January 26, 2020
Yoga is high on the agenda in terms of what it means to live well these days. Once an underground pastime held in church halls and community centres, yoga studios are now jostling for space on high streets, roof-tops and at festivals across the world.  
Why Im No Longer Talking To White People About Yoga
Yoga might save your mind, body and spirit, but not until it’s taken all your money. It’s become exclusive, elitist and, at anywhere up to £20 a class, expensive. But this modern yoga isn’t quite what it was meant to be when the practice first emerged in ancient India around 5,000 years ago. The old yoga was intended to be a method for self-inquiry and meditation. Yet, the new practice we have today appears to have become a trendy, self-serving, fitness-focussed activity. 
On social media, yoga is presented as a panacea to all ills, but this hasn’t been the case for me over the decades since I first stepped on a mat in a creaky east London gym in 1996. None of my teenage peers had heard of it back then – it was regarded as a strange thing to do.   Related... Does Britain Still Have An Issue With Interracial Relationships? Couples Speak Up I’d Love To Celebrate Christmas With My Family But I Had To Cut My Dad Out I Dumped My Boyfriend For Being Fatphobic, Even Though I'm Thin Since then, I’ve witnessed how a relatively unpopular (in the West) practice, has transformed into a multimillion-dollar, wellness espousing industry, that’s led yoga astray. You know a culture is in trouble when it has become dominated by (white) people who have boiled it down to a handful of clichés, obscuring most of what it is meant to be about.
Yoga these days has trappings: plant-based diets, strappy crop-tops, and yoga-as-soft-porn via bikini bodies doing handstands on beaches. It’s intensely painful for me to see yoga – a practice that is deeply personal for me (and many others) – distorted, decontextualised and, in this case, sexualised.  
There’s a lot of cultural appropriation involved in yoga too. Highlights include: tattoos of Hindu gods and the Om symbol, poorly pronounced Sanskrit chants and puns on the word Namaste.It’s not uncommon to see it slaughtered by activewear brands, as in “Namastay in bed all day”. Namaste roughly means “I bow to you” and is a Hindu greeting. It’s a lovely sentiment and you’ll hear it on the lips of a yoga teacher near you, but it’s not directly related to yoga.
I wrote about its misuse on Instagram and several teachers got in touch to say they don’t say it anymore. One asked: “Do we know how it leaked into yoga?” My guess is that some westerners went to India, found yoga, returned home to share it and threw Namaste in for “exotic” measure. Years later, it’s ended up on T-shirts and in yoga classes.
I’m not against innovation, but there’s a trend for yoga being remixed with other fitness activities such as boxing, dance and HIIT to the extent that it seems any movement-based class is not exempt from being labelled as yoga. It’s also often blended with other cultural practices like cacao ceremonies, reiki, and gong baths, which pleasing as they may be, all stem from other cultures.
Yoga also has a serious diversity problem in terms of both teachers and practitioners, with classes tending to be predominantly white. There appear to be invisible barriers stopping certain people accessing yoga – specifically people of colour, people with disabilities, LGBT+ and those with bodies that don’t reflect the hetero-looking, bendy limbed, white, models generally presented on yoga marketing.
Teaching yoga has made me question whether I’m wrong to feel conflicted about what’s happened to to it. I can’t help feeling that what’s going on is in fact a perverse form of 21st Century colonialism. Here I am, a South Asian yoga teacher, feeling forced to distort a tradition that is a part of my own ancestral heritage. This paradox is exhausting to exist within. 
Yoga is a political issue and it needs a revolution. But it’s going to take more than wellness businesses adding BAME faces to their fliers and marketing. Offering several subsidised spots during peak-times, prioritising teaching opportunities for teachers of colour – South Asian ones in particular – and taking yoga to low-income and hard to reach communities (and paying teachers better so they can do this) might work too. 
And on the ground, yoga teachers themselves could open every class that they teach by telling their students what yoga is and where it comes from – and be respectful and sensitive about how they do. 
The priciness and whiteness of yoga suggests that wellness is a privilege, and it shouldn’t be. I strongly believe it’s the responsibility of everyone who works within yoga, and capitalises from it, to find ways to change that.
Nadia Gilani is a writer and yoga teacher. Related... The Best Apps To Help Kids Wind Down 8 Beginner-Friendly Fitness Challenges To Try This Year Burnout Is Bad For Your Heart. Here’s How To Prevent It See, Working Out On Your Period Can Be Bloody Brilliant
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Watch John Mayer Try Out His Best Standup Routine at Variety’s Hitmakers Event
December 05, 2021
rEEG-E1pMis
Jack Harlow on How Reading Harry Potter Made Him the Competitive Rapper He Is Today
December 04, 2021
ju2mg5V3844
Chloe Bailey Delivers Touching Tribute to Friend Lil Nas X At Variety Hitmakers
December 04, 2021
lyutDnTd1oQ
Jennifer Lawrence Debuts GOLDEN Baby Bump at "Don't Look Up" Premiere
December 06, 2021
ZKGM3ahFJtk
"Selling Sunset" Love Triangle With Christine Quinn & Emma Hernan | Daily Pop | E! News
December 06, 2021
Obuw6WBbBxU
"Vanderpump Rules" Stars James Kennedy & Raquel Leviss SPLIT | E! News
December 05, 2021
Hz9M69Iy7vA
Tristan Thompson Allegedly Expecting Baby 3, Woman Sues for Child Support | TMZ TV
December 06, 2021
tQ8ZJe1JrEA
LEBRON JAMES YOUNGEST SON DUNKS FOR 1ST TIME ... Dad's Proud!!! | TMZ TV
December 06, 2021
KObriIQ4p8Y
Lil Wayne Cops Called Over Alleged Gun Incident | The TMZ Podcast
December 06, 2021
LKs_PTjnUFo
Scott Disick parties with women, pals at Art Basel | Page Six Celebrity News
December 06, 2021
TP4TcoYo2fs
Luann de Lesseps, aka ‘Countess Lu,’ is releasing a rap single | Page Six Celebrity News
December 06, 2021
KoF_FT8eGLs
Why Shannon Beador regrets telling ‘RHOC’ co-stars about Dubrow lawsuit drama | Page Six
December 06, 2021
a9Ma7hi07qY
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
19
Nov
ASIAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group H
Sydney FC - Shanghai SIPG
17
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Spain - Germany
14
Nov
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE A: Group Stage
Germany - Ukraine
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Liverpool
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Aston Villa
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Valencia - Real Madrid
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Verona
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Bromwich Albion - Tottenham Hotspur
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Napoli
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Genoa - Roma
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Inter Milan
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - Juventus
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Borussia Monchengladbach
08
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leicester City - Wolves
08
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Hoffenheim
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Valladolid - Athletic Bilbao
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Levante - Alaves
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Sociedad - Granada CF
08
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Torino - Crotone
08
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Villarreal
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bayern Munich
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Manchester United
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Sheffield United
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Atletico Madrid - Cadiz
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Real Betis
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Augsburg - Hertha Berlin
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Stuttgart - Eintracht Frankfurt
07
Nov
GERMANY: Bundesliga
RB Leipzig - SC Freiburg
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Rotherham - Preston NE
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Parma - Fiorentina
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Watford - Coventry
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Norwich City - Swansea City
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Blackburn - QPR
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Derby County - Barnsley
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Huddersfield - Luton
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Nottingham Forest - Wycombe Wanderers
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Fulham
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Sheffield Wednesday - Millwall
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Brentford - Middlesbrough
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Championship
Birmingham - Bournemouth
07
Nov
SPAIN: La Liga
Sevilla - Osasuna
07
Nov
ITALY: Serie A
Benevento - Spezia
07
Nov
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Leeds
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Ferencvaros - Juventus
04
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group G
Barcelona - Dynamo K.
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group A
Salzburg - Bayern Munich
03
Nov
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Group stage, Group D
Atalanta - Liverpool
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.