Yoga has come to be an Icon of Indian culture and civilization and it is widely regarded as being timeless and unchanging. Based on extensive ethnographic research and an analysis of both ancient and modern texts, Yoga in modern India challenges this popular view by examining the history of Yoga, focusing on its emergence in modern India and its dramatically changing form and significance in the twentieth century. Joseph Alter argues that yoga’s transformation into a popular activity idolized for its health value is based on modern ideas about science and medicine.
Joseph S. Alter is Professor of Anthropology and Research Professor at the University Center for International Studies, University of Pittsburgh. He is the author of “The Wrestler’s Body, Knowing Dil Das”, and “Gandhi’s Body”.