The Development of Modern Yoga: A Survey of the Field

Newcombe, Suzanne (2009). The Development of Modern Yoga: A Survey of the Field. Religion Compass, 3(6) pp. 986–1002.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1749-8171.2009.00171.x

Abstract

Yoga is now found in urban centres and rural retreats across the world as well as in its historical home in the Indian subcontinent. What is now practiced as yoga across the globe has a long history of transnational intercultural exchange and has been considered by some as an outgrowth of Neo-Hinduism. Although the popularisation of yoga is often cited in theories about 'Easternization' or the 're-enchantment' of the West since the late 20th century, most of these theories make little reference to the growing number of historical, sociological and anthropological studies of modern yoga. This article will consider how the apparent dichotomy between yoga as a physical fitness activity (often termed 'hatha yoga') and⁄or as a 'spiritual practice' developed historically and discuss recent trends in the research.

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