Biography of a Yogi

Paramahansa Yogananda and the Origins of Modern Yoga

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Anya P. Foxen
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , August
     264 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.


With over four million copies in print, Paramahansa Yogananda's autobiography has served as a gateway into yoga and alternative spirituality for North American practitioners since 1946. Balancing traditional yoga, metaphysical spirituality, and a flair for the stage, Yogananda inspired countless people to practice Yogoda, his own brand of yoga. His method combined the spiritual and superhuman aspirations of Indian traditions with the health-oriented sensibilities of Western practice. 

Because the Yogoda program does not rely on recognizable postures and poses, it has remained under the radar of yoga scholarship. Biography of a Yogi examines Yogananda's career and Yogoda in the wider context of the development of yoga in the twentieth century. Focusing on Yogis during this early period of transnational popularization, Foxen highlights the continuities in the concept of the Yogi as superhuman and traces the transformation of yoga from a holistic and spiritual practice to its present-day postural practice.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Anya P. Foxen teaches in the religious studies program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara and is a certified yoga instructor and long-time practitioner.


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