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http://www.hafsite.org/media/pr/takeyogaback

The popularity of yoga continues to skyrocket in the Western world as yoga studios become as prevalent as Starbucks and the likes of Lululemon find continued success in the mass marketing of $108 form enhancing yoga pants. As this $6 billion industry completes one Suryanamaskar (sun salutation) after another, there has been growing concern from the Hindu American Foundation about a conscientious delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots.

From asanas named after Hindu Gods to the shared goal of moksha to the common pluralistic philosophy, the Hindu roots of yoga seem difficult to deny. Yet, more often than not, many Western yoga practitioners are aghast at the very suggestion that the cherished "spiritual practice" of yoga is firmly grounded in Hindu philosophy. In fact, in a letter to Yoga Journal magazine, HAF noted its disappointment at finding countless descriptions of the Upanishads or Gita as "ancient Indian" or "yogic", but rarely "Hindu".

Shortly after being told by Yoga Journal that "Hinduism carries too much baggage," the Foundation formulated its stance on this important issue with the release of its paper Yoga Beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice, quoting extensively from both the legendary yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar as well as his son, Prashant Iyenagar. The stance paper highlights not only the delinking of yoga from its Hindu roots, but also the erroneous idea that yoga is primarily a physical practice based on asana. Yoga covers a wide array of practices, embodied in eight "limbs," which range from ethical and moral guidelines to meditation on the Ultimate Reality. Asana is merely one "limb" which as become the crux of Western yoga practice.
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Our humanity invisible, the oppression is subliminal. We hold tight the fragments of history, language, and yes, even our tragedies - these are embers that will allow us to do more than survive as ghosts of ourselves, into humans again, no matter how much they try to take it away.













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November 2012

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