The fact was that since the middle of 19th century there had among the middle classes of the West been the surfacing and conflation of a wide range of discourses. It was a mixture of religious esotericism, new protestant innovations, health, holism, gymnastics, dietary regimen, motivational psychology, modern medicine, dance and theatre training. All these discourses merged in ideas about a holistic bricolage consisting of a healthy body, mind and soul. It was promoted by institutions like the YMCA, movements like Muscular Christianity and discourses like physical culture and harmonial religion (this is discussed in the chapter on Colonial Modernist Yoga) (Albanese 2007, Singleton 2010). The target audiences were mainly sophisticated and well-educated better-off women from the emerging urban centres in the US.
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The Indian or American yoga gurus introducing meditative raja-yoga and hatha-yoga did not bring much new to this discourse. They just managed to give it an interesting mystical-oriental slant, hugely popular among the yoga sympathisers.
Even if hatha-yoga was slowly aligned with Western physical culture, health, spirituality and science, it never managed to build up a necessary organisational network like the one supporting the meditative yoga milieu. Pre WW2 hatha-yoga was still a fringe activity. Time -the sociological matrix – was not yet ripe.
There are two types of samadhi, one of which we can come in and out of, and the other a final or lasting state of bliss when the soul has moved on and the individual soul, or atman, reunites with Brahman the Creator. Parsva Balasana For someone who is just beginning, it is good to sit in an easy cross-legged position likeW-masana on the floor, or to sit in a comfortable chair with your feet directly beneath your knees and a pillow behind your lower back for support. Parsva Balasana The room can be quiet or, if you prefer, you can play some soft, non-distracting music in the background. Close your eyes and begin to take deep breaths of equal proportion. Count slowly and internally as you inhale and exhale to your full capacity: 1,2, 3, 4, 5. I, 2, 3,4, 5. Breathe in through your nose and extend your belly with each inhale. Exhale only through your nostrils.