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Times warns about `cult of the yogis'

October 22, 2006

Oct. 22, 1911: Yoga practice was getting popular in Los Angeles, The Times reported under the ominous headline: "A Hindu Apple for Modern Eve, The Cult of the Yogis Lures Women to Destruction."

"At first their way lay through the populous cities where the sun rises now on the gilded minarets of their mosques and pagodas. More recently they have reached the smaller towns and villages where have been formed branches and circles that are exerting a widely increasing influence," The Times said.

"The yoga class is becoming as popular as ... the Shakespeare class. It is the direct means by which a Swami reaches the public. It is the promise of eternal youth that attracts women to yoga, the promise which is found intertwined with most of the pagan religions."

Yoga, The Times warned, "is a dangerous knowledge to lure any but the best balanced brain. In the pursuit of it, too often the listening devotee is offering her sacrifices even at the altar of her soul." As evidence, The Times cited women who had started to sunbathe nude or "abandoned home and husband and children to join the sun worshippers."

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