The Origins Of Yoga And The Second School Being Hatha Yoga

2963 Words12 Pages
In 1893, a man by the name of Vivekananda came to speak at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago. He captivated his audience with the exotic Indian practice of Yoga. His message permeated throughout the United States while capturing the minds of brilliant Americans such as Gertrude Stein. Vivekananda as well as the Doctrine of Yoga were a sensation, but what has become of the mystical practice known as yoga. In this paper I will discuss the origins of yoga in the West, various schools of thought associated with yoga and with a focus on two in particular: the first being Raja yoga (royal yoga) and the second school being Hatha yoga. Dr. John Renard illustrates the relation between these to schools concisely and effectively in The Handy…show more content…
The young monk made a profound impression on the people who attended the speech. His speech left people spellbound and enchanted. He was able to simplify Vedanta thought in such way that it was more digestible for westerners and more importantly he conveyed the idea that all souls were inherently divine. His mantra was relatable to American, “work and worship.” Vivekananda became a star overnight. He proceeded to tour the country to further the doctrine of yoga across the nation. Yet the yoga we see across our country is very different from the yogic tradition Vivekananda was teaching. In fact Vivekananda had an absolute lack of interest in the physical aspect of yoga we see today in our society. His goal in America was to help Americans realize God. He was considered the first missionary from the east to the west and it was his goal to help Americans rid themselves of this American individualism. He wanted to rise above the western perception of the east being this exotic and magical place and to deliver truth to people. He felt very strongly about his proselytization. He was quoted saying, “I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East.” That being said Vivekananda was a man of this world. He had reportedly been seen smoking and eating meat, so this man was far from perfect. Yet nevertheless this man had quite the following. In fact Leo Tolstoy was very
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