Teaching Yoga in India, Back in the day
The recent “Take Back Yoga” campaign had me thinking of the plight of yoga and yoga teachers in India, 50-60 years ago. Long before yoga exploded in the West, yoga wasn’t getting much support and attention in India either. In addition, recent research has shown that the relationship between modern asanas sacred texts aren’t as strong as previously claimed. So to me, the “Take Back Yoga” campaign is most likely just a clever marketing campaign.
From B.K.S. Iyenggar’s Light on Life, page 53:
… As I have said, society as a whole thought that anyone who wanted to make a career as a yoga teacher was mad as well as a good for nothing. The climate of opinion was that it was acceptable to become a priest or a renunciate, but yoga as a profession was beyond pale. An even greater source of pain was my family’s disapproval and ostracism.
… Hindus are also traditionally forbidden to cross the sea. After my first teaching trip to England in 1954, I stopped in Bangalore to pay my respects to my maternal uncle. He refused to even let me in the house.