9 Key Difference between Indian Yoga Vs Western Yoga

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The Spiritual Power Of Chanting Gayatri Mantra (गायत्री मंत्र)

By Rishikul Yogshala

January 20, 2020

Yoga cannot be characterized as Western Yoga or Indian Yoga. Just call it Yoga! It is true that over the years, many modifications and innovative practices have reformed Yoga, but that does not erase the fact that Yoga wasn’t born in different countries. The mother of Yoga is one, and that is Vedas. Know more about Yoga from other holy scriptures of Upanishads, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Patanjali Yoga Sutras, and also the sacred book of Bhagavad Gita.

Today, Yoga is differentiated based on geographical grounds. Eastern Yoga and Western Yoga is nothing but a communication gap. The little improvements in Yoga are done in order to adapt to the changes. As you know that Yoga is a 5000 years old practice that continues even today. Knowing that the human age has come a long way, it is understood that with human evolution, we faced yogic evolution as well. Eastern Yoga is the original source of Yoga, while Western Yoga is a more adaptable one. There is nothing wrong with the two, it is a matter of choice, availability, and also personal preference.

India Yoga or Eastern Yoga is the original or the traditional form of Yoga, from which all the other forms and styles have been inspired. In the ancient teachings, the first form of Yoga that was ever introduced was Hatha Yoga, it further gave birth to Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and other forms that exist today.

The reason of Yoga being so famous in Western countries is that many yogis like Swami Vivekananda contributed in spreading the awareness and extended the art of Yoga in the West. He felt that the need for Yoga was increasing in Western countries too, because of the many mental problems which were spreading like wildfire all over the world. So, al Yoga practices in the West are directly or indirectly attached to the Indian roots only.

9 Key Difference between Indian Yoga Vs Western Yoga

  1. Yoga Centers and Yoga Ashrams
    One of the major differences is in the accommodation provided for yogis to nurture themselves. In India- more attention is given to the natural environment, as the main goal is to let the yogi connect with nature. To bridge the gap between the two, India prefers ashrams, which function organically using sustainable resources while in the West, the main attention has been given in setting up yogic centers.
  2. Modern land and Spiritual land
    West is more inclined towards providing the modern amenities while India focuses more on enhancing the spiritual experience by appreciating minimalism. So, the East provides simple yogic living with only necessary requirements like yogis lived in the ancient world. This philosophy is borrowed from the lifestyle of yogis where more emphasis is given to cut on the outside world and garden the inside world.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  3. The difference in Diet plans
    Places like Kerala in India are known for their Ayurvedic influence all over the world. The idea behind it is to heal the body from within by using Ayurvedic herbs, spices, and other ingredients in the diet plan. Vegetarian food is served in the Yogic training and yoga retreats while in the West it is difficult for the organizers to keep up with the organic living standards. Therefore, West provides other diet plans as well which are not really a yogic diet plan that cleanses the body with herbal green teas, vegetables, and seasonal fruits. 
  4. Yoga gurus and teachers
    The relationship of Indian gurus with their students is totally different from the Western Yoga teachers. Indian yoga gurus mold their students towards the path of spirituality, conscious living, and self-awareness before engaging the students into performing asanas and yoga postures. They use the ancient history of Yoga to help students understand better what they are diving themselves into. While the western yoga teachers mainly focus on exercises and physical movements more than mental flexibility.
  5. Picked-out Yoga styles
    Few Yoga forms are a modified form of the older version of Yoga. In the West, fitness plays an important role which is why Yoga is also made more of a fitness practice. For example, new-age styles like Hot Yoga, Yin Yoga, Aerial Yoga, Acro Yoga, Aqua Yoga, etc. are more of an innovation than an existing idea of what Yoga really is. The traditional or original art forms of Yoga like Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga hold more substance in India.
  6. Peaceful and Intense Yoga
    As we all know that Yoga is not just about body flexibility, it is more about harmonizing the mental, physical and spiritual health. The West is trying its best to enhance this ideology but India is already an expert in providing the best yogic training all over the world in a peaceful environment. Before creating an intense environment, the need to make the mind calmer becomes a priority.
  7. Commercialization over Originality in West
    East and West are miles apart, but not when the goal is the same; which is to balance the mind, body, and soul. Mental health needs more attention than it gets, based on the current surveys of stress-related issues. This can be fixed through the mystical properties of Yoga, but only if the practices are not oriented towards commercialization. The more commercial it is, the less original it becomes!
  8. Natural ambiance and Material luxury
    Creating a natural ambiance, that is, being in the middle of the forests, around the holy rivers, or just mountains. It raises the vibration, energy, and inner-power of the aspiring yogis. This cannot be achieved if material luxury is being given more importance than nature. In the spiritual world, real luxury is to have nothing and still be everything!
  9. Long-term and short-term results
    Yoga doesn’t restrict itself to short-term goals; rather it is a mere pleasure to be patient to further enjoy the long-term goals. Only if you are consistent, disciplined, and passionate; you can gain the rewards which follow the trail of Yoga. West provides a wide range of programs but in comparatively less duration than the East.

West and the East are doing a great job to maintain the rhythm of Yoga in the hearts of people.

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