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THE BIG BOOK OF YOGA: THE YOGA FAMILY TREEHOUSE

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Yoga in the Modern Era

Today there are literally dozens of different styles of Hatha Yoga to chose from. Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Couples Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Restorative Yoga...even Acrobat Yoga (for your inner trapeze artist)! If you really look closely, though, you'll find that most of these systems can be traced back to a core group of 4 or 5 prominent yoga teachers from the early 20th century.

By far and away, the yoga lineage which has had the greatest impact on the state of Yoga in the world today stems from the great yogi T. Krishnamacharya. His students included BKS

Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Indra Devi, Srivatsa Ramaswami, and TKV Desikachar, all of whom were instrumental in bringing Hatha Yoga out of India.

The Yoga lineage of Swami Sivananda Saraswati of Rishikesh comes in as a close second in terms of global influence. Sivananda published hundreds of books on Yoga, and his students Vishnu-devananda and Satyananda went on to found two of the largest Yoga schools in the world today. Yogananda, Swami Rama, Osho, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and Swami Kripalvanand were all other major Yoga influences of the past 100 years.

There are, however, many unsung and under-credited yogis of the 20th century, who were instrumental in bringing Yoga to its current world-renowned status, but for various reasons have become relatively obscure. Early Hatha Yoga PracticionerTheos Bernard is one such example - a Columbia University scholar who went to India and Tibet in the 1930s, where he was recognized as a reincarnated lama (a Tibetan spiritual teacher)9. During his time in India, Bernard went deeply into the study of Yoga and meditation. With movie star good looks, and an incredible mastery of physical techniques, Bernard's seminal classic, Hatha

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Yoga, was quite literally the book that introduced authentic Hatha Yoga to the United States.

Other important but little known yogis of the 20th century include Swami Kuvalayananda, Maharishi Kartikeya, and Sri Yukteshwar. Also, many teachers who weren't specifically teaching Hatha Yoga still helped to bring Yoga into the world spotlight as it began to branch out from India. Such teachers include Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (made famous by the Beatles), Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), and Jiddu Krishnamurti.

Below is an interactive illustration of the "family tree" of modern yoga - have a look around and see if there's anyone you recognize...

Photo Montage of Great Yoga Masters
From left to right, clockwise from the top left: Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, Sri Bhagawan Rajneesh (Osho), Jiddu Krishnamurti, Swami Vivekananda, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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