Over the past few years, we have researched the origin and evolution of several postures and practices in this lineage. We thought we would gather them all together in one post, with convenient links.
Probably the most significant single piece of research we've done was organizing the postures taught by Bishnu Charan Ghosh and several of his prominent students. We found 113 total postures, with 27 of them that seem to have been central during Ghosh's lifetime. The full list is here, in all its detailed glory.
Of course, many of the postures in modern yoga trace back to the late hathayoga era, as physical practice was blossoming. It is noteworthy that all 10 of the older postures in Bikram's class were in the Gheranda Samhita, a text thought to be from Bengal (where Kolkata is).
Bow Posture, a staple of modern yoga, seems to have transformed in the 1920s. The posture dhanurasana is explained in hathayoga texts, but it was probably a different posture. Then, the modern backbend came became popular, and is now one of the most recognizable yoga postures.
Triangle Posture came into modern yoga in the 1920s, probably under the influence of gymnastics and calisthenics. But it wasn't until the 1970s that Bikram Choudhury transformed the posture into a deep sideways lunge that resembles a bodybuilding pose.
Tree Posture is old by any measure. But it has curiously changed names several times, called anything from ardha chandrasana to ardha padasana, vrikshasana to tadasana.
Modern Camel Posture, ushtrasana, seemingly came out of nowhere in the 1930s before completely overtaking the older version in the 1960s. Camel Posture has never looked back!
Standing Bow Posture is such a new phenomenon that it is hard to even trace where it comes from. Probably some combination of dance and gymnastics, and probably from the south of India. Bikram Choudhury seems to have evolved this posture into its modern form.
Scott & Ida are Yoga Acharyas (Masters of Yoga). They are scholars as well as practitioners of yogic postures, breath control and meditation. They are the head teachers of Ghosh Yoga.
- The 113 Postures of Ghosh Yoga
- Make the Hamstrings Strong, Not Long
- Understanding Chair Posture
- Lock the Knee History
- It Doesn't Matter If Your Head Is On Your Knee
- Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)
- 5 Reasons To Backbend
- Origins of Standing Bow
- The Traditional Yoga In Bikram's Class
- What About the Women?!
- Through Bishnu's Eyes
- Why Teaching Is Not a Personal Practice