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Selling YogaFrom Counterculture to Pop Culture$
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Andrea Jain

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199390236

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390236.001.0001

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Premodern Yoga Systems

Premodern Yoga Systems

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Premodern Yoga Systems
Source:
Selling Yoga
Author(s):

Andrea R. Jain

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199390236.003.0001

This chapter suggests, rather than essentializing premodern yoga by reifying its content and aims, it is more accurate to identify it as heterogeneous in practice and characteristic of the doctrinally diverse South Asian cultures. Reflecting on recent research that emphasizes the significant role of social contexts in shaping premodern yoga systems, the chapter suggests that yoga’s context sensitivity should be of central consideration as we approach the study of modern yoga. Images of yoga from the premodern world, whether of philosopher-ascetics, ecstatic devotees, or sinister villains. are hardly the images we have when we think of modern yoga practitioners. Modern yoga systems, including postural yoga ones, bear little resemblance to the yoga systems that preceded them. What they do share with premodern ones is that they are specific to their own social contexts.

Keywords:   yoga, moksha, bhakti, hatha yoga, Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, tantra, Hindu, Jain

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