Understand Difference

The Evolution and Popularity of Yoga in the West

Introduction to Yoga in West

Yoga is a practice that originated in ancient India and has been around for over 5,000 years. In recent years, it has gained immense popularity in the West.

Yoga has evolved and transformed over the years, and it is now much more than just a physical exercise. It is a complete spiritual, mental, and physical discipline that can help improve your overall wellbeing.

However, this adaptation has also led to some changes in the essence of the practice.

History and Evolution

Yoga’s origins can be traced back to the Indus-Sarasvati civilization, which existed in the Indian subcontinent over 5,000 years ago. The practice back then was predominantly focused on meditation, breathing techniques, and physical postures.

It was only after the arrival of the British in India that yoga gained global recognition. The British rulers considered yoga to be a symbol of resistance against their colonial rule.

They were fascinated by its philosophy and the physical benefits the practice provided. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, yoga masters like Swami Vivekananda and Sri T.

Krishnamacharya began spreading the knowledge of yoga to the West. The practice gained a reputation as a means of achieving harmony between the body, mind, and soul.


Modern-day yoga has been heavily influenced by the West’s capitalistic society where people are more focused on appearance and body shape. Yoga has been secularized and transformed into a fitness practice.

In recent years, many fitness centers and studios have added yoga classes to their schedule. Yoga, in its original form, was a spiritual and holistic practice that incorporated the body, mind, and soul.

Today, it is common to see classes that focus only on the physical aspect of yoga, such as flexibility, strength, and balance. This transformation has brought criticism of people using yoga to merely gain physical benefits and ignoring other crucial aspects of yoga.

Bikram Yoga

Bikram Yoga is a modern style of hot yoga that has become quite popular in recent years. It was founded by Bikram Choudhary, an Indian yoga teacher who developed the 26-posture series and two breathing exercises that are performed in a room heated to 105F (40.6C) with a humidity level of 40%.

Founder and Origin

Bikram Choudhary was born and raised in Calcutta, India, where he started practicing yoga at the age of three. He learned yoga from his guru, Bishnu Ghosh, who was the brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, the author of the book “Autobiography of a Yogi.”

Bikram Yoga was first practiced in the 1970s and has since gained a massive following in the West. This physical practice is based on Hatha Yoga, which is about cultivating a balance between the body and mind.

Bikram Choudhary’s method is a distilled version of Hatha Yoga that is accessible to most people, regardless of their level of fitness or yoga experience.

Practice and Methodology

Bikram Yoga classes consist of the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises, which are repeated twice. The sequence of postures is designed to work the entire body, improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

The heat and humidity levels are supposed to help detox the body and increase the intensity of the practice. The practice is challenging, and it requires a lot of energy and stamina to complete the entire sequence.

The heat and humidity levels can take some getting used to, but regular practice can bring about significant improvements in overall fitness levels.

Popularity and Celebrity Endorsements

Bikram Yoga’s popularity has grown in recent years, and many celebrities have endorsed it. Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, among others, have all admitted to practicing

Bikram Yoga regularly.

Celebrities have played a significant role in

Bikram Yoga’s rise to fame. Their endorsement of the practice has helped to increase awareness and make it more accessible to people.


Yoga is a time-tested practice that has been around for over 5,000 years. It is a holistic practice that incorporates physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.

The practice has been secularized in the West, and its modern forms focus more on the physical aspect of the practice.

Bikram Yoga is a popular style that has gained a massive following in the West. Its creator, Bikram Choudhary, developed a unique sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that are performed in a heated room.

The practice has become popular among celebrities and has helped to make yoga more accessible to people. In conclusion, regular practice of Yoga has numerous benefits, and it can help you achieve a better state of wellbeing.

Its holistic nature provides a balance between the mind, body, and soul, making it an excellent practice for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Moksha Yoga

Moksha Yoga is a hot yoga style that has gained a lot of popularity in recent times. It is similar to

Bikram Yoga but with some distinct differences.

Moksha Yoga was created by Ted Grant and Jessica Robertson and is sometimes referred to as Modo Yoga in the US.

Founders and Development

Ted Grant and Jessica Robertson founded

Moksha Yoga in Canada in 2004. The pair were yoga teachers who recognized the need for an environmentally sustainable yoga practice that was accessible to everyone.

They envisioned a practice that could promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being while also being mindful of its impact on the environment.

Moksha Yoga grew in popularity, and in 2013, the first

Moksha Yoga studio was opened in Los Angeles, marking the brand’s entry into the US market. Today, the practice has over 70 locations worldwide.

Practice and Methodology

Moksha Yoga involves a heated room that is similar to

Bikram Yoga, and students practice a series of 40 postures that are designed to work the entire body. The sequence is divided into sections that target different areas of the body and includes forward folds, backbends, and twisting postures.

Moksha Yoga studios are environmentally friendly, and they use sustainable materials to construct their studios and use cleaning and heating systems that minimize their impact on the environment. The practice also has a strong emphasis on mindfulness, and studios often hold events and classes that promote social and environmental awareness.

Popularity and Low Cost

Moksha Yoga has become popular among a diverse segment of the population due to its accessibility. Classes are typically affordable, making yoga accessible to people who may not be able to afford more expensive yoga classes.

The practice has a strong presence in the US, Canada, and Australia, with studios located in most major cities. The practice’s affordability has contributed to its popularity, with people from all walks of life being able to attend classes and reap the benefits of the practice.

Comparison between Bikram and

Moksha Yoga

Hot yoga is a trending type of yoga known for its ability to induce sweating and detoxify the body. Moksha and

Bikram Yoga are both types of hot yoga, but they have some significant differences.


The primary similarity between

Moksha Yoga and

Bikram Yoga is the heated room. Both styles of yoga are performed in a heated room that can reach temperatures of up to 105F.

The heat is meant to intensify the practice, increase flexibility and strength and can help with detoxification.


The number of exercises:

Bikram Yoga follows a fixed sequence of 26 postures and two breathing exercises that are repeated twice. In contrast,

Moksha Yoga has 40 different postures that can vary from one class to another.

Room Temperature:

Bikram Yoga’s heated practice room is traditionally set at 105F, whereas

Moksha Yoga prefers a room temperature of 95F. Some

Moksha Yoga classes are also offered at lower temperatures to accommodate different levels of students.

Environmental Impact:

Moksha Yoga is marketed as an eco-friendly yoga practice that is environmentally sustainable. The practice follows a set of environmental guidelines that include using environmentally sustainable materials and minimizing its carbon footprint.

Bikram Yoga, on the other hand, does not have any explicit environmental focus.


In conclusion, hot yoga is a popular form of yoga that involves performing yoga postures in a heated room.

Bikram Yoga and

Moksha Yoga are two popular styles of hot yoga that share similarities but also have their respective differences.

Bikram Yoga is known for its 26 postures and two breathing exercises, its high room temperature (105F), and its celebrity endorsements.

Moksha Yoga, on the other hand, has 40 different postures, is eco-friendly, and has affordable classes making yoga accessible to a vast majority of people.


Moksha Yoga and

Bikram Yoga can offer tremendous benefits when practiced regularly. They can increase physical strength, flexibility, and mental clarity, as well as providing a space for personal growth and development.

Yoga in the West

Yoga originated in ancient India and was initially practiced as a means to attain spiritual well-being. The practice has evolved over time and has become increasingly popular in the West.

Today, yoga has become a multi-billion dollar industry with millions of practitioners worldwide. Yoga has come a long way since its arrival in the West.

The British rulers initially introduced it in India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and over time, the practice evolved, becoming more secular and accessible to people of all cultures and backgrounds. In the West, yoga has evolved into a multi-faceted industry that includes various styles, classes, and studios.

It is now much more than a spiritual practice; it has become a means of promoting health and overall wellbeing.

Benefits and Popularity

Yoga is a complete physical, mental, and spiritual discipline that provides numerous benefits to practitioners. The practice can help improve overall health, alleviate stress and anxiety, and promote physical fitness.

Several studies have shown that yoga can help alleviate the symptoms of a range of medical conditions, including arthritis, chronic pain, and diabetes. The popularity of yoga has grown exponentially in recent years, with millions of people regularly practicing the discipline.

There are several factors contributing to the mainstreaming of yoga in the West, including the accessibility of its practices. It is now common to see yoga studios popping up across the country, and classes are available at all times of the day, accommodating busy schedules.

The diversity of yoga classes, catering to different levels of practice and different physical and spiritual needs, has also contributed to the growth of the industry. The practice’s physical benefits have also contributed to its widespread popularity, making it a popular choice for people looking to build their fitness levels.

Yoga provides a low-impact workout that can help strengthen and tone muscles, improve flexibility, and burn calories.


In conclusion, the evolution of yoga in the West has been both fascinating and impressive. From being a little-known practice primarily confined to India, the practice has transformed into a global industry, with millions of practitioners worldwide.

The benefits of yoga are numerous, including physical fitness, better health and disease prevention, and emotional and spiritual benefits. Its popularity has grown exponentially, thanks to its accessibility, diversity of practice, and positive results.

While yoga has strayed from its origins as a purely spiritual practice, it has undoubtedly made a positive impact on people’s lives. It has grown to become a practice that is more inclusive and accessible than ever before, providing benefits that encompass the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of human well-being.

With its unique benefits, the future of yoga in the West seems brighter than ever before. In conclusion, the practice of yoga has undergone significant changes in the West over the years.

From its spiritual roots in ancient India, it has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry focused on physical health and overall well-being. Yoga offers a wide range of benefits, including improved physical fitness, stress reduction, and enhanced mental clarity.

Its popularity continues to grow, with accessible classes, diverse styles, and celebrity endorsements helping to make it a mainstream practice. While some traditionalists may lament the secularization of yoga, its ability to adapt and reach a larger audience has allowed it to positively impact the lives of millions.

Whether seeking physical fitness, stress relief, or spiritual growth, yoga offers something for everyone. As more individuals discover the transformative power of yoga, its influence in the West will likely continue to grow, promoting overall health and wellness for years to come.

Popular Posts