How Modern Yoga is Still Similar to the Ancient Way and How it is Growing Apart By Sam Chiang and for the cover photo

After my analysis of my research, I realized how much traditional ancient Hindu yoga has changed compared to commercialized yoga today.

Traditional ancient Hindu yoga used to have the sole purpose of controlling the senses and the mind with the purpose of breaking the cycle of samsara and achieving moksha.

During ancient days, traditional yoga used to have a very strong religious meaning to it. People across the world who believed in Hinduism would wake up every morning in order to perform Pranayam in order to worship. That was only the start.

However, this all changed when the young monk Swami Vivekananda showed westerners how they could achieve inner peace while pursuing the goals given by "western" mindset. This mindset is the feel and need for accomplishments and separating from the pack, which is the opposite of that of Hinduism. Eventually, the idea caught on and Swami Vivekananda started to give yoga lessons, and the idea spread.

Now, commercialized yoga is both similar and different.

Modern commercialized yoga is similar because it still has the same goal. That goal is to attempt to harmonize and take control of your mind, body, and soul. Their used to be a religious meaning to this, but now it allows westerners to find an "inner peace" without any religious meaning.

However, commercialized yoga has changed a lot and is very different. Besides the main goal, the meaning of yoga has been significantly changed. In traditional Hindu yoga, the meaning of completing yoga was to worship and it was full of prayer. However, now commercialized yoga is merely for the exercise and nothing else. It is a commercialized luxury with many people around the world participating in it. The deeper, spiritual, and religious meaning of yoga has significantly changed over the years, and has led to a brand new type of yoga, commercialized yoga.

While I was researching, I came up with some new questions. They are:

  • Why did commercialized yoga have to turn away from the religious meaning of ancient Hindu yoga?
  • What are other ways that modern yoga is used besides for commercialization?

Also, I realized why it is important that Americans must learn the history of Hinduism.

It is important because many people complete the exercise of yoga today and enjoy it. However, they do not know the origin of yoga, or the point of it. They merely complete it either because they enjoy the exercise, or the enjoy the social part of it, or doing it with friends. Americans should show more interest in an activity that many complete on a daily basis, and should care about the deeper historical background. This could easily be accomplished by a small lecture at the beginning of a yoga class about how yoga came to be through the ancient Hindu ways.


Hindu American Foundation, "Yoga Beyond Asana: Hindu Thought in Practice," Hindu American Foundation, accessed November 29, 2016,

Ashok Ojiha, "Yoga: Is therapy good without the philosophy?," THE JOURNAL OF ONLINE EDUCATION EDITION 99, accessed November 29, 2016,

"What yoga is... And what it's not," Times of India (India), June 22, 2016, [Page #],

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