A group of young students also sought new views of the world. They were convinced that man has an inner potential for change. In the beginning, they looked to the East. There they found meditation, but soon discovered that Eastern ways were not always suitable in the context of Western culture and psychology. So what would be left if the religious element were taken away from the meditation technique? They discussed, experimented, tried things out, and did research. On 27 January 1966 they established Acem as an organisation.
It started with an experience. The last half of the 1960s was a period of open exploration, with large cohorts of young students from the post-war generation entering universities, seeking to change the world with their utopian and revolutionary dreams and ideologies. The people who started building Acem had come across a method that challenged inner dogmatism and narrow-mindedness – a sound-based meditation that facilitated change.
How long have people been practising meditative techniques? There is no way of knowing how far back such techniques go, but they turn up in written sources in India and China in the second half of the first millennium BC.
The word "yoga" can designate many different things. Physical exercise tends to be associated with health and competition, and many people understand yoga in much the same way. An alternative view sees yoga as a meditative practice that helps set free a spontaneous impulse towards meditative deepening. The crux lies in a relaxed practice and an open awareness.
An American group is campaigning for the recognition of yoga's roots in Hinduism. But an American scholar is arguing that modern postural yoga was invented in the 19th century, as an incredible mix of Euroamerican and Indian ideas and physical cultures.