Contrary to popular belief, contemporary postural yoga is not ancient.
Bishnu Ghosh was a yogic physical culturist, initially trained in yoga by his brother, Yogananda, at his Ranchi School for Boys. His system begins with Suryannamaskar. Popularized by his fellow bodybuilders in the 1900's,"Suryannamaskar, was not considered a part of yoga at the time. It was in addition to "yoga" for medical gymnastics and body-conditioning on the one hand, and state of the art weights and other European bodybuilding techniques on the other."
"The creator of the modern Suryanamaskar (salutations to the sun) system, Pratinidhi Pant, the Rajah of Aundh, was a devoted bodybuilder and practitioner of the Sandow Method."
(Yoga Body - Mark Singleton)
In law school, Ghosh's physical education professor transformed his body and restored his health, furthering his interest in yogic physical culture. Ghosh's own unique system of yogic physical culture includes muscle control methods he learned and enhanced from a famous Burmese body builder.
Bishnu practiced law for a short while before devoting all of his time to yogic physical culture. In 1926, he and his college friend, Sen Gupta, who also trained with Professor Thakurta, established Ghosh's Gymnasium for muscle development and control. In 1930, they published Barbell Exercises & Muscle Control.
Bishnu and his students, who were known throughout India, traveled to the United States and Europe to demonstrate the power of yoga. His students appeared regularly on That's Incredible, a US television program. He lectured at Columbia University with his star student, and son-in-law, Buddha Bose. In later years Buddha Bose established the Yoga Cure Institute in Calcutta, the first of its kind, and Bishnu added a community clinic to Ghosh's College.
"During his early years in America Yogananda taught a version of yogic "muscle control" heavily influenced by New Thought and European body-building. He had "discovered" this method of "muscle recharging through will power" in 1916 and tested it on students at his school in Ranchi. These students thereafter performed prodigious "feats of strength and endurance." (Yoga Body - Mark Singleton)
A wealthy Indian philanthropist was so impressed with Bishnu's work he purchased land and built a large gymnasium for him in Ballygani. A tourist from Japan was so inspired by his performance that he founded a center in Japan where his daughter still teaches.
Bishnu had a son, Bishwanath, and two daughters, Abha and Karuna, who runs his center in Japan. Bishwanath, one of his best students , took his own troupes on tour to Japan and won a gold cup in competition. Since his passing a few years ago Bishnu's granddaughter, Muktamala, has been running the centre in Calcutta.
"Bishnu worked devotedly to teach physical culture to the common man of India. His dedication fired the enthusiasm of India's youth: he attracted a large following and left a heritage that still lives today."
(Sananda Lal Ghosh, author - Mejda: The Family and Early Life of Paramahansa Yogananda)
"What is desirable in body culture is the harmonious development of power over the voluntary action of muscles and the involuntary processes of the heart, lungs, stomach and other organs and important glands. This is what gives health, and is the scientific principle underlying the Yoga exercises."
- Bishnu Ghosh
excerpted from TonySanchezYoga.com