• Yoga: A Living History

    Posted in Blog by Eric Shaw

    Seven years of investigation and two years of writing . . .

    have produced 300 pages of carefully researched material on the East-West yoga conversation . . .

    revealing . . .

    its strange Asian origins,
    its conveyance to the West via the Greeks,
    its discussion by stray travelers in Europe’s Middle Ages,
    it’s day-to-day reality in conversation with the Brits in post-1750 India,
    and its sunburst-rise to Western prominence after Vivekananda promoted its practical side during his meteoric rise to U.S. fame after 1893.

    Then . . .

    Yoga annealed itself to self-help attitudes in the early 1900s,
    co-opted group fitness rituals in the 1930s
    and became marginally hip among beatniks and alt types in the 1950s.
    The 60s saw the raw enthusiasm of a new youth movement give yoga primacy in the hunt for peak experiences,
    the 70s made it a cult,
    and the 80s delivered it to the gym as it offered new styles to sweat out one’s flexibility in.

    Closer to this day . . .

    Legitimacy stalked yoga in the 1990s as America became grandly cosmopolitan, terminally body-conscious and ready to sacrifice cash in a refreshed spiritual marketplace.

    And then a very long sentence . . .

    In the New Millennium, markets themselves claimed yoga as a symbol of holism and joy for products seeking the attention of a mainly female and lifestyle-conscious consumers as the inherent beauty of yoga posture and the aura of Eastern mysteries brought wealth to celebrity yoga teachers who now performed at festivals with pop music legends while their spotlit lives seemed to be what yoga had become even as the practice retained the promise of tattered Sadhus, committed to a cave-labors in the Himalayas, trading a life’s promise for revelations from putative cellphone-hook-ups to the Whole . . .

    This is my book project.

    This note is ostensibly for the Lords of Kickstarter.

    Nevertheless . . .

    All Readers! I am seeking benefactors of every color and stripe to help me finish the manuscript! I am grateful for the miracle of:

    • volunteer editors,
    • those with rare yoga books,
    • people with rare yoga stories (particularly about historical personages),
    • people with rare images (I get particularly excited about this!),
    • fellow writers in the field with info/perspectives to share,
    • and most of all, monetary benefactors.

    Research writing is very effortful. It may take a week to get facts for a given paragraph. The lights and rent must be paid while hours translate into writing and wisdom.

    It is rather bald to put it this way, but nevertheless . . .!

    Donations may be sent to me personally even before I kick everything off. But hey, participate in my Kickstarter Event when it knocks on your door all the same!

    I’m Eric Shaw who lives at 2420 Virginia St., Berkeley, CA: 94709. Good weirdos are welcome, but bad wierdos, please don’t knock at my door. Everybody is welcome to send me stuff (though nothing icky).

    Kind friends and strangers will receive the following rewards for the stated donations (which are being brainstormed and prepared for the Kickstarter campaign, but I may as well make them valid for all climes and seasons on this Earth!). More Rewards to come. (Special requests considered.)

    1) A never-before-published Complete Timeline and Connect-the-Dots History of Yoga for a $25 donation.

    2) An exclusive group tele-conference on yoga history for $100

    3) An invitation-only evening lecture with the author for $250

    4) A Day Outing with the author visiting historical yoga sites in the Bay Area for a donation of $1000.

    All contributions over $125 will receive a copy of the book, signed and dedicated by the author.

    Lesser and greater contributions are also welcome.
    My gratitude is great for support of every kind.

    Yours truly,
    Eric Shaw

    Masters of Education, Masters of Religious Studies, Hindu Studies PhD ABD

    Tags:  Eric Shaw Yoga, History of Yoga, Yoga Philosophy

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