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It is asked why I consider yoga unsuited to Western people. This statement needs clarification and qualification for as it stands it would be untrue. By the term "yoga" is meant the precise forms of practice which are traditional to India and which originated thousands of years ago. They can be followed in their fullness only by renouncing the world entirely, entering the monastic order, retiring to forest mountain or cave retreats, abjuring all family social and national responsibilities, and accepting Hindu deities as objects of devotion. The average Westerner today is not in a position to do this, nor is he intellectually attracted to it. This is all I meant by criticizing the suitability of such methods. The basic principle of yoga, which is the cultivation of power to withdraw attention from the external world to the internal self, stands for all time and all peoples. I therefore believe it better to separate it from the accidents and traditions of history and geography, to free it from local accretions and universalize it. But if this is done it is perhaps wiser not to use the term "yoga" and thus to avoid confusion.

-- Notebooks Category 4: Elementary Meditation > Chapter 1: Preparatory > # 121

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