Uncovering Vyāyāma in Yoga

  • Jerome Armstrong George Mason University


This chapter aims to show how the 19th-century revival of vyāyāma became a source for modern yoga to emerge in India during the first half of the 20th century. In order to do so it will look at the contents of four exercise texts: Gymnastics Part One (1874); Gymnastics Part Two, Vyāyāma Śikṣak (1875); Vyāyāma Dīpike (1896); and Vyāyāma Śikṣak (1904). It will examine these texts alongside a broad historical understanding of the vyāyāma traditions of India in the classical and medieval periods, and will explore the cross-currents of vyāyāma in haṭhayoga and modern yoga. The research will lead us to understand how the syncretic nature of today’s globalised yoga is nothing new. This feature is common throughout the historical development of physical yoga, both in the formative period of modern yoga and the amalgamation process of haṭhayoga over past centuries.

Author Biography

Jerome Armstrong, George Mason University

Jerome Armstrong is the author of Calcutta Yoga: How Modern Yoga Traveled to the World from the Streets of Calcutta (Macmillan 2020); and the editor of translation in the republished Gouri Shankar Mukerji: Yoga and Medicine, 84 Yoga Asanas (Webstrong 2017); and Buddha Bose: Yoga Asanas (Webstrong 2015). He is also the author of Crashing the Gate Netroots, Grassroots and the Rise of People-Powered Politics (Chelsea Green 2006), and contributed “How a Blogger and the Dean Campaign Discovered Each Other,” in Mousepads, Shoe Leather, and Hope: Lessons from the Howard Dean Campaign for the Future of Internet Politics (Routledge 2007). He has MAs (Linguistics & Philosophy) from Portland State University; PhD from George Mason (Conflict Analysis & Resolution). Jerome practices and teaches qi gong on a farm in Arusha, Tanzania. The “Roam The World” channel (youtube.com/jeromearmstrong) documents his latest travels and writings.

How to Cite
ARMSTRONG, Jerome. Uncovering Vyāyāma in Yoga. Journal of Yoga Studies, [S.l.], v. 4, p. 271 – 302, apr. 2023. ISSN 2664-1739. Available at: <https://journalofyogastudies.org/index.php/JoYS/article/view/JoYS.2023.V4.07>. Date accessed: 15 june 2024.