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The author based his argument majorly on the fact that Sw Vivekananda has not mentioned much about asanas in his lectures and he claims about “Sw. Vivekananda’s asana-free manifestos of yoga” and, wrote a book on it debating the Indian origins.
In The Complete Works (Part 1, Chapter 2), Swami Vivekananda while discussing Raja Yoga states: “The next step is Asana, posture. A series of exercises, physical and mental, is to be gone through every day, until certain higher states are reached. Therefore it is quite necessary that we should find a posture in which we can remain long. That posture which is the easiest for one should be the one chosen”. However he cautions that one should not merely focus on strengthening physical health.
The above quote clearly shows that Sw Vivekananda recommended asanas which has ‘to be gone through every day’ till one can remain in a posture comfortably for long hours so that higher states can be reached. A practitioner will know, for one to remain without moving and comfortably with spine erect even for 15 minutes how many hours of asana practice is needed.
Another important fact that was overlooked is that, all the lectures and writings of Sw Vivekananda were addressed to the public, either Western or Indian. The detailed descriptions of asanas will not become the subject matter in them since his focus was on practical Vedanta and not on practical Yoga. Details about asanas and how they have to be practiced will be shared in personal instructions to his disciples as my own Guru Yogacharya Raparthi Rama Rao (1921-2014) did. In none of his public lectures were details of asanas mentioned but he used to focus on Vedanta and just like Swamiji, he used to caution several times that asanas and pranayama have to be done for the purpose for which they are meant and one should not overemphasize on them. He made us all practice asanas along with other limbs of yoga and used to discuss the details in his personal instructions or group classes.
The book by itself is written in an academic scholarly manner which is a good read.
Fellow Indians! Arise, Awake and Stop not till we interpret our culture and traditions in their true light!
-- Suneetha Kandi

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This is an academic piece of work, While the larger thesis is correct, that modern posture Yoga mostly practised in the west is far removed from classical Yoga, this is already well known in the yoga world. To make his thesis more interesting Singleton goes further but in doing so makes a number of claims that are inaccurate. Contrary to Singleton's claims, there are a number of documents and reports demonstrating that Asana's were a central place in classical Yoga and a Yogi's practice dating back at least to the 13th century. It is rather the sequencing and flow of Asana that has been systematised in modern times (largely by Krishnamacharya in the 1900s) . Evidence suggests that Yoga Asana (as one of the Patanjali's eight limbs of Yoga) has developed organically over the last 5,000 years from the original seated postures described by Patanjali, rather than Singleton's thesis that Asana's are largely inspired by European and American bodybuilding gymnastics. Singleton goes to far in this central claim and by doing so attempts to take a great Indian practice and artform away from its true source of origin.
This short 'Response' by Dr James Mallinson highlights some of Singleton's mistakes.

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