Cultural Appropriation and Yoga – A List of Resources

tumblr_mg12pg17im1rmvhpzo1_500

Recently I’ve been doing quite a bit of research on cultural appropriation and yoga. I’m planning to write a piece about what inspired this research, which I will post here soon. I’m also in the process of putting the finishing touches on a video that addresses this topic. Below I’ve listed some resources I’ve found that shine a light on this topic, most of which are written by people of Indian descent.

People of colour and particularly people of Indian descent have been offering critiques of “western yoga” for a long time. I’ve realized that if I want to build a truly inclusive community around my yoga practice I need to delve more deeply into this topic. At the same time, I want to avoid positioning myself as an authoritative voice on this topic. The best I can do is connect people with the powerful voices who have already articulated these critiques and work to acknowledge my own complicity and privilege in the ongoing processes of colonization, commodification and imperialism. I put this resource list together as one small act of resistance to these processes. If you have other suggestions to enrich and build the list, please send them my way.

Yoga and Cultural Appropriation

The Yoga Debate – An Existentially Challenged Desi Chimes in

On “Cultural Imperialism”

Is De-culturing Yoga and Act of Good Faith or a Promotion of Xeno-phobic ideology? A light and Easy Topic

Why I Left Yoga (& Why I Think a Helluva Lot of People are being Duped)

Why I Really Want to Give Up On Yoga and.. Why I Will Never Give Up On Yoga

Why Cultural Appropriation Matters

Examining Power and Privilege in Yoga

Andrea Smith’s book Conquest has a powerful chapter on the links between gendered violence and cultural appropriation.

and if you’re interested you can also read my first piece on this topic:
Whose Practice? Yoga and Cultural Appropriation

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Cultural Appropriation and Yoga – A List of Resources

  1. This is extremely annoying. I think that the race to be PC is nauseating and I am not sure if you are “white” or identify at poc or what , but the not knowing also leads to to an unbiased shout out of “please stop over thinking every god damn thing.” We live in a multi cultural world, yoga is healthy for everyone, it is a free practice and it helps all sorts of people. Yes some yogis are annoying with there particular brand of unawareness , but that doesn’t make your hyper awareness any more justified. Quite frankly this whole yoga topic seems like a big old pat on your back for being so in tune with the legacy of the yogi and how awful people in the west are for tainting the “original”. While there are plenty of ways in which cultural appropriation is hurtful and should be examined, this is not one of them.
    Do not wear a native headdress anywhere ever, don’t were fake teeth and talk like white trash, don’t get weird tattoos of Chinese symbols and don’t do Jamon with other people’s sacred religious symbols and we’ll be alright. But please do yoga, breath, exercise…and stop annoying the Irving crap out of everyone.

    • Interesting that you find it so annoying and I find it such a breath of fresh air in a yogic sense. Maybe you can’t see the rampant cultural appropriation that exists in yoga in the West because you are not from the culture that is being appropriated. But I can and it’s annoying as f&*#!

  2. many of the links go to the same page, Is De-culturing Yoga and Act of Good Faith or a Promotion of Xeno-phobic ideology? A light and Easy Topic.

    can you please give links for Why I Left Yoga (& Why I Think a Helluva Lot of People are being Duped) and Why I Really Want to Give Up On Yoga and.. Why I Will Never Give Up On Yoga?

    thank you

  3. Pingback: Project 52: An infinity scarf/hood from a pair of leggings and I dip my toes briefly into the yoga debate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s