There was always a deep interest in ancient India among Nazi leaders. Now a new study by Matthias Teitke (Yoga in National Socialism) shows that the SS encouraged officers and death camp guards to practice yoga to enrich their minds, bodies and spirits.
The Nazi interest in yoga lay in its roots in the 19th century when India mysticism was a favourite pursuit of the middle and upper classes and a great influence on romantic poets and philosophers.During the Wiemar Republic, as the Nazis gained strength, yoga enjoyed a boom among a people weary of war, inflation, unemployment and misery. More than 50 yoga books were published in the 1920's in Berlin alone. And, as the Nazis corrupted most things they touched, so it was with yoga.
It was seized on by race experts in the party as being the pursuit of 'Ayran' people. Jakob Wilhelm Hauer, an S.S. captain and yoga expert, who influenced his chief Himmler and convinced him that 'yoga can internally arm us and prepare us for the forthcoming battles.'
For further background on Nazi connections with ancient India read my post: Nazis, Aryans and India.