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Swami Chidananda Saraswati, head of the internationally known Sivananda Ashram (Divine Life Society) in Rishikesh, India explains that:

Yoga is not mere acrobatics . Some people suppose that Yoga is primarily concerned with the manipulation of the body into various queer positions, standing on the head, for instance, or twisting about the spine, or assuming any of the numerous odd poses which are demonstrated in the text-books on Yoga. These techniques are correctly employed in one distinct type of Yoga practice, but they do not form an integral part of the most essential type. Physical posture serve at best as an auxiliary, or a minor form of Yoga.

Yoga and Medicine

What constitutes success with Yoga: There are many implications to the shift from traditional to modern perspectives on the nature of Yoga. For example, in relation to the success of modern Yoga and traditional Yoga, there are also two perspectives:

  • Modern view of success with Yoga: According to the modern view, the success of Yoga is evidenced by the state of the physical body and the reduction of physical disease.
  • Traditional view of success with Yoga: According to the ancient view, the success of Yoga is evidenced by the degree to which one experiences realization of the eternal Self, which is beyond the physical body, its maladies, and its inevitable demise.