Basic yoga stretches on 11 This change in orientation is, for Alter, the defining moment in the emergence of modern yoga. For the first time, the physical, worldly and health-promoting aspects of yoga were given priority over the mental, spiritual and liberation-promoting ones. The proliferation of modern forms of yoga, many developed by Westerners, can be seen to be rooted in this fundamental shift.12 Moreover, it would be fair to say that in the West and, indeed, in much of modern India, a yoga class is generally understood to be concerned with physical movement, stretching and breathing first and with meditation, philosophy and spirituality only second. What needs to be realized, however, is that spiritually oriented yoga did not fail to make the journey to the West; it just did so under other names. DeMichelis has constructed a fourfold typology of modern yoga that distinguishes between Modern Psychosomatic Yoga, Modern Denominational Yoga, Modern Postural Yoga and Modern Meditational Yoga, though she does point out that Modern Yoga types will and do overlap when observed in the field. 13 The most important difference, in my view, is that between those forms of practice that are concerned primarily with the body, meditation perhaps being introduced as a practitioner advances, and those that emphasize mental culture, with perhaps some encouragement to undertake physical practices. Basic yoga stretches 2016.
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