Is Yoga Indian? Is Yoga being appropriated by the West?

By : Ravi

The “Yoga” community in North America is once again spinning around the “Appropriation -or not – Of Yoga”.

In a HuffPost article-

  • Prof Michael Sowder of Utah State University says:

“But here are some of the reasons I think the argument about imperialist appropriation is misplaced and an overreaction.

I was trained as a yoga teacher in the 1970s by sanyassis (monks) sent to the United States by a tantric yoga guru in Bengal.

Usually, we think of the colonial power being the one sending missionaries to the colonized country to convert the heathens.

But the twentieth century saw a huge number of Hindu and yogic teachers coming to the US.

Vivekananda was the first–arriving in 1893 for the Chicago World Parliament of Religions. The great yoga teacher Paramahansa Yogananda was next. He arrived in the US in the 1920s and became a national sensation. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi, transformed many lives, including my own. Later came Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Swami Satchidananda, Swami Muktananda, Meher Baba, B. K. S. Iyengar, Yogi Bhajan. And Amma, Amritanandamayi Ma, still visits regularly to share her life-changing darsan, hugging thousands of Americans.

None of them worried about their teachings being “appropriated” by Westerners. They shared them freely. Because the teachings transform lives, lead to liberation, and can change the world.”

In my attempt to respond to this reasoning of denial of the Western appropriation of Indian Yoga, I offer my following comment:

“Author is quite off base, and thinks his personal integrity/loyalty etc is above it all, & so is the general western yoga world’s.

That may even be so, but the issue is not even about a random individual or their intent, but systemic – to do with the kind of social mechanisms (social, commercial, religious) in play.

Regarding the spread of Hindu/Buddhist lifestyles through Asia historically, it was (still is) qualitatively different.

Even  today, Buddhist practices authenticate themselves via showing they respectfully go back to the Indian source (not that they pay any royalty or anyone demands it, but still they do it).

Contrast this to the West.

It is barely a few decades since the Yoga thing is gone mainstream, and already, the cutting off of the roots, thumbing noses at the source, etc is well under way (by the leadership/intellectuals, not the common folk, that too).

The West has a centuries old very polished Digestive mechanism (please refer to Rajiv Malhotra’s writings/videos explaining his well argued thesis w/ much data).

So what happened in Asia is not happening here anymore in the west.

Call it lack of sufficient respect for the “Other” or a different attitude to “Intellectual Property”.

But “appropriation” is just the thin edge of the wedge.”

Relevance of Yoga today

By: Shreepal Singh

Yoga is Science of Wellbeing of the physical, emotional,  mental and soul (= inmost being or Psychic Being) components of humans.

It is being trivialized by some by limiting it to the physical component only and being opposed by others by bringing in their religious and national egos.

Though Yoga originated and perfected over thousands of years in India,  it does not belong to any nation or religion.

The beneficial impact of Yoga on humans’ personal lives are being proved by medical science increasingly with each passing day.

In this stressful era,  Yoga is a boon for humanity today.

To overcome the resistance of religious and national egos by some,  Yoga needs to be scientifically studied more and more by the world community to reap its full potential.

Video of Indian celebration of International Yoga Day

By: Ranjith Vadiyala
Here is the link of the Yoga Day video posted on “Sri Narendra Modi’s official Youtube channel”
One can note a few points about Yoga in this video:
1. Introduction starts in Hindi (a common language of overwhelming majority of Indians) and the first point is made about the unity consciousness
2. Yoga is 1000s of years old and its passed on from Shiva, adi yogi to Saptashi
3. Showed archaeological site and a artefact (Asana) from Indus civilization
4. Patanjali is the father of Modern Yoga, who compiled Yoga sutras in a systematic way, which were already there
5. Mentions different kinds of Yog viz Jnan Yog (Picture of Adi Shankara), Bhakthi Yog (May be Meera Bhai), Karma Yog (Sree Krishna and Arjuna), Matra Yog along with others
6. Mentions the asta ang of yog
7. Introduction finishes with Surya Namaskar Logo of Yoga Day.
8. At Rajpath – The introduction mentions Mantra and Unity Consciousness. Uses terms like ‘Beyond Time” and Infinity
9. MoS announces that Yog is given by the Indian Rishis to the world
10. NaMo – Yog is there for several thousands of years and asan is only a minute part of it
11. Yog Session – Starts with 3 times OM and a Rigved Manta/Sandhya Mantra

A campaign against Yoga in India: Take a notice

By: (Name/s withheld for privacy reason)
There are lots of reasearches done on yoga and its benefits. You can start with research done on Transcendental meditation. TM is nothing but yoga. Maharshi Mahesh yogi had to call it TM because people were confusing yoga with only Asanas. refer to this video –
This link gives the list of  experiments done on TM and its benefits –
TM is used by American army, schools etc to address stress, cognitive thinking etc. Please google and find links to the same.
There are several links to research done on yoga and meditation in prestigious universities like Harvard….google it.
 The first experiment on yoga in a laboratory was done in 1973 on Swami Rama who demonstrated that a human being can control involuntary functions of the body can be controlled by yogic techniques.
The results have been published in Britannica encyclopedia of science 1973.
I also hope Home ministry digs deeper into sources of funding of Nirmukta. It attacks only Hinduism and scrupulously avoids targeting Christianity and Islamic principles. Rationalist thinking in society is their objective !!
Here is an article that appeared on web regarding scientific status of the benefits of Yoga for curing diseases.
Now ‘curing diseases with Yoga’ claim
should be verified, deeper issue is on the basis on quackery claims the
article tries to downplay the use of Yoga for metal health at least. If anyone familiar with medical studies can comment on the studies cited
in the article that would be useful.

I find that since there is no institutional level support for a systematic / thorough study of our traditional wisdom whether it be Yoga/ Meditation / Herbal plants/etc., it has given rise to all sorts of quackery who sabotage serious scholarship as well.

No, Yoga Does Not Cure Any Disease | Nirmukta

Do We Need Yoga? | Nirmukta

The Organisation Nirmukta seems to be floated by either the Indian Congress workers or by the Roman Catholic Church in India. or even both in partnership.  One needs to dig deeper and investigate carefully the antecedents of this group.
These are subtle wars being fought out like fifth columnists. The Roman Catholic Church runs a highly intricate well-funded and well organised system of information collection throughout the world. A French Consulting group had done extensive research on the functioning of the RCC in the eighties and nineties and presented a report in the annual conference of the Organisation called SCIP (Society for Competitive Professional Intelligence) in 1996 at Belgium.
The French Consulting group is  named  as “EGIDERIA” and the Report is titled “What Can One Learn from the Intelligence System of the Roman Catholic Church” They go on to mention that such an Intelligence System is the envy of even the best Five star Multinational Corporations and that there is no organisation in the world with such an intricate system of Information gathering.
The Report mentions that every Parish Priest is an Information gatherer .  This report is presented to create awareness in  the  general public of the type of funds and strengths that this group is able to get.

International Day of Yoga

United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. A/67/L.17

(This resolution was proposed by Shri Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister in UN General Assembly and co-sponsored by a record number of 177 States and was passed by it in the record number of 90 days)

International Day of Yoga

The General Assembly,

Recalling its resolution No. 66/2 of 19 September 2011 on the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases and 68/98 of 11 september 2013 on global health and foreign policy.

Reaffirming General Assembly resolution resolutions 53/199 of 15 December 1998 and 61/185 of 20 December 2006 on the proclamation of international years, and Economic and Social Council resolution 1980/67 of 25 July 1980 on international years and anniversaries.

Noting the importance of individuals and populations making healthier choices and following lifestyle patterns that foster good health.

Underscoring the fact that global health is a long-term development objective that requires closer international cooperation through the exchange of best practices aimed at building better individual lifestyles devoid of excesses of all kinds.

Recognizing that yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being.

Recognizing also that wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population.

  1. Decides to proclaim 21 June the International Day of Yoga;
  2. Invites all Members and observer States, the organization of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day, in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national priorities, in order to raise awareness of the benefits of practising yoga;

  3. Stresses that the cost of all activities that may arise from the implementation of the present resolution should be met from voluntary contributions;

  4. Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member and observer States and the organizations of the United Nations system.


1. The initiative to get the world attention to yoga was taken by India. Why only India took this initiative? It is because the people of this country in very ancient past discovered yoga as the holistic discipline of human-life, perfected it over thousands of years’ practice and managed to preserve it as of today. Without ascribing any nationalist ego on this subject, one may justifiably say that this land produced ceaseless succession of yogis who taught by their words and practice compassion, self-giving, love, peace and, above all, the sublime purpose of all life to something higher that is still mystical to human mind. It is so comprehensive in its sweeps that it is not limited to humans alone. Evolving life is the unconscious yoga of Nature. All life is yoga. In humans realmn, where all religions end, yoga starts.

2. Through this UN General Assembly resolution the people of the world have now recognized that it is better that individuals adopt lifestyles that are devoid of excesses of all kinds and also that yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being.

3. Being the teacher of yoga, it is the moral obligation of India now to bring its full spectrum before the world community.

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