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History of Yoga in Russia. Part 2
May 13, 2014 15:24

Prof. Vasily Vasilyevich Brodov (1912 — 1996) was the first chairman of the Yoga Association of the USSR. His doctoral dissertation in philosophy was titled Progressive Philosophical and Sociological Thought of India in Modern Age (1850 — 1917). As an academic secretary he took part in edition of the History of Philosophy, having written chapters on Indian philosophy and some other books in the same field in 1965. In the early 1960s the prominent Indian yogi Dhirendra Brahmachari was invited to the USSR to give lectures to astronauts. He also taught practical classes in a closed group, which Vasily Brodov managed to join. Having experienced the beneficial effects of yoga practice, which helped him to improve his health deteriorated after being wounded in the war, Prof. Vasily Brodov became an avid admirer and promoter of yoga. He published a number of articles and books on this matter. One of his most famous undertakings was co-authoring the educational documentary film The Indian Yogis — Who Are They?, the chief consultant of which he was. The film released in the USSR in 1970 caused a surge of interest in both yoga and India.

Anatoly Nikolaevich Zubkov became the first certified yoga teacher in the USSR. When on a long business trip in India, he got acquainted with Sri Ram Kumar Sharma, a disciple of the prominent yoga guru Swami Shivananda and started practicing yoga under his guidance. After completing the training Sri Ram Kumar granted his Russian student with a certificate entitling him to teach yoga and apply yoga therapy. Upon his returned to the motherland Anatoly Zubkov became a true missionary and did great work on promoting yoga in the USSR. In the 1970s he wrote the scenario of the first Soviet documentary film about yoga. The release of the groundbreaking film Indian Yogis — Who are They? started some kind of yoga fashion in the USSR.

In the early 1960s a correspondent of the Rural Youth magazine, Yu. N. Polkovnikov met A. N. Zubkov who inspired him with yoga. Afterwards the correspondent persuaded the magazine editorial board to publish a cycle of A. N. Zubkov’s articles about yoga. Only 4 out of the planned 6 articles could be published at the ebb of Khruschev's Thaw, but even they were enough to become a big event in the Soviet era. Later Yu. N. Polkovnikov had his own works promoting yoga published, in particular, the book How to Prolong the Years of Life: Salutary Yoga (1995).

Even the Soviet government had a certain interest in yoga in the 1970s and thus invited the prominent yoga master Dhirendra Brahmachari to introduce yoga practices in training of spacemen.

An alternative treatment methods laboratory was founded in Moscow in the late 1980s. At its initiative B. K. S. Iyengar was invited to the first Yoga Conference in 1989. In the same 1989 the kundalini yoga guru Yogi Bhadzhan arrived in the USSR for the first time. Later he initiated Yakov Marshak, who started treating drug-addicted teenagers with the help of kundalini yoga techniques, which proved to be very efficient.
One of the most famous Soviet comic actors Georgy Vitsin (1917-2001) mentioned: “If I had not practiced yoga, lots of film roles would not have been so successful. After all the shooting process is a very hard thing. While waiting for your turn to be filmed you can sit all day long and get so tired that all your humour will wither on the vine. How can you play then? But in the course of shootings, despite the noise and shouting I would often fall asleep for ten to fifteen minutes exactly, thereby allowing the body to have a good rest and relax”. In the comedy Balzaminov's Marriage the actor was 48 years old, but he played a 20-year-old youngster. “What is the difference, how old you are? The main thing is to tune into the necessary age”. Looks like it really was not a problem for Georgy Vitsin. At the age of 37 he played the role of a 70-year-old man, and at the age of 38 he performed a very young goalkeeper. “It is all about yoga”, - Georgy Vitsin explained.




Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Yoga     

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