Sanjeev PatelBy Sanjeev Patel, CYT 500

Just this week, I was reading an article, which started out sensibly, and soon it mentioned the introduction of Yoga to the United States. For the record, Swami Vivekananda officially introduced Yoga to the United States, in 1893, at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Illinois.

Swami Vivekananda also founded the first Vendanta Society in New York in the year of 1894. All that aside, someone has chosen to fabricate a story that Yoga was first practiced by the hippie movement in the 1960s. That really hurts, because somebody will read it and believe it.

For the sake of argument, I feel that an Asian immigrant, in the United States, could easily have knowledge of Yoga before 1893. Swami Vivekananda was a famous man at the time, and came from a noble family, but unrecorded history has a way of changing our viewpoint.

Look at the question of “Who discovered America?” and you will listen to hours of theories about who did it before Christopher Columbus. We know for a fact that Native Americans discovered America first. This only scratches the surface as to why Native Americans protest Columbus Day every year.

When I read that Yoga was discovered in the United States by hippies, I try to suppress my ego and feelings, but I just can’t hold back. This is a complete lack of respect for India, Indian history, and Indian culture.

There is another piece of widely broadcasted misinformation about Yoga teacher training and certification that comes to mind. Who regulates the teachings of Yoga and who has a right to? Some of the new registries have claimed that they do.

These organizations make standards and register you without any test! Some Yoga teachers let their original teacher certifications expire, because a self-proclaimed registry gave them a card. Who is the “Big Kahuna” that regulates Yoga and what kind of Yoga should be regulated?

Yoga is a lifestyle, science, art, holistic system, spiritual pursuit, and physical exercise. Have I really described all that Yoga is? No, because you can’t define Yoga in one sentence. Patanjali, and other Sages, have written books that describe Yoga.

Truly, most governments and organizations cannot fully understand all that Yoga is. The Indian government might be the only exception. Now, who would like any government bureaucrats to interpret the Vedas and the Yoga Sutras? There is no organization qualified to control Yoga – especially, an organization that won’t pick up the phone for 18 months.

One last point: No government of any kind recognizes these registries as an agent for them. If any government decides to regulate any part of Yoga, we will answer to the government – not a self-proclaimed registry that once-upon-a-time promised to give its members protection from the government. By the way, they no longer consider registered members to be members at all.

Hari Om Tat Sat

© Copyright 2011 – Sanjeev Patel / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Sanjeev Patel is a certified Yoga teacher and an exclusive author for Aura Wellness Center.

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