The Western Perception of Yoga
The Western perception of yoga is not wrong by any means. As mentioned above, it mainly considers one component of yoga — the physical act of ‘doing yoga’ — without acknowledging the other, equally important aspects of this practice. The Western world was introduced to yoga in the late 1800s, when Swami Vivekananda, an Indian guru and yogic scholar, sparked a wave of Eastern Yogi’s setting up teaching centres in the West. Some of these gurus, like Vivekananda himself, attracted a lot of attention from prominent authors, scientists, and socialites.
For example, Nikola Tesla was well aware of ancient concepts and the correlation it had with the science he was working on, using sanskrit worlds like “akasha” and “prana” to describe the force and matter that exists all around us; these words come from the Upanishads (a collection of Vedic texts). Not many people know that Tesla had correlations with Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902), who was one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the philosophies of Vedanta (one of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, the term originally referred to the Upanishads, a collection of philosophical texts in Hinduism) and yoga. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He is a giant figure in the history of the Hindu reform movements.