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This article is or was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment, between 11 January 2019 and 20 April 2019. Further details are available on the course page. Assigned student editor(s): Emmablizzard. Assigned peer reviews: Emmablizzard.
My, what a mess this article currently is. Let's clean it up, shall we? Perhaps a list of tasks toward achieving that clean-up would be helpful. Who would like to start that list? I've left space for you below. Morganfitzp (talk) 13:18, 24 November 2018 (UTC)
As you've probably seen, I've started already. It's hard to identify tasks as it needs a near-total rewrite. However, it requires:
Nice list. Should you find any of these tasks to be daunting, feel free to ask your fellow editors to chip in. A couple things I’d add to the 20th century section:
The 12 classical asanas (as expounded by Sivananda, er al) Done
The influence of the Primary Gymnastics incorporates by Krishamurchaya and passed onto the Iyengar and Ashtaga schools and their descendants (I have this book, which has an expired copyright and can contribute its photos) Done
Further discussion on how “yoga” has become shorthand with “asana” in much of modern western practice. That's described in Yoga and Hatha yoga.
I do think a strong image—or montage of images—is needed for the lede, perhaps expressing some of the depth and breadth of asana. DoneMorganfitzp (talk) 03:27, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
I've left a note on the Yoga WP, in case anybody actually goes there nowadays. Morganfitzp, why don't you upload some of those photos (I think you mean Krishnamacharya) to Commons, then, that would be a valuable contribution, alongside anything else you feel like contributing. Chiswick Chap (talk) 11:27, 26 November 2018 (UTC)
This article is looking much improved! Very glad that you ditched the bullet-pointed list of benefits and created a montage of asana images for the lede. I am skeptical of the Nina Mel photos, which I’ve flagged as being self-promoting. Yet it is handy to have so many CC asana images on a white background, isn’t it? Thoughts? Morganfitzp (talk) 13:16, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Thank you very much. I've selected a wide variety of contexts for the lead image, and yes it's useful to have images on a white background, which indeed means we have at the moment rather few choices of demonstrator. I find the Nina Mel poses accurate and not excessively showy, which makes them much better than most of the others on Commons. If you look through the choices on Commons, I think you'll be aghast at how poorly many of the poses are executed, and that's not to mention the wearing of shoes. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:48, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
A couple more notes: The pose captioned as Vrischikasana in lede is Pincha Mayurasana, not to be confused with Mayurasana, which is a completely different pose. I can also name more that 20 standing poses etc. for the types of poses listed in that chart. If there are truly 1,300 (or 84,000,000) asanas, the efficacy of listing such qualities may prove difficult to maintain. Morganfitzp (talk) 13:28, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
I've provided 4 columns now, from 4 different authors. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:48, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
That's a lot of work. In the interest in saving you and fellow editors more work on this table, let's look at a couple more: In Dharma Mittra's book, 608 Yoga Poses, there are more than 90 standing poses, over 100 inversions, over 250 floor and supine poses, nearly 70 arm balances, fewer tan 50 twists and seated poses, and only a handful of resting poses. Meanwhile Darren Rhodes' Yoga Resource Practice Manual—which has the e-book advantage of being able to categorizes single poses into multiple categories—gives 90 standing poses, 151 forward folds, 150 backbends, 81 twists, 71 arm balances, 47 inversions, 104 seated poses, 33 prone poses, 38 supines poses, and 76 poses related to "the core." I point this out not to ask that these data be included, but to illustrate that there are so many asanas and so many systems of describing and prescribing them, that to include this info in a table will always exclude the scope of asana. Perhaps this could be a few paragraphs that list how certain yoga schools categorize poses and how that relates to the pedagogy of yoga. Morganfitzp (talk) 22:42, 28 November 2018 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll include Mittra and Rhodes columns with pleasure. The article already makes the point that systems of classification vary and authors count differently, and indeed the columns say this more eloquently than any amount of wordsmithing. The table already shows how the different authors construct their classifications differently. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:27, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Very cool. I can see your dedication to fixing up this article and look forward to diving in once you find it at a place of stasis. At some point let’s discuss standards for the individual asana articles, which we also share an interest in improving. Morganfitzp (talk) 14:22, 29 November 2018 (UTC)
Without delving into a full GA review, I'll highlight three structural queries that come up for me in glancing at this article today:
Under history, we have "ancient" and "10th through 17th centuries", and then we skip to the 20th century. What happened with asana in the 18th and 19th centuries? I know that the modern "classical" sun salute was codified during that period, and that Swami Vivekananda made his famous trip to Chicago that "brought yoga to the West." Can we have something here?
Under schools of yoga, I have a concern about these being full subsections because of the many other schools omitted from the list. Looking at the five currently, I do think that they are fine examples of asana systems: Sivananda being among the first to open yoga ashrams in North America; Jois and Iyengar both bringing strains of Krishnamurchaya's asana to the wider world; and Bikram's patent on a 26-asana system. And all of these schools are quite prescriptive in their different approaches to asana as a super specific practice. All but Iyengar follow a "do-each-pose-in-this-order" approach, whereas Iyengar (and Forrest and Anusara after him) have a "do-this-order-in-each-pose" approach. Kripalu feels like the outlier here, as it's gradually taken on a quasi-Unitarian Universalist role in the yoga world in the decades since Amrit Desai's departure. I'd remedy the partisanship of this section by changing the "=== Subsections ===" to simple ;Bold headings format-fronted by a semicolon.
Well, that's non-standard. I'll consider what to do as the intention is entirely non-partisan.
I've removed the subheadings, renamed the section to 'Styles' as that's it's intent, and arranged each style as a single paragraph so the list-of-examples nature is clear enough. I've extended the lead-in paragraph to explain the methodology, as we depend on styles documented in reliable secondary sources for the example asana given. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:41, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
I agree that "Philosophy and Religion" is a perplexing category choice for this article. Not because it doesn't fit—yoga is a philosophical practice historically aligned to number of religious traditions—but when asana is separated from that as it so often is in a modern/western context, asana does fall more into the category of "Health and Medicine." At its best, asana is both Philosophy and Medicine. What the categorization really affects is from what perspective this article's GA reviewer approaches the topic. Hopefully that editor will be a scholar of yoga, including asana. Morganfitzp (talk) 21:21, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
The article fits into a variety of categories, or none, as the history makes clear. Our chances of a scholar's arriving ex machina to do the review are slim. But a plain unbiased editor of experience would do just fine. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:41, 19 December 2018 (UTC)
This article has been submitted for GA review, but I was wondering whether too much content in this article is based on less reliable sources, making it difficult to reach GA status. I have noticed that many of the sources used in the article are yoga school websites and journals, not secondary sources by (what Wikipedia regards as) reliable publishers.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 06:36, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for your concern. The matter is one for the GA reviewer, who is of course able to request changes to sourcing, but I'll note here that "secondary" is always relative; YJ would be a primary source on matters concerning that journal, but it is secondary on matters concerning, say, different schools of yoga, and it is reliable in that it checks its facts and maintains a stable public record of its published articles. The use of material from schools is possible in some situations, such as statements of a school's own practice or philosophy, acknowledged to be their point of view, or plain matters of fact such as their location and the name of their founder, on which they are unlikely to be mistaken. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:04, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
@Chiswick Chap: But in the case that secondary sources by independent publishers are available, they should be used, instead of primary sources that are not independent of the subject. This subject is very broad, so many sources by scholars or journalists should be available.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 09:06, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I was reflecting today that I should review the use of sources in the hope of finding unchallengeable alternatives in the few cases where at the moment some explanation may be needed. The sources used are already numerous, varied, and in the main rock-solid. I believe all of them are already defensible, but a review may well be productive in putting the matter beyond any possible dispute. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:09, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
I've had a look right through, added several more RS, and cut down the YJ from 18 instances to 7, namely the ones where either it was just giving a platform to an independent authority, or it was using its undoubted knowledge of modern yoga to make comparisons, as of different schools. Hope this sets your mind at rest. ओम शांतिChiswick Chap (talk) 16:22, 17 January 2019 (UTC)
Great! If you can bear with my nitpicking reviewing style, I can do the GA review. I have done 30 reviews of mostly religious topics. I can continue with this review after I have finished the others I am doing now, if you like me to.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:26, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, good. But not too nitpicking, I hope! Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:27, 18 January 2019 (UTC)
┌─────────────────────────┘ Perhaps not. On my user page there is a list of GA reviews I did.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 03:44, 19 January 2019 (UTC)
If you are ready and okay with my reviewing style, I am willing to start the review now, Chiswick Chap.--14:13, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Hello, there. I think you once did a peer review for me, so here I am returning the favor. This article is well-researched and contains interesting information, covering the bases well and also mentioning critical perspectives. Many parts I found absolutely fascinating.
Many thanks for taking this on, and for the warm words. It has been a lot of work. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:23, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
The article reads well. The style is professional and to-the-point. I do think the organization of the article is a bit vague: some section names should be more specific, like Context or Ancient history (what period?). Below I will do a detailed review of the prose.
Context is the usual term for the background or context section of an article, but I'm happy to have "Indian context" in this case (done). "Ancient history" here as elsewhere denotes ancient times, i.e. pre-medieval. There is no ambiguity as dates are immediately given in both paragraphs of text in that section, and indeed in the image caption. Chiswick Chap (talk) 23:19, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
The section "Indian context" could get a more specific name. It seems to me that it deals with textual traditions and nomenclature, and more specifically, the terminology used by Patañjali.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 15:06, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
OK, let's try 'Patanjali's Yoga Sutras'.
As for the subsection "Origins of the asanas", its title isn't clearly different from the preceding subsections, which are also the history of the asana. From what I can gather, in "Origins of the asanas", you are giving an overview of the history of specific asanas, and the number of asanas.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 15:06, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Actually I think the heading is correct; the rest of the History is about people and documents, while this section is about when the asanas themselves (not a few specific ones) originated. I certainly can't think of a better name for it. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:09, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
The thing is that the article's subject is asana, so a history section implies that is the history of the asana. This makes it seem like there is a redundancy.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:20, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Only in seeming. I have renamed the three history subsections to emphasise their difference. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:35, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
* Generally, meets GA criteria. I will do a final review of the lead at the end.
You might want to add more useful descriptions to the external links, so people know what they are about.
It seems odd to me that American English is used in the article, as opposed to Indian English. My Indian English is not good, but I think an experienced editor like yourself you can find someone on Wikipedia, if you are not familiar with such English yourself.
I'm a Brit and have travelled in India; the English used is very similar. I've removed all the Americanisms I can see. All the text I've added is certainly in a non-American idiom. However, modern asanas are international; hundreds have been created in America and other countries, so India has no monopoly on them. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:10, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Okay, perfect. How about adding the template for Indian or British English?--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:53, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
There is a � sign in the section Medieval. I am uncertain whether this is a glitch of my browser, but it appears to me as a question mark within a square.
Though not clearly a GA criterion, some pictures are SANDWICHING the text, which is not recommended.
Let's consider whether those need doing at the end - we may have rearranged or added text, and the residual problem may be not worth worrying about, let's see. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:42, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
As I mentioned before starting this review last month, there is content in the article that is merely covered by primary sources. It maybe important, for example, to show to the outsider reader that The Autobiography of a Yogi is a relevant work for the history of yoga, by showing that its relation to it is covered by secondary, if possible, independent sources—as opposed to just citing the book itself. Though the book is obviously notable, relevance to the topic at hand should also be proven, preferably by independent research.
We discussed this earlier. My position is that primary sources can be used per policy when they are appropriate, for instance quoting Patanjali's original definition. The article overwhelmingly uses secondary sources. I'd also point out since you mentioned it earlier that a magazine like Yoga Journal is by now a long-established, reliable third-party trusted by different schools of yoga and certainly independent of them. It is careful of its reputation and its readership when checking what to publish. Therefore, for most purposes, it is a reliable secondary source. The Autobiography of a Yogi situation is an artefact of your intervention, as I had in deference removed the YJ source there. I've now added a scholarly one instead; sources of all types agree on its importance. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:45, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Okay, great. Just so we are clear, I am not opposed to primary sources per se—I just think that if secondary or more independent sources should be combined with the primary ones to back them up.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:53, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
I am uncertain whether the section on claimed benefits meets the strict requirements WP:MEDRS. You might want to familiarize yourself with this policy, and make the necessary adjustments, if you haven't yet, before the "anti-quack Wikipedia police" notices your successful GA nomination.
I am aware of the policy constraints, and have taken care to state simply that benefits have been claimed without asserting their veracity. The nature of the benefits is partly magical (clearly outside the MEDRS framework), partly just good exercise (not a problem), and for a few specific claims definitely medical and supported by medical sources. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:45, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
5. Original research: I think none is original, but more care should be taken with use of primary sources, especially in such a highly notable and well-researched subject.
As above on sources.
6. Broadness: In general, covers many aspects of the subject matter. The section about popular literature seems rather limited though, and should be expanded to be more useful to the article. I will do a final check for broadness later.
I'm not convinced about the literature section; it's basically an aside, and I intentionally kept it short; the main cultural impact of asanas is through people's behaviour, going to classes, looking cool and so forth. The genre is hard to cite as critics basically avoid it, quite a good reason for not saying a lot about it: I've added a more-or-less-bearably-cited novel for you. I'd also point out that most mentions of yoga in novels say little or nothing about asanas as such - if a pose is mentioned at all it's meditation and lotus. But if you have specific suggestions for any good examples I'll look at them. Chiswick Chap (talk) 22:45, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
Okay, that's good. I do not insist in such a section, but if it useful to have, it should normally cover more than one book, or aspect of popular culture for that matter.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:53, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Oh is that what you were asking. The website has closed, so I have replaced the image with File:Yoga-5.png, whose Commons page states in terms "This file, which was originally posted to http://www.sridevinrithyalaya.org/gallery2.html, was reviewed on 27 January 2012 by the administrator or reviewer SpacemanSpiff, who confirmed that it was available there under the stated license on that date." That review remains valid - once CC 2.5, always CC 2.5, so the revised (composite) image is now safe. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:50, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
License says the book is out of copyright as it was not renewed, and the photo is anonymous. What it didn't say was that the image must be before 1895 when Lahiri Mahasaya died, and must have been taken in India as he never left that country. Indian copyright term is 60 years from publication, so it's PD-India. Done.
Just so we're clear, I don't believe in copyright, and have had editors follow me for months because of the many copvio links I had put in articles. But rules are rules, and this is a GA review, after all.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:27, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
I will continue with a detailed review per section. Feel free to insert replies or inquiries. To keep communication to the point, you might want to use templates like Done, Doing..., Not done, Removed, Added, and Fixed. Please do not cross out my comments, as I will not yours but only my own. I will do the review of the lead mostly at the end.
a pose said to confer enlightenment, and hence identified as a prototype of the god Śiva By whom?
Ah, well picked up. It was Sir John Marshall, and he gave a string of reasons but not this one; the enlightenment thing was a later theory comparing the seal to the Jain masters. I've rewritten the paragraph from the source. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:50, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
to have been created outside Shaivism, the home of the Nath yoga tradition, and to have been associated with asceticism If it was an ascetic practice and did not originate in Shaivism, why do you mention Shaivism? Or do you mean to say it was later incorporated in Shaivism?
The rest of the sentence explains this, saying "the home of the Nath yoga tradition". Added that the poses were then adopted by Nath yogins, in case that wasn't clear.
Just so I understand this correctly, do you mean to say that some yoga poses may have been based on Scandinavian exercise systems?--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:38, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
They appear to have been based on the general gymnastics culture of the time, which was heavily influenced by Scandinavian gymnastics systems (Bukh's and Ling's). Nobody is suggesting direct copying. Chiswick Chap (talk) 13:53, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
The first paragraph is nearly entirely based on primary sources. Please include more secondary, reliable sources.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:45, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
That's simply not so. The abundant and varied sources (not counting the table, where we're just documenting estimated numbers) are:
#60: BBC, news organisation, certainly 2ndry
#61: Mallinson, scholarly RS commentary
#62: Singleton, scholarly RS
#63: Yoga Journal, quoting 5 named experts
#64: Huffington Post, news organisation, again certainly 2ndry
#65: Elephant Journal, news magazine, secondary
#66: Ramayana, 1ry source to prove age of a tradition
#67: Singleton as above
#68: Alter, scholarly RS
#69: Pratinidhi Pant, 1ry source as named by Singleton & Alter
#70: Ashtanga Yoga, 1ry source as discussed by Singleton to show tradition within modern yoga
#71: Singleton as above
This is not "nearly entirely" primary, quite the reverse; and each primary source used has a simple factual purpose, supported on all matters of opinion by a reliable secondary source. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:29, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Again, too little secondary sources. Only the last paragraph contains some.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:48, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
"Too little" is a value judgement which depends on what is being attempted. The section provides experience reports, a valid approach, as follows:
#82: Brill Encyclopedia of Hinduism: RS, tertiary
#83: Bernard, scholarly source (PhD thesis) reporting personal experience. Unusual case, between 1ry and 2ndry; article makes clear this is a report of experience.
#84: Bernard, as above
#85: Bernard, as above
#86: Satyananda; book is 1ry, but the quote is reflecting on the topic (a 2ndry attitude). The section is describing asanas from within Hinduism, i.e. as with Bernard, these are differing opinions within the tradition. This is perfectly acceptable as long as the quotes are attributed and not overlong: we are answering the question "what do leading practitioners within the tradition say they are doing?".
#87: Iyengar, again book is 1ry but the quote is reflective, used for the same reason as #86.
#88: Sjoman, scholarly RS, secondary.
I agree we can provide some more scholarship; I have added a paragraph from Jain 2015 on hatha yoga's medieval goals, Singleton 2010, and Mallinson 2017 similarly. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:00, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
Do you have any secondary sources to show that the opinion of the Evangelical Alliance is in anyway notable? I am aware that Muslims in Indonesia wanted to limit or prohibit yoga for similar reasons, but this can actually be found in independent news reports. I doubt whether this alliance made any headlines.
Firstly, the EA is a notable organisation (with its own article), making it a reliable source. Secondly, it is a secondary source with respect to yoga asanas, and indeed the particular article quoted is by its own intention serving as an independent platform illustrating the opinions of different Christians (the EA remaining neutral on the question), which is exactly the kind of reliable secondary behaviour that we require here.
Reliability is not an issue here, notability of events is. This organization is just not the most notable organization which expressed its opinion or called for a ban. However, there are independent news reports on religious responses to hatha yoga from Christians, positive and negative and Muslims, positive and negative. In passing, these news reports also mention other religions. In fairness, I did find one report from the Alliance, but it just looks much less notable.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 15:06, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Ok. Personally I don't think this is an events question, rather one of issues, which are more or less permanent really. I've added some of these very good sources now. Well found, I spent quite a bit of time hunting for such things. Chiswick Chap (talk) 15:36, 9 March 2019 (UTC)
Interesting discussion in the Guardian. I am reminded of similar discussions with regard to mindfulness and its origins in Buddhism.
Indeed, many thanks.
From a Hindu perspective, the practice of asanas in the Western world as physical exercise is not necessarily seen as problematic, as long as their use in this way is not confused with yoga as a path Do you have independent evidence of notability of Swami Jnaneshvara?--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 13:55, 8 March 2019 (UTC)
The approaches of schools whose ways of executing the pose have been documented are described below. Simplify a bit, please.
but in other directions In the wrong direction?
In Trikonasana, the feet are held closer together, the back foot is at right angles rather than turned in slightly, and the lower hand grasps the big toe of the forward foot, rather than reaching to the ground. A bit too detailed. Better cut this out.
Same holds for The Bikram version of Trikonasana resembles Parsvakonasana as executed in Ashtanga or Iyengar Yoga, since the forward leg is bent "until the back of the leg is parallel to the floor"
Interesting to hear that the meditation posture was more or less the start of yoga.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:29, 6 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, given where we now are.
In my second reading of the lead now, I missed the part where you describe how the spread of modern yoga started as a response to colonialism. I felt this was an important point.
Added and linked.
Secondly, they have been claimed should specify that those claims have been made by both practitioners and scholars. As it is written now, it could mean only practitioners, which wouldn't do justice to the subject.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:09, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Last few remaining issues underlined above, in the sections that haven't been crossed off the list yet (check ToC). Next, checking for broadness.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 22:29, 12 March 2019 (UTC)Edited.
I think those are all done now.
I found a number of review studies that I think qualify for WP:MEDRS. I am not sure whether they should better be included here or in Modern yoga. I'll leave that choice to you, since you have stewarded and nominated both articles, but I'd like to know your reasoning. (I have tried to choose only reviews which cover individual poses.)--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 23:23, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
These are reviews of multiple (in one case 81) other studies, all about "yoga", only one specifically on "yoga styles in which the practice of yoga poses, called asanas, is the core component" (and even that not exclusively asanas). So I think the modern yoga article is the better target. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:06, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
One more point of improvement left, under "Overview", Prose. It's about section names. Now, I will continue with the lead.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:03, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
The article is ready for GA now. I hope you have found the review acceptable. I'd like to end with a note which might interest you, as well as a request:
It appears there was some buzz a few years back about the "Buddha bucket" found in the Norwegian Oseberg Ship, which was an ancient image seated in some posture which appears like an asana. There was some speculation that the image's posture might be the lotus position, though this claim is so extraordinary, that it hasn't been pursued. Probably not substantial enough to put in this article, but I thought I just mention it for the fun.
If you have time, I'd appreciate if you also do a GA review of one of my articles, which can be found under WP:GAN#REL. You might be interested in reviewing Jīvaka, which deals with ancient medicine and Buddhism.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:39, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Very many thanks for the thorough and helpful review. I'll see if I have anything like the knowledge required to do that review. Chiswick Chap (talk) 14:42, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Okay, appreciated. It is always hard to find reviewers of articles about Dhammic religions.--Farang Rak Tham(Talk) 14:45, 13 March 2019 (UTC)