A History of Modern Yoga

A History of Modern Yoga : Patanjali and Western Esotericism

3.76 (34 ratings by Goodreads)

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 5 business days
When will my order arrive?


A History of Modern Yoga traces the roots of Modern Yoga back to the spread of western esoteric ideas in 18th century Bengal's intellectual circles. In due course Raja Yoga, published by Vivekananda in 1896, became the seminal text of Modern Yoga largely because, the author shows, it reconfigured the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali along the lines of a then emerging New Age Occultistic style of secularised and individualistically oriented religiosity. With regard to 20th century developments, this book proposes a four-fold typology of Modern Yoga comprising Modern Psychosomatic, Modern Meditational, Modern Postural and Modern Denominational forms. Iyengar Yoga, one of the most influential schools of Modern Postural Yoga, is then analyzed in the light of this framework, while the conclusion shows how a typical Modern Postural Yoga session may be interpreted to reveal the forms and contents of a healing ritual of secular religion.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 302 pages
  • 156 x 234 x 16mm | 427g
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0826487726
  • 9780826487728
  • 416,075

Table of contents

Introduction; Part I: The Prehistory of Modern Yoga; 1. Roots of Modern Yoga; 2. The Religious Foundations of Modern Yoga; 3. Vivekananda and the Emergence of Neo-Vedantic Occultism; 4. "God-Realisation" and "Self-Realisation" in Neo-Vedanta; Part II: Modern Yoga Theory and Practice; 5. Vivekananda's Raja-Yoga (1896): Modern Yoga Formulated; 6. 20th Century Developments of Modern Yoga; 7. Theory and Practice of Lyengar Yoga; 8. Conclusion: Modern Postural Yoga as Healing Ritual of Secular; Religion
show more

Review quote

"'Carefully researched and closely-argued... Far more than a reconstruction of the history of Modern Yoga, the book is an important contribution to the history of Orientalism, the Brahmo Samaj, and Neo-Vedanta.' Professor David Gordon White, Department of Religious Studies University of California, Santa Barbara; 'A History of Modern Yoga is a timely work of astute, rigorous, critical scholarship. De Michelis has done an outstanding job.' Professor Joseph Alter, University of Pittsburgh"
show more

About Elizabeth de Michelis

Elizabeth De Michelis is Director of the Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.
show more

Rating details

34 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 24% (8)
4 35% (12)
3 35% (12)
2 6% (2)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X