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A history of modern yoga : Patañjali and Western esotericism

Author: Elizabeth De Michelis
Publisher: London ; New York : Continuum, 2005.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : First paper back editionView all editions and formats
Summary:
"In recent years yoga and meditation have become mass market pursuits in the West. A History of Modern Yoga traces this phenomenon back to its ideological roots in the esoteric circles of late eighteenth-century Bengal, and follows some of its main developments to date. Fully-fledged Modern Yoga, the author argues, started with the publication of Swami Vivekananda's seminal Raja Yoga (1896), in which Patanjali's  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Named Person: Patañjali.; Patañjali.; Patañjali (Philosoph)
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Elizabeth De Michelis
ISBN: 0826487726 9780826487728 0826465129 9780826465122
OCLC Number: 1010743061
Notes: "First published 2004 by Continuum"--Title page verso.
Description: xvii, 282 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: What is Modern Yoga? --
Modern Yoga scholarship --
Some notes on terminology --
Esoteric myopia --
Description of contents --
The Prehistory of Modern Yoga --
Roots of Modern Yoga --
"Esotericism" as academic field of research --
The worldview of Western esotericism --
(1 to 6): Basic characteristics of esotericism --
Correspondences --
Living nature --
Imagination and mediations --
Experience of transmutation --
The praxis of concordance --
Transmission --
Reformation "Spiritualism" --
Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment thought --
Esotericism in classical and modern Hinduism --
Mysticism, cult and sect --
From mysticism to cultic milieu --
New Age religion vs. New Age movement --
Classical Hinduism vs. modern Hindu elaborations --
The beginnings of Neo-Hinduism --
Esoteric East-West cross-influences in historical perspective --
The Brahmo Samaj and the occultization of Neo-Vedanta --
The religious foundations of Modern Yoga --
The turning point between classical Hinduism and Neo-Vedanta: Rammohan Roy's Neo-Vedantic Enlightenment --
Neo-Vedantic Enlightenment to Neo-Vedantic Romanticism --
Tagore's intellectual background --
Tagore's doctrinal and ritual innovations --
Intuitional epistemology --
Evolutionary spirituality --
"Scientific religion" --
Initiation --
From Neo-Vedantic Romanticism to Neo-Vedantic "spiritualism" --
The Eastern outreaches of Western esotericism --
India responds as 'esoteric Other' --
Sen as charismatic Neo-Vedantic leader --
Sen's religious career --
The influence of American Transcendentalism --
Sen's proto Modern Yoga --
Vivekananda and the emergence of Neo-Vedantic occultism --
Vivekananda: spiritual hero or esoteric seeker? --
Vivekananda's esoteric biography I: India --
Childhood --
Schooling --
Brahmo --
Freemason --
Ramakrishna and Vivekananda --
Ramakrishna's spiritual transmission --
After Ramakrishna --
Vivekananda's esoteric biography II: the West --
Vivekananda at the Parliament of Religions --
Vivekananda's assimilation of Western occultism --
Harmonial Religion: Metaphysical beliefs and mesmerism --
The demand for "occult" practices at the end of the nineteenth century --
Vivekananda's 'turn West' --
Vivekananda's '4 yogas' model --
"God-realization" and "Self-realization" in Neo-Vedanta --
Pervasiveness of Vivekananda's Neo-Vedantic influences --
Centrality of the "realization" theme --
Ultimate aims: Vedantic and Neo-Vedantic --
Classical interpretations of atma- and brahmajnana --
Early attempts at translation and contextualization: Rammohan Roy --
Subsequent attempts at translation and contextualization by Brahmo leaders and others --
Ramakrishna and his interpreters: the elaboration of a sampradaya --
Modern Yoga Theory and Practice --
Vivekananda's Raja Yoga (1896): Modern Yoga formulated --
Raja Yoga: style, structure and overall contents --
An emanationist cosmology --
Three gunas vs. two evolutes --
Vivekananda's Naturphilosophie --
The Prana Model --
Prana as vitalistic element --
Prana as healing agent --
Pranayama as healing technique --
Samadhi as psychological "superconsciousness" --
The Samadhi Model --
The influence of Metaphysical beliefs --
The influence of Functionalist psychology --
Psychological proprioception as practice --
The Neo-Advaitic component --
Yogic experience in classical Vedanta --
The Yoga Sutras: a rajayoga textbook? --
Twentieth-century developments of Modern Yoga --
Alternative medicine and New Age religiosity --
New Age healing ... --
... and personal growth --
Towards a typology of Modern Yoga --
The development of Modern Postural Yoga: 1950s to date --
Popularization: 1950s to mid-1970s --
Consolidation: mid-1970s to late 1980s --
Acculturation: late 1980s to date --
The Iyengar School of Modern Postural Yoga --
B.K.S. Iyengar: his life and work --
Popularization --
Consolidation --
Acculturation --
Theory and practice of Iyengar Yoga --
Iyengar's Modern Yoga trilogy --
Light on Yoga (1966): the Popularization period --
MPY practice as psychosomatic self-help --
MPY theory in Light on Yoga --
Two specific aspects of Modern Yoga theory --
Neo-Vedantic ethics --
The concept of 'self-improvement' --
"Self-realization": a chameleonic concept --
Light on Pranayama (1981): the Consolidation period --
Fully-fledged Neo-Hathayoga --
MPY theory and practice in Light on Pranayama: the consolidation of the Prana Model --
Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (1993): the Acculturation period --
The Samadhi Model in Iyengar's Neo-Hathayoga --
The Neo-Visistadvaita synthesis --
Conclusion: Modern Postural Yoga as healing ritual of secular religion --
MPY in everyday life --
The MPY practice session --
MPY as healing ritual of secular religion --
The separation phase (introductory quietening time in MPY) --
The transition phase (MPY practice proper) --
The incorporation phase (final relaxation in MPY).
Responsibility: Elizabeth De Michelis.

Abstract:

"In recent years yoga and meditation have become mass market pursuits in the West. A History of Modern Yoga traces this phenomenon back to its ideological roots in the esoteric circles of late eighteenth-century Bengal, and follows some of its main developments to date. Fully-fledged Modern Yoga, the author argues, started with the publication of Swami Vivekananda's seminal Raja Yoga (1896), in which Patanjali's Yoga Sutras were reconfigured along the lines of a then-emerging New Age style of secularized and individualistically oriented religiosity." "But what exactly are yoga and meditation as taught and practised today? In order to map this unknown territory, this book discusses some of the central religio-philosophical tenets of Modern Yoga, and offers a fourfold typology comprising Modern Psychosomatic, Modern Meditational, Modern Postural and Modern Denominational forms of yoga. Special attention is then given to Modern Postural Yoga, and the teachings and practices of the influential lyengar school of yoga are analysed in detail. The book's conclusion shows how a typical Modern Postural Yoga session may be interpreted to reveal the forms and contents of a healing ritual of secular religion. Book jacket."--BOOK JACKET.

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