Yoga: A Deeper Look at Its Origins and Evolution

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Yoga: A Deeper Look at Its Origins and Evolution


Yoga has gained widespread popularity in the United States, with an estimated 20 million practitioners. While many view yoga as a form of exercise or relaxation, some Hindus believe it encompasses a deeper philosophy rooted in Hindu traditions.

Historical Origins

The origins of yoga can be traced back to ancient India, with some scholars placing its inception before the term “Hindu” was used. However, it underwent significant reinvention in the 1920s and 1930s, with the removal of certain tantric and sexual elements.

Controversy and the “Take Back Yoga” Campaign

The Hindu American Foundation launched the “Take Back Yoga” campaign to highlight the perceived disconnect between yoga and Hinduism. They contend that the practice has been commercialized and stripped of its philosophical roots.

Yoga’s Diverse Forms and Accessibility

There are various schools of yoga, including Iyengar, Ashtanga, and “Yoga Butt.” Despite its Hindu origins, yoga has become accessible to individuals of all faiths and backgrounds. Practitioners emphasize its universal appeal and benefits for personal growth and well-being.

The Hindu Perspective

Genny Kapuler, an Iyengar yoga teacher, believes yoga is fundamentally rooted in Hindu philosophy. She emphasizes the ethical and moral responsibilities associated with the practice.


Yoga represents a complex and multifaceted practice. While it has evolved over time, the debate surrounding its origins and philosophical underpinnings continues to shape its present and future.


Isabella Lewis

Additional Facts and Information

William Broad, a New York Times reporter and author of The Science of Yoga, has been practicing yoga since 1970. He notes that people pursue yoga for various reasons, including health, fitness, spirituality, and creativity.

Credit and Rights

Credit and rights to this article belong to OMG I Yoga.


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