As excitement mounts for celebrating the first United Nations International Yoga
Day, many people talk about the ‘recent’ popularity of Yoga in the United
They quote pop icon Madonna as one of the key celebrities who popularized
They list the scores of different styles of yoga studios mushrooming across
They say it all happened in the past 15-20 years.
Yoga was introduced and popularized almost a hundred years ago!
Yes, by the enlightened Paramhansa Yogananda after he landed in USA 1920 to
address the famous Congress of Religious Liberals in Boston.
Later, he toured hundreds of cities, taught the largest yoga classes in the
world of that time.
He introduced yoga by writing books and by training trainers in the long
continuance of his great mission, "Yoga for the West".
He called his yoga Kirya Yoga.
In his words, The Kriya Yogi mentally directs your life energy to revolve,
upward and downward, around the six spinal centers which correspond to the
twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man.
One-half minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of
man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals
one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.
In 32 years that the spent in the United States, he personally initiated in
yoga no less than 100,000 students.