Reflections on Yoga History

After reading Yoga Body, by Mark Singleton, I’m left with the realization that I don’t connect with the history of yoga. Or at least not this history. I read about it, but I don’t find it – feel it – in my weekly practice. The history isn’t why I come to my mat. My reason is something personal, something steeped in the modern form of this movement style.

Does that make my practice less authentic, not the real yoga? I don’t think so. But it does make me wonder: where does my yoga history start?

Does it begin with my first class? The first time I was energized by a movement? When I discovered value in yoga beyond being simply a form of exercise – when I first connected with it? Does it have a static beginning, or does that change as my practice and my perspective changes?

History isn’t a fixed event. It builds on itself as we move forward. It also seems to expand ever further backwards the more we learn. So, for now my yoga history starts with the first class I took, back in grad school, that inspired me to start my own practice. But as I move forward and continue my practice, that might change. I may one day find a connection with the ancient history of yoga, and then that will become the start of my yoga history. Or maybe it will be another moment entirely.

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