Yoga popularisers and sympathisers around and after 1900
As I have said, a large part of the Orientalists’ audience around 1900 was formed by esoteric, occult and spiritual circles in the West. The social background of many of the readers often dominated by women – was that of wealthy bourgeois society leaders and cultural elites like artists, musicians, actors, dancers and authors. They were also the first for whom yoga was not just an intellectual activity, a professional business or a scholarly interest but a practical concern. They had the all the passions of the amateur. They started to practise yoga and were keen to receive instruction. In my terminology they became the first Western yoga sympathisers. Among the practitioners were people who turned the knowledge and skills they acquired through their enthusiasm into a profession: the yoga popularisers.
What united these early yoga popularisers and sympathisers were their anti-establishment stance – their critical attitude to institutional Christianity, Enlightenment philosophy and life under modernity. They propagated the romanticists’ notion, that modernity had brought us too far away from our physical and human nature. Their esoteric views criticised Christianity’s orthodoxy and modernity’s materialist reductionism. Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga were fitted into their esoteric agenda, which as we have seen now had its stronghold in the USA.
He points out that everything is relative, and achieving a deep concentration practice may come easily to one individual, but not to another.Pincha Mayurasana Pose Yoga We must develop our capacities and through the practices discipline, postures, breath, and sense control we will gain ease over the control of our mind-body and achieve the highest state of yoga.
Pincha Mayurasana Pose YogaThrough this state we also gain an awareness of our actions, how they are influenced, and what they result in, as we simultaneously look inward at our mental qualities and gain new skills. Patanjali explores the clarity that the mind is capable of if we choose to seek it, and the vast potential thereof. Once we have reached the highest state of clarity, serenity will naturally flow in all of our actions as well as inactions.
Finally, in the Sutras, yoga teaches us that we are in fact infinitely more than our perceptions. The challenge is to develop the ability to discriminate between the perceiver within our selves and all that is outwardly perceived around us. Again, this can be accomplished through the mastery and practice of the eight limbs of yoga.