Yoga Autoethnography

  • Reason for assumptions on yoga:
  • Media

(targeted towards fit and healthy people, usually caucasian people, females, high socio economic status, ages mid 20s-late 30s. The main target of yoga are white women who are married and are either a stay at home mom or young working professional who takes an interest in her health and outer appearance and has the extra money to take classes. Media promotes Yoga as a healthy life style and the best way to stay in shape and be one with your body at the same time. It’s very often for people from the West to adopt a foreign tradition, label it as “exotic” and then attempt to renew it as their own.)


  • Culture

(Arab culture does not promote physical activity, especially because of the positions that are used during yoga, the positions would be considered too sexual and revealing, in the Arab culture there is no in depth analysis of “ourselves”, Yoga is taken from the Indian culture “The practices millions of Westerners now turn to for alternative health and wellness therapies were intentionally eradicated from parts of India to the point that lineages were broken and thousand-year-old traditions lost”, “To be colonized is to become a stranger in your own land. As a desk, this is the feeling I get in most Westernized yoga spaces today” – Susanna Barkataki


  • Gender

(targeted towards mostly women, there is a stigma that men who participate in yoga are “feminine”, instructors are usually white women who are fit and young, it encourages young women to participate in yoga so that they can feel fit, healthy and at peace) *compare it to how in the eastern world, men take on yoga as an every day activity and no one challenges them as not being “masculine”


  • Ethnicity

(usually catered towards Caucasian people) *i’m not really sure what this question means and the difference between it and the “culture” bit lol


  • Income

(yoga has become a strung up industry meant to feed the demands of yoga fiends. Yoga is being marketed and sold to a definitive bracket of people, usually people from higher income backgrounds and unfortunately, there is no attempt to reach out or accommodate people from lower income backgrounds. Strangely enough, yoga itself isn’t very expensive as the physical activity requires very few materials and equipment, it’s because it’s been adopted by the West that Westerns have taken advantage of the demand for Yoga that they have commercialized off it by teaching it in classes at ridiculously expensive rates) *research how much it would cost to do yoga in india and other eastern countries in comparison to the west


  • Consumerism

(packed to be sold to people as an alien and different way to , companies such as “Lulu lemon” highly profit by selling extremely expensive clothing and equipment that are used during physical activities (especially yoga). Tight black leggings have been renamed as “yoga pants” and almost every single clothing company has adopted it as one of their products. Yoga has been remodelled into an activity that is aimed at physical fitness when originally it was designed to “prepare the body as a foundation for unity with the spirit”, “the purpose of this kind of meditative awareness is to experience, practice, and live oneness of mind, body and soul with the divine. This kind of freedom is called samadhi or liberation. It is ironic that practice meant to free us has becoming so confining”- Susanna Barkataki)


  • Expectations from the yoga class
  • Eating the other (experiencing the ‘other’)
  • Flexibility
  • relaxation
  • Exotic
  • Didn’t know about the context



In 2010, the Hindu American Foundation launched a “Take Yoga Back” campaign to address some of these issues, reaching out to educate people about the origins of yoga. Their campaign is designed not to tell people to stop practicing yoga, but to get people thinking about its roots. Andrea MacDonald, a white Canadian yoga practitioner, notes that it should be possible to practice yoga without turning it into a diluted, culturally void version of itself.


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