S4E1 Vivekananda

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Season 4 - Modernity

This episode focuses on Swami Vivekananda, a key figure who brought Yoga to the West. His political and spiritual leanings show a strong influence from British colonialism, including: Western (Greek) notions of rationality and more universalist interpretations of Christian doctrine. His legacy left us a polarization between systems of yoga oriented by his definition of raja (“royal”, superior), and those oriented toward the more gross-physical (in his estimation) concerns of the Hatha Yogins. We see this value system at work today when, for instance, “gym yoga” is disparaged as “unspiritual”, or we hear “it’s not about the asana.” We should be careful with such ideas...

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In this episode we talk about:

  • Swami Vivekananda, a key figure who brought Yoga to the West
  • His political and spiritual leanings influence from British colonialism
  • The polarization between systems of yoga oriented by his definition of raja (“royal”, superior), and those oriented toward the more gross-physical (in his estimation) concerns of the Hatha Yogins

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