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Gurus of Modern Yoga$
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Mark Singleton and Ellen Goldberg

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199938704

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.001.0001

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The Institutionalization of the Yoga Tradition: “Gurus” B. K. S. Iyengar and Yogini Sunita in Britain

The Institutionalization of the Yoga Tradition: “Gurus” B. K. S. Iyengar and Yogini Sunita in Britain

Chapter:
(p.147) Chapter 7 The Institutionalization of the Yoga Tradition: “Gurus” B. K. S. Iyengar and Yogini Sunita in Britain
Source:
Gurus of Modern Yoga
Author(s):

Suzanne Newcombe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199938704.003.0008

Most contemporary yoga enthusiasts receive their instruction not from a guru but from a yoga teacher who holds a recognized qualification and caries professional indemnity insurance. The global popularity of Modern Postural Yoga rests heavily on a movement away from direct guru–śiṣya interaction. This chapter will explore the mechanisms of how the guru–śiṣya charismatic relationship was institutionalized by examining case studies B. K. S. Iyengar and Yogini Sunita. Both cases provide examples of how personal charisma in teaching yoga were incorporated into a highly bureaucratic, state-funded adult education system in 1960s England. The chapter argues that the way Iyengar successfully institutionalized his charisma into the British adult education system was a direct contributing factor to his system’s worldwide popularization. In contrast, although Sunita was extremely successful in her lifetime, she was not effectively able to institutionalize her system of Pranayama Yoga, which now has little visibility.

Keywords:   Modern Postural Yoga, B. K. S. Iyengar, charisma, Yogini Sunita, Pranayama Yoga, adult education, 1960s, Krishnamacharya

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