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Meet the Innovators: Georg Feuerstein

Probably the most prolific and highly regarded scholar of Hinduism in the West, Feuerstein has more than 30 books to his credit.

By Holly Hammond

Georg Feuerstein is probably the most prolific and highly regarded scholar of Hinduism in the West, with an international reputation. He has written more than 30 books and translated many more, including The Shambhala Guide to Yoga (1996), The Shambhala Encyclopedia of Yoga (1997), and the comprehensive Yoga Tradition: Its History, Literature, Philosophy, and Practice (Hohm, 1998). But Feuerstein is no dry academic; his scholarship is directly relevant to spiritual practice. His interest in spiritual life began when he was a teenager in Germany. At 17 he left home to study with an Indian hatha yogi in the Black Forest.

In 1996 Georg founded the Yoga Research and Education Center (YREC) to promote education and research in Hindu, Jaina, and Buddhist yoga. Its far-reaching projects include creating a comprehensive database of research reports and educating the public through workshops, correspondence courses, and conferences. A campaign is underway to raise $7 million to build a campus for YREC. A 50-acre property was recently purchased in Northern California for a retreat facility.

"It is encouraging to see so many Westerners turning to yoga," comments Feuerstein. "I see 'fitness yoga' as an opportunity for discovering yoga's deeper side: mind training leading to inner freedom and happiness. Yoga teachers have an obligation to be grounded in yoga's understanding of the human mind, its profound philosophical and moral teachings, and its many practices. Only then can the Western yoga movement make a lasting contribution to modern humanity."

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