One of the first to write about hatha-yoga was the American writer W.W. Atkinson. He was a strong promoter of the New Thought discourse writing books like: Thought Force and Everyday Life (1903); Mind-Power: The Secret of Mental Magic (1912). However under the pseudonym Yogi Ramacharaka, Atkinson published several titles about yoga. One of them was Hatha-yoga; or The Yoga Philosophy of Well-being (1904). It was mainly about finding a powerful real self and the yoga exercises illustrated were more about callisthenic exercises than hatha-yoga asana (Albanese 2007).
In other words Atkinson was heavily influenced by the modernist yoga discourse of the Theosophists but he tried to break up the alignment of hatha-yoga with the rascal jogi : In India there exists a horde of ignorant mendicants of the lower fakir class, who pose as hatha yogis, but who have not the slightest conception of the underlying principles of this branch of yoga (From Albanese 2007).
The noise was nearly as loud as it had been the Yoga poses for sleep previous night. We wondered if it ever ceased. We dressed in our saris and headed Yoga poses for sleep out barefoot toward the sangam. It took us forty-five minutes, walking through endless crowds and over pontoons, to reach the main bathing area. The very public-private living of India was on display in every direction, with families gathered over food, men huddled around small fires, children sleeping, and babies being nursed. Everything here seemed communal. We saw only a handful of other Westerners’ faces along our final pilgrimage to the Kumbh.
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