Why yoga isn’t cultural appropriation and when you can catch ‘Yoga Hosers’

I’ll just encourage you to read this piece at Slate by Michelle Goldberg, who wrote the recent biography of Indra Devi. She discounts the recent cancellation of a yoga class at the University of Ottawa over cries of cultural appropriation. The key idea:

In the case of yoga, it completely ignores the agency of Indians themselves, who have been making a concerted effort to export yoga to the West since the late 19th century.

Back then, Indians saw getting Westerners interested in yoga as a way of undermining British colonialism. Britain’s colonial administrators tended to be contemptuous of Indian religion; indeed, they treated the purported backwardness of Indian thought and culture as justification for their continued rule. Indian nationalists believed, rightly, that if they could popularize their spiritual practices in the West, they would win support for independence.

That makes sense. And she notes such efforts still exist, such as the International Day of Yoga push by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On a decidedly different topic — or maybe not, maybe it is a form of cultural appropriation — we know when Kevin Smith’s movie Yoga Hosers will have its premiere: at Sundance.