endlessly fascinating The Path of Modern Yoga offers an important illustration of the wonderfully contradictory and often bizarre interplays at root in modern yoga--of Indian nationalism and Western movements, of spirituality and body culture, of idealism and exigencies. It is a pleasure to see these complicated dynamics parsed by so serious and probing an intelligence as Goldberg's." * Elizabeth Kadetsky, author of First There Is a Mountain: A Yoga Romance *
"Elliott Goldberg presents a highly detailed and spellbinding narrative of the transformation of the Indian yoga tradition into today's myriad postural yoga incarnations. Offering a nuanced perspective on the major personalities and the contemporary trends (both East and West!) that influenced them, he lays to rest the simplistic notion of yoga's `authenticity' being tied to any one yoga style, religion, or nation. This complex history should enlighten us all." * Roxanne Kamayani Gupta, Ph.D., author of A Yoga of Indian Classical Dance *
"This is a detailed, comprehensive, and rich examination of the history of modern yoga, showing clearly--and with new insight--how `postural yoga' is thoroughly enmeshed in the culture of health, fitness, and athletics. Goldberg has provided us with an important perspective on how different aspects of 20th-century `body culture' shaped the practice of asana during the modern yoga renaissance." * Joseph S. Alter, Ph.D., author of Yoga in Modern India *
"In The Path of Modern Yoga, Elliott Goldberg has laid out a clear road map--with detours into philosophical musings--of the path of modern yoga from its origins in the early 20th century to its current state of practice in the early 21st century, especially noting the profound influence of my teacher, B. K. S. Iyengar. Although more could've been written about the openness and love with which Iyengar gave of himself, if you want to know about yoga and how it got to be what it is today, this is the book to read." * John Schumacher, yoga teacher and director of Unity Woods Yoga Center *
"This is a deep history of the birth of modern yoga. There is dogged research on and profound insight into the main protagonists. Their contributions are shown to be both unique and tempered by the spirit of the times in the West as well as in India. As a result, this story of modern yoga is equally intimate and expansive. Now we practitioners of yoga can muse over where we really come from." * Norman Sjoman, Ph.D., author of The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace *
"Goldberg's `detective work' is impressive. In his investigation into the writings of British journalist Louise Morgan, he has uncovered her critical role in the transformation of the `Sun Salutation' into an `Elixir for Women'--a missing link in the development of modern yoga as a practice for women as well as men. Although at times irreverent, The Path of Modern Yoga is filled with wisdom and understanding into the culture and experience of yoga." * Stuart Ray Sarbacker, Ph.D., coauthor of The Eight Limbs of Yoga *
"Combining original historical research with a compelling narrative, The Path of Modern Yoga profiles some of the most significant--and in some cases surprising--personalities to shape modern yoga practice. Goldberg's reflections and insights will further understanding, both popular and academic, of yoga and its place in the contemporary world." * Suzanne Newcombe, Ph.D., author of articles and chapters on the social history of yoga *
". . . Goldberg traces yoga's path from sacred ritual to physical exercise to embodied spiritual practice, yoga practitioners and scholars alike will be fascinated by these yogin pioneers and their colorful stories. Goldberg offers a vibrant and accessible study of yoga's history, growth, and transformation." * Publishers Weekly, July 2016 *
"The Path of Modern Yoga is a celebration of yoga in body, mind, and spirit. This book will especially touch the hearts of readers who love history or love the path of yoga." * Retailing Insight, Allyson Gracie, August 2016 *
This lovely book traces the history of modern yoga (1920's-2000's) through the biographical stories of yoga students as well as the eleven Indian and Western yogis who spearheaded the popularity of yoga as a primary physical practice. An amazing amount of research and detail is effortlessly conveyed through the use of delightful and insightful storytelling of the lives of these fascinating yoga pioneers. * Yoga Basics *
The Path of Modern Yoga is an in-depth treatment of yoga with focus on some of the key figures who have shaped it. It is an interesting and scholarly approach to a well-researched topic that many yogis might have wondered about. It shows how postural yoga has become part of health and wellness culture today. * Spirituality & Health Magazine *

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