Vivekananda regarded all forms of spiritual practice as yoga. His mental and spiritual practice may not be familiar to many in today's yoga classes, but ‘Raja Yoga’ impacted on modern yoga in several ways.
By including an English translation of the Yogasutras in his book, he reinforced the connection to an ancient practice. And the open-to-all, self-improvement approach became the basis of many yoga manuals to come.
Postures receive only passing mention in ‘Raja Yoga’. Indeed, Vivekananda was quite dismissive of the physical practice, complaining that the only yoga taught in Bengal was “the queer breathing exercises of hatha yoga – which is nothing but a kind of gymnastics”.
By distancing ‘Raja Yoga’ from postural practice and all the negative connotations of the 19th-century yogi, he gave it a superior spiritual status.