How yoga became part of American culture

It is clear that yoga is not a foreign term or idea to Americans. It is now a part of our way of life — whether as a way to de-stress or as a form of physical exercise.

Yoga’s ancient roots are found in the ancient Hindu text, the Rig Veda, said to be more than 3,000 years old. The word yoga in Sanskrit means “to join.”

“Literally, according to the Sanskrit, yoga means to unite. Most of us think of it as a union of our nose to our knees or our fingers to our toes.

Born and raised in a Jewish family in Los Angeles, Saraswati became a monk after a visit to Rishikesh, a holy Hindu city in India, deeply affected her, calling it “an incredible experience of awakening.”

According to the Yoga Sutra, considered to be the first systematized presentation of yoga in text, the practice is characterized as “the cessation of the mind’s fluctuations.”

Yoga traditionally takes three forms: bhakti, the yoga of devotion and love, jnana, the yoga of knowledge, and karma, the yoga of selfless action.

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