Q:

Who introduced yoga to the West?

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Quick Answer

An Indian man named Vivekananda may be the earliest and most prominent pioneer to introduce Westerners to yoga, but his version of the practice is quite different from most modern yoga practices in the United States. Vivekananda tended to speak more about meditation and other topics relating to Eastern philosophy, but his widespread popularity throughout the United States, which began in the late 1800s, helped pave the way for future yogis to introduce the physical side of yoga to a Western audience.

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Who introduced yoga to the West?
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Full Answer

Theos Bernard, an American-born man who studied yoga techniques in India, published an English-language book on the hatha style of yoga in 1947. It was one of the first widespread guides for yoga practice in the West. Other Western yoga practitioners worked to popularize the practice during the post-war, mid-century era, including Indra Devi, who published multiple popular books. BKS Iyengar is another major name in Western yoga. Iyengar had the support of celebrities, which may have helped him become more popular than his predecessors.

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