So, I travel to the deepest parts of Africa, out in the “bush”. People see me and for no reason, at all, they stop what they are doing and go into some poses. We call these poses Yoga, but they do not. They don’t call them anything. I ask them, “who taught you how to do Yoga”? They respond back, “what is Yoga”? I say who taught you to do what you just showed me? They respond, “nobody, we taught ourselves. We do this because it feels good”.
As far as I am concerned Yoga is universal. Human beings from the beginning of time have figured out that doing postures, breathing, sitting in silence (meditation) are all practices that make you feel good and are good for you.
People can argue over whether or not the word Yoga should be used by people who are not Indian. All I know is that human beings perform various practices identified as Yoga who have never had contact with anyone from India.
I once taught Yoga to a group of kids in Chicago who lived in the projects. One little boy around 9 years old came up to me and said, “look what I can do”. He proceeded to manipulate his abdomen into two perfect Yoga practices called “Udiyana Bandha” and “Nauli”. I asked him who taught him these two practices that take expert control over the body and the breath to achieve, he said, “I taught myself in the bathroom mirror at home”.
He had no idea that he was doing “Yoga”, but when he met me and took a Yoga class for the first time, he INTUITIVELY knew that he was doing Yoga practices. This tells us that Yoga is a universal form of expression both as a practice and as a philosophy that cuts across many cultures. Even though THE ORIGINAL BLACK PEOPLE OF INDIA were the first in India to codify Yoga into a specific system of philosophy and practice, it was based upon natural LAW that ALL original people across the globe knew and understood intrinsically.
The roots of the practice and philosophy of Yoga prior to it being influenced by Aryan invaders and British colonizers goes back before recorded history on the continents of Africa and Asia which are ONLY NOW considered separate places. Human beings are transversed between landmasses that are only now considered separate entities called continents for eons before current recorded history. There was no Europe, Africa, or Asia. There were no “races”, only humans with dark melanated skin. There were no people we now called white.