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Book: Yoga in Britain

Chapter: The Self-Taught Yogis, Adult Education and the Wheel of Yoga

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.33787


This chapter focuses further on the nature of autodidactic traditions of yoga in the early twentieth century including the role of physical culture journals such as Health & Strength, as well as the postal courses on Yogism offered by Desmond Dune from his ‘World Headquarters’ in Surrey. It goes on to consider the world of adult education in Britain and how the founder of the British Wheel of yoga, Wilfred Clark was a product of this tradition. Wilfred Clark went on to establish a network of self-educated yoga teachers prepared to popularize yoga in adult education venues across the country. Clark and early Wheel members argued that yoga should be taught primarily in philosophy departments, and should consist of philosophical lectures, breathing exercises, postures, meditation and relaxation. The yoga enthusiasts and practitioners of this environment formed distinctive (if often idiosyncratic) assumptions about the nature and purpose of yoga.

Chapter Contributors

  • Suzanne Newcombe ( - shn44) 'Open University and Inform, LSE'