Yoga, Patanjali and Buddhism
This is an interesting article on commercialized ‘yoga’ in the West. I think the article is marred by its use of the concept of NPD (narcisistic personality disorder). This tactic has been a frequent label pinned on new agers, and it misses the point.
Is the search for enlightenment an example of NPD?
But the history of yoga in India has always been suspect, and tis snippet of history is of interest:
On its face, Hell-Bent fits nicely into the emerging genre of the yoga “memoir,” including a growing number written by men. But Lorr, who’s a genuine reporter, is far less interested in trying to figure himself out – the bane of nearly every other work of this kind – than in actually documenting and reporting on the yoga world around him. Some early parts of the book analyzing yoga’s history (for example, pp. 54-60) are truly exceptional. According to Lorr, what we know as “Hatha” yoga in the West — be it Bikram’s eccentric version or the more mainstream Iyengar or Asthanga variants – has virtually nothing to do with the ancient practice so often extolled by marketers as Hatha’s forebear. Lorr argues that even the great Patanjali, who fashioned the hallowed “Yoga Sutras,” was little more than a skillful archivist and cataloguer who brought together the disparate elements of yoga practice then floating around India into a common system that derived its inspiration not from Hinduism but from Buddhism. (Patanjali’s “eight-limbed” system of yoga based on breathing, meditation, and ethical precepts were largely inspired by the Buddhist “eight-fold” path, Lorr argues).