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In 1927, Travelling Yogis upended the state Government of Oklahoma: Read Here!

Yoga was viewed in the early twentieth century as mental and magical, and broken marriages, suicides, and contested wills were attributed to it

Yoga at Times Square. Image source:
  • The 1920s saw the fears of yoga and its teachers reaching its peak
  • Broken marriages, suicides, and contested wills were attributed to yoga in the early twentieth century
  • The 2016 Yoga in America Study states that 80 million people are likely to try yoga for the first time over the next 12 months

With over 36 million yoga practitioners in the U.S, yoga is expanding its reach above all horizons. Yoga has become so popular that the total expense of yoga classes, clothing, equipment and accessories, has risen to $16 billion a year up from $10 billion over the past four years. The 2016 Yoga in America Study states that thirty-four percent of Americans, or 80 million people, say they are likely to try yoga for the first time over the next 12 months. But yoga wasn’t always held in high regard, it was viewed in the early twentieth century as mental and magical, and broken marriages, suicides, and contested wills were attributed to yoga.

Yoga or “Yogi Philosophy” was common to talk of hypnotism. Yoga teachers in the United States during this time were like travelling salesmen, moving from one town to another and Methodist circuit riding preachers, giving public lectures and teaching private courses. The American public would conjure up fantastic ideas about yoga’s power and the itinerant men from India who taught it as there were very few Asian immigrants. But by the 1920s, figures such as Mabel Daggett grouped these incidents together, connected them to fears of South Asian immigration, and imagined a deliberate conspiracy of “swarthy Hindoo priests” launching a “Heathen Invasion” of the United States.

The 1920s saw the fears of yoga and its teachers reaching its peak.

Henry Simpson Johnston, who moved to the Oklahoma from Indiana to practice law in the town of Perry, became a well-regarded and powerful figure throughout the county. Johnston was then elected to the first Oklahoma Senate, and after returning to his law practice in Perry successfully ran for the Governor’s seat in 1926.

Yogi Wassan Class Image Source: ( Texas/Dallas History division of the Dallas Public Library)

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The governor, his secretary, Mrs Oliver Hammonds and her uncle held their own personal array of esoteric and occult beliefs. Johnston was a serial joiner of fraternal organisations and was a member of the Klu Klux Klan, the Freemasons, and the Rosicrucians, and by his own admission counted Theosophy, New Thought, Unity, and Christian Science among his philosophical affinities. Mamie Hammonds was part of the Kamelia, a women’s adjunct to the Klan and her uncle Armstrong who was a Rosicrucian. Johnston, Hammonds and Armstrong also had shared interests in numerology and astrology, mentions

These associations created fascinating stories and articles and even warned the people that Oklahoma was under a “dictatorship of the spirits,” and that “Strange Gods” ruled Oklahoma. One of the most problematic of these associations was Judge Armstrong’s relationship with, Yogi Wassan, a Punjabi Sikh immigrant from the village of Ball.

Yogi  Wassan  placed a strong emphasis on physical wellness through diet, exercise, and breathing regimens and would often perform feats of strength on stage and use his own brawny body as proof of his techniques. He was viewed as a sort of mystic pope of the quiet sect of Yogi by the people of Oklahoma.

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A pardon he issued for a murderer on the suggestion of his official secretary H.E. Sullivan, and the alleged corruption and mismanagement within the Highway Commission along with his ties to yoga resulted in Johnston’s suspension from his office and an awaiting impeachment trial.

At the end of the impeachment hearings, Johnston was acquitted of nearly all the charges except the vague charge of “general incompetence.”  The media speculated endlessly on rumours of chanting, incense smoke, swamis, and yogis, and it is difficult to not see those same rumours in the single vague charge that removed Johnston from office.

-This article is prepared by Ajay Krishna, a staff-writer at NewsGram.


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4 Best Yoga Asanas and Their Benefits

Yoga keeps your mind relaxed and helps you to stay fit and healthy. Try these 4 asanas for an overall good health

yoga asanas
Yoga Pose.Pixabay
  • Yoga is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in ancient India
  • These 4 yoga asanas will help you to be in shape

“Yoga is the journey of self, through the self, to the self.” – Bhagvat Gita

Weight loss, a strong and flexible body, glowing beautiful skin, peaceful mind, good health – whatever you may be looking for, yoga has it on offer. Yoga is all about stretching our body in different forms and meditation.

Here are 4 best yoga asanas to keep your body toned-


Tadasana strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles.It helps to develop good posture and calms down the nervous system.

yoga asana

2. Parvatasana

Parvatasana strengthens the muscles of the arms and legs.It tones the spinal nerves and sends the good flow of blood to the spinal region.

yoga asanas
A variation of Parvatasana. For the original asana, you need not raise the leg in the air as depicted here. Pixabay

3. Vakrasana

It is intensely twisted posture which helps in reducing back problems and fat reduction on the belly. It also increases spine blood flow to abdominal.

yoga asanas
Vakrasana, Wikimedia

4. Bhujangasana

It strengthens the spine, chest, shoulders, abdomen and buttocks. It helps in reducing indigestion and acidity problems.

yoga asanas: Bhujangasana
Bhujangasana.wikimedia commons

-prepared by Pragya Mittal of NewsGram| Twitter @PragyaMittal05


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Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali!

Do you wish to celebrate a celebrate guilt-free Diwali? Read on!

Diwali does not mean you will have to compromise on your health, Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 17, 2017 : Saying no to sweets becomes near impossible around Diwali, making many conscious of their weight, calories and sugar level going up. Be active and restrict to two drinks to enjoy festivities with full fervor.

Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali! Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal and Preeti Kakkar, nutritional expert at Credihealth, have listed what people can do to celebrate guilt-free Diwali:

  • Plan your day: If one meal goes for a toss, make sure the rest of the meals are on track. For instance, if you’ve reserved a table for dinner, then make sure your breakfast, lunch and snacks are balanced and healthier.
  • Festival and alcohol: Just restrict to two drinks. Alcohol dehydrates your body. Avoid taking cocktails and aerated drinks too as they give you just extra calories.
  • Be active: Physical activity will keep your metabolism active too. No matter what, engage in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day. It can be in the form of dance, walk, jogging or yoga. You may find it hard to believe, but Surya Namaskar is the best way to fight exhaustion.
  • Don’t give up on sweets: It would be a crime to cut out the sweets entirely during this season. So, choose the healthier options and watch your portion size. Go for dry fruit, phirni, kheer, dark chocolate and date mithai instead of other sugar-loaded sweets.
  • Hydrate well: Don’t wait for the thirst to strike. Keep hydrating yourself at short intervals. Moreover, it will keep you stay full and energized in the rush of all preparation. (IANS)

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5 Events Of November Which Are Ideal For Family Vacations

Events in November which will give you a vacation mood.
Events in November which will give you a vacation mood. Wikimedia.

As we approach the year’s end, Indians not just bid adieu to their summer outfits but also welcome the festival seasons. October and November are two months in India which are full of cultural events and festivals, which make these months, the ideal time for going on family vacations.

Below are the events of November 2017 which you will regret missing. They are worth the try for family vacations:

1.  Dev Deepavali, Varanasi

family vacations
Representational Image. The ghat of holy city Varanasi. 

Varanasi, the holiest city of India, celebrated Dev Deepavali on Kartik Poornima every year. The festival is celebrated with joy. The ghats of Varanasi are lit with beautiful diyas (earthen lamps). God is believed to have descended to the banks of Ganges, to take a holy dip. The festival will take place on November 3, 2017.

 2. Dharamsala International Film Festival

Filmmaker, cinema buffs or all those people interested in the art of films come together of Dharamsala International Film Festival (DIFF). This film festival will witness filmmakers coming from different regions to show films on various issues- socially relevant, contemporary etc. DIFF will take place from November 2 to November 5. If you are a movie buff, then you should immediately pack your bags and seal a date for attending the festival.

3. Pushkar Camel Fair, Rajasthan

Family vacations
Representational Image. Camel Fair is celebrated in Pushkar. Pixabay

Pushkar Camel fair, a cattle fair, in Pushkar which truly defines the real meaning of culture. The Pushkar Camel Fair has been in tradition for a very long time. The fair attracts a huge crowd every year. One of the most ideal and happy places for family vacations. It will take place between 23rd October to 4th November.

Also Read: 7 Beautiful Places To Visit In North East India

4. NH7 Weekender

The five seasons old Indian multi-city music festival has indeed garnered a lot of attention and love from the musically inclined youngsters across the country. It is a combination of national and international studies coming together. In Meghalaya, the event will take place from October 27 to October 28.

5. Guru Purab

family vacations
Sikhs celebrating Guru Purab. Wikimedia.

Guru Purab, one of the most important festivals for Sikhs. The golden temple celebrates it with a lot of joy. The celebration which Amritsar witnesses at this time are unbelievable. It will take place on November 2017. Golden temple is indeed one of the best places for family vacations.

-by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.  She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya.