Yoga—The Original Philosophy: De-Colonize Your Yoga Therapy

Yoga Therapy Today:32-37 (2022)
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This article, addressed to Yoga Therapists, sorts out the historical roots of our idea of Yoga, elucidates the colonial interference and distortion of Yoga, and shows that trauma and therapy are the primary focus of Yoga. However, unlike most philosophies of therapy, Yoga's solution is primarily moral philosophical---Yoga itself being a basic ethical theory, in addition to Virtue Theory, Consequentialism and Deontology. This article goes some way to elucidating that it is quite ironic (and absurd) that many feel the need to bring being “trauma-informed” into the title of Yoga education. That’s like the vacuous “chai tea” moniker (“chai” being the Hindi word for tea). Decolonizing our understanding of Yoga involves retrieving the original theory as the primary explanation of the topic, which allows us to understand how various activities, called "yoga," can be ways of practicing the moral philosophy of Yoga. The idea that "yoga" means many things and projects relies upon a contra logical methodology of interpretation which violates constraints of basic reasoning. Putting aside interpretation for explication is part of critical thinking but also our own self therapy. (Originally published in Yoga Therapy Today, a publication of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Shared with permission.)

Author's Profile

Shyam Ranganathan
York University


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