Healthcare Blog

Yoga Day USA And The Distortion Of Yoga In America

March 26, 2017

For thousands of years Yoga referred to the realization through direct experience of the preexisting union between Atman and Brahman, Jivatman and Paramatman, and Shiva and Shakti, or the realization of Purusha standing alone as separate from Prakriti. If you are not familiar with these or other such terms, and yet think you are familiar with Yoga, it may be because you have heard little of the more authentic meanings, goals and practices of Yoga, while also having heard little of the true roots of Yoga.

To see the distortion of Yoga in America over recent decades, one need go no further than Yoga Day USA, which is scheduled for January 28, 2006. In their website (www.YogaDayUSA) and press release the promoters state that the "Top 10 Reasons to Try Yoga" or "to 'Make the Connection'" with Yoga are stress relief, pain relief, better breathing, flexibility, increased strength, weight management, improved circulation, cardiovascular conditioning, better body alignment, and focus on the present for health reasons. The authentic reasons for Yoga seem to be not even worthy of mention in their Top 10 Reasons for Yoga.

Yoga Alliance, the sponsor of Yoga Day describes itself on the www.YogaDayUSA website as "the leader in setting educational standards for yoga schools and teachers." However, while they claim this authority, they do not see fit to acknowledge or include in their Yoga Day promotions the fact that the roots of Yoga come from the ancient tradition of Sanatana Dharma, out of which has grown Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other traditions. Interestingly, while the Yoga Day promotions do not acknowledge the root of Yoga, many religious leaders in America who are opposed to Yoga for religious reasons are very quick to point out the authentic roots of Yoga, effectively reversing the roles of promoters and opponents.

To counterbalance the recent distortion of Yoga in America, there is a slowly increasing presence of scholars, teachers, religious leaders, teaching institutions and organizations that are speaking out about the true nature of Yoga and its goals. Individual seekers and media who are interested in knowing more about authentic Yoga can easily find these organizations and their spokespeople.