Comments

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Pradnya

I loved the way in which Cushman has addressed the topic. It is light hearted while at the same time effectively bringing out the dynamic nature of the practice of yoga

sue woolley

A most refreshing and honest article. Having practiced yoga for 35 years, I have seen how it is constantly re-inventing itself, moving with the times one might say, without losing its essence. This is one of the miracles of yoga, that it can sway with the wind, yet be grounded in the unchanging.

sue woolley

A most refreshing and honest article. Having practiced yoga for 35 years, I have seen how it is constantly re-inventing itself, moving with the times one might say, without losing its essence. This is one of the miracles of yoga, that it can sway with the wind, yet be grounded in the unchanging.

madhavi

Thanks a lot. You opened my eyes. since I am getting old, I cannot perform many poses up to my satisfaction. perhaps there is no perfect pose. We can modify each pose to our convenience and still we can be happy about it.

MIchaelle Edwards@ YogAlign

How liberating and refreshing to read the words that yoga poses are alive, evolving, and bursting with possibility. It is OK to innovate because that is exactly what Krishnamacharya did. The question put out forth that how are we to know what is right if there is no definitive ancient text for asana, is something that I have been working through for the last 20 years of my 40 year practice. My body told me that like all of nature's design, the human form is composed of curves and spirals. There are no straight lines in nature's animal forms! We are part of nature too and we are not designed to be in engaged in full body right angle and straight lines such as staff pose, down dog, and even plow. Think of sitting in a chair, our body does not fit into that right angle so why oh why are our beloved yoga poses static templates of right angles? I had an inflamed SI joint, knee problems and neck pain when I practiced Iyengar and Ashtanga yoga and all the right angle body positions that those asana systems contain. I began to combine my knowledge of self guided body work with yoga poses that supported strengthening the natural curves of my spine in every pose. My work now is helping yogis to adapt their practice to protect the Sacral lumbar region because so many yogis suffer from SI joint pain from flattening and then over-stretching the ligaments in poses like straight leg forward bending. I also hear of many older yogis needing hip replacements because they stretched out their shock absorbing springs from years of asana!
I stopped trying to do standing and forward bends with my knees straight since my body told me that it cannot move without bending knees and when we stretch with our knees straight, it is like driving a car with the brakes on. I now teach this system ( YogAlign) and have helped many liberate their spine and joints from the tyranny of the 'traditional ' right angle poses of yoga. These straight lines and right angles also permeate pilates and gym classes. We are not actually designed to touch our toes !!! I invite all yogis who are ready to explore my site at www.yogalign.com

sekhmet

As a devoted Iyengar practitioner, I have been taught that Sri Iyengar was an innovator who changed the way, along with Jois and Krishnamacharya the way yoga, is practiced and taught. In fact I own the book cited and found it quite interesting. Thank you for bringing this to the general publics attention. There are no sacred cows.. .

Sanjay

The author of the article conveniently forgot to mention that according to Gheranda Samita there are as many yoga poses as there are species (which according to Hindu belief are 84 lakh (8.4 million). So that is evidence that any of the 700-800 postures from Iyengar or Ashtanga yoga that people in the west are nothing but a small part of 8.4 million postures. Another thing that the Author forgets to mention is that Krishnamacharya himself mentioned that he didn't create/invent anything new and he learnt it all from his teacher or books. So according to the author, Krishnamacharya is obviously lying.

nofal ali

"kalaripayattu" is one of the very ancient Martial Art originated from south India. i has lineage surprisingly no written book it is the mother of all martial arts. a buddist monk 'Bodi Darma" from south india who introduced this art form to Chinese. all the asanas or poses in 'kalaripayattu' is similar to yoga asanas both these art forms co-existed in south india for thusands of years.

astanga asana is not an excercise but it is form worship including 'chathurangasana plank pose' practicing in india as well as some of the Semitic religions for thousands of years.

sorry my English is not good

Sai Kumar Reddy

Another point to be added is that book printing was not wide spread in ancient India, not sure if it even existed. A lot of knowledge was passed by memorization from one person to another. This may by why Gurus were exalted so much since there were no books, videos, dvds, films to record the activities and make them available to others. If someone wanted to learn yoga the had to go and beg someone who been doing it for a while. To use a modern business term the exalted guru model can not scale and mass production never happened. So the lack of documented evidence of ancient yoga tradition is not surprising. In a way this might be the golden age of hatha yoga thanks to mass media and mass production.

Sai Kumar Reddy

It is possible that several yoga poses were developed in the 18th or 19th century, but how can we be sure what yoga poses were practiced 500 or 5000 years ago? The Siva Samhita and Gheranda Samhita do mention that there are as many yoga poses as there are species or there are 840000 or some crazy number like that. The reality is we can only do a few of these. Its nice to look at what could be achieved. Another point if we analyze dances from various countries and cultures we can can see that some of the movements do seem yoga asana like. Also several Kung Fu stances look very yoga asana like. There's a nice book called Complete Shaolin Workout by Shifu Shi Yan Ming. The pictures look like that of a Master Yogi.

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