Volume 8, Issue 1, 2017
Interpretation of Yoga in Light of Western Esotericism
The Case of the Roerichs
Nowadays a trend to adapt traditional Indian Yoga for Western consumer society is becoming increasingly apparent. As a result of this adaptation, new forms of yoga are appearing in the West, among which Agni Yoga can also be listed. It was developed by theosophists Nicholas Roerich (1874–1947) and Helena Roerich (1879–1955), through turning against W. W. Atkinson’s (1862–1932) interpretation of yoga. Even though a wide variety of material is available about the Roerichs’ teaching, the yoga that they developed has not received much attention among either the followers of the Roerichs, or among the ranks of academic researchers. In dedicating this paper to the collation of Roerich’s yoga concept, it is hoped that this grey area will be filled in, but that it would also encourage research devoted to the comparative analysis of the yoga practiced in Hinduism, and in today’s Western world.