What’s up with yoga?

I think there’s something interesting about how yoga went from being a spiritual way of being to becoming a commodified thing that white women do. I’d like to explore it. Find out how and why it became what it did, and what it tells us about people. Why is yoga so white, what do people of color do instead?


Yoga started out as something that was a mystical, full-body way of breathing and being. Yoga today is amusingly different. There are yoga pants, yoga instructors. People like the exotic words like “asanas” and “namaste”, making them feel all spiritual and continental. Yoga pants was a great innovation. Very comfortable and very sexy without being explicit/overt about it. You could think of yoga as an excuse for inventing yoga pants.

The rest of the boho-gypsy-mystic aesthetic, with the robes, bindis, saffron, incense. Somehow especially popular with white girls. Both the hippie-festival goer types and corporate climbing types can do yoga.

Yoga vs crossfit, yoga vs zumba. Yoga vs aerobics.

Bikram yoga. Hot yoga. Lululemon.

You don’t need anything to do it, just a mat maybe. Yoga paws.

“We associate yoga with being skinny, white, and even upper class.” –

Yoga instructors can make quite a bit of money.

Identity performance. Yoga poses look hard to do, and look impressive on Facebook or Instagram. Signals health, strength, patience, calm.

Success stories of weight loss, emotional regulation. Communities that are welcoming, inclusive, slowed down. Eat Pray Love.

> Yoga is the only system that has lived for over 15,000 years without any papacy or enforcement. Nowhere in the history of humanity has it happened that somebody put a sword to someone’s neck and said, “You must do yoga.” – Why Is Yoga Becoming So Popular?

Yoga after Karate (Bruce Lee). Who is the face of yoga? Beatles and India, Steve Jobs, ashrams, LSD, trips, shrooms, bhang

(More) Reasons Why Your Yoga Class is So White


Yoga and the exclusion of people of color


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