A pithy, energetic, and not-too dumbed down article (I mean, c’mon, we’ve had 10-years of that style of yoga reporting–the, ‘wow, it’s really weird, but I kind of like it,’ stuff) on the cultural background of Om, Hatha, and other fundamentals of yoga class. Nice to see yoga in the “grammar” section, though it’s not exactly grammar. B.K.S. Iyengar does more parsing of “Om” in the intro to his classic book, Light on Yoga. It’s more of a history lesson. But who’s counting?
The writer, Jaimie Epstein, a Jivamukti-trained yoga teacher, former copy editor and sometime-stand-in for William Safire’s “On Language” column for the NYT Magazine, says that Hatha yoga’s, “present-day roots go back to the Nathas, an Orc-like breed of mercenaries in medieval India who resurrected the methods of hathayoga in the hope of developing the supernatural powers, like invisibility.”
The article is a handy little primer with personality on the various styles of yoga popular right now and how they got there, and of the poses you’ll find in it. “After an hour or so of pretending you’re three-cornered and sitting like a hero, you’ll get to play dead in savasana, corpse pose, which isn’t a gruesome nod to slasher movies but a way of allowing you to experience the lightness of total surrender.”
Lastly, be sure to check out the line of figures in poses at the top of the article. The one third from the end seems to have aquired an extra thigh joint.in History.