Know your (yoga) history

the big business of yoga
yoga is not a photo opp in times square

It is fascinating to watch the often messy evolution of Eastern yoga tradition into Western ‘yoga industrial complex’.

At the same time, is unfathomably challenging to participate in this movement in a way that is ethical, that adds value and that remains true to the powerful roots of the practice.

Yet that is our goal.

At BYCF, we bring you only the very best, most pure and most accurate information about the lineage(s) we study and teach.

many paths up the mountain

Traditionally, yoga has been a serious, highly committed practice that is transmitted directly and practically from an experienced teacher to a student, one-to-one, over the course of many years.

There is a specific sanskrit word ‘parampara‘ that describes the transmission of knowledge in its purest form. Ninety-nine percent of this teaching takes place face-to-face in the yoga room.

Sadly, much of this traditional method has been lost in a flurry of marketing campaigns, fancy outfits, flashy photos and social-media streams.

Yet there ARE ways to use our modern conveniences and technologies to improve and accelerate learning. To supplement a devoted, regular, sincere practice.

Below are several interviews and reviews of recent yoga books that we recommend. (Each of these titles is available to borrow from BYCF; we would also be happy to order you your own personal copy.)  When you have a few free moments, listen.

Honor the lineage by learning more. And then come to class.

The Science of Yoga

A lead science writer for The New York Times—and lifelong yoga practitioner—examines centuries of history and research to scrutinize the claims made about yoga for health, fitness, emotional wellbeing, sex, weight loss, healing, and creativity. He reveals what is real and what is illusory, in the process exposing moves that can harm or even kill. A New York Times bestseller.

The Science of Yoga draws on more than a century of painstaking research to present the first impartial evaluation of a practice thousands of years old. It celebrates what’s real and shows what’s illusory, describes what’s uplifting and beneficial and what’s flaky and dangerous—and why. Broad unveils a burgeoning global industry that attracts not only curious scientists but true believers and charismatic hustlers. He shatters myths, lays out unexpected benefits, and offers a compelling vision of how the ancient practice can be improved.

Curious? Listen to the NPR interview with author William Broad.

The Great OOM

More than fifteen million Americans currently practice yoga (according to Yoga Journal), but how many of them know the true story of how Downward Dog first captivated America? Resurrecting a fascinating and forgotten tale, journalist Robert Love returns to the Gilded Age, when Dr. Pierre Bernard (né Perry Baker in Iowa) revived a discipline banned in Victorian India, packaged it for Americans, and taught legions of followers, who bankrolled his luxurious Hudson River ashram- the first in the nation. Filled with Jazz Age celebrities, heiresses, spies, and outraged clergy, The Great Oom is the enthralling life story of the unlikeliest of gurus, and a stunning saga of mysticism, intrigue, and the American dream.

Here’s the interview from All Things Considered.

84 Asanas by Buddha Bose

To be published soon this book specifically addresses the yoga of Bishnu Ghosh. Like Bikram Choudhury (and Tony Sanchez), Buddha Bose was a student of Bishnu Gosh’s. Listen to the podcast with translator Jerome Armstrong here.

‘To this day, I’ve never seen any style of yoga have a bigger faster more dramatic effect on such a large group of people. It just flips their lives around.’ -host Lucas Rockwood

Listen and then come to class. This is the 1% theory. It’s no substitute for practice. That’s where the magic happens.

Practice and all is coming.

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