We are therefore witnessing a continuing process of ideological adaptation and adjustment, of which I believe that most if not all of the pre-modern and colonial yoga scriptures are an expression. These scriptures were not written for students, but for the surrounding community and state. Their purpose in life was to signal changes in order to become accepted by those in power or by the local community – both providing the economic basis. In short the purpose was not to transmit knowledge but to send symbolic signals.
But nothing lasts – not even the authority of yoga. In the 18 to early 19 Century the status of yoga – its underlying semiotic code or habitus – weakened dramatically. This downturn of authority had perhaps already commenced in medieval times, but probably accelerated due to the Bhakti movement, the yogi identity being taken over by the Mughal Lumpenproletariat and the hegemony of British modernity. It was not of much social benefit to claim to represent the yoga tradition’. Yoga orthodoxy lost its powers as the yoga power discourse withered. However, yoga came back into fashion as it was re-vitalised by Hindu nationalism and Western Orientalism. Suddenly people often from the new middle classes claimed to be gurus and sages representing the true essence of ancient yoga. This renaissance of yoga orthodoxy found its way into Western milieus of spirituality and romanticism. In modern times yoga orthodoxy and essentialism were subject to opposing tensions: on the one hand yoga received its identity by claiming roots in a far distant past and on the other hand the processes of modernity and the competition with similar discourses forced yoga to undergo exceptionally fast changes.
As the yoga discourse was a power discourse from day one generating symbolic value and capital, it is of little surprise that it became involved in orthodox ideologies. It did not have to be so, but the cocktail of essentialism, mysticism and orthodoxy in combination with the yoga power discourse was a strong proposition for many social groups and milieus. This cocktail became an important factor in the dynamic of the yoga field.
Many poses are described in several stages, which allows you Yoga alliance to choose the level of challenge that suits you. We recommend that you begin with Stage Yoga alliance I, and if it is quite easy, progress through the stages until you find the one that is moderately challenging for you. Stay with that stage for a few weeks or so, and when it becomes too easy, move on to the next stage. It is nearly indispensable to have a yoga therapist, physician, or physical therapist to help with positioning and to check you at least monthly to be sure that the correct muscles are actually doing the right thing. You should obtain scoliosis X-rays every six months to measure your progress. A change of more than six degrees is meaningful. Purpose: To use strength and leverage to bring the spine more into balance, and to strengthen the muscles that do so. Contraindications: Anterior labral tear, herniated lumbar disc, recent vertebral fracture.
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